SKU: BK1296

Pigs playing bagpipes, monkey fiddlers, and demons making music on kitchen implements: this extraordinary cast of characters peering out of the pages of books and manuscripts has amused, entertained, and intrigued readers throughout the ages. Music is a serious subject which some artists and illustrators have for centuries treated in a light-hearted manner.

Jeremy Barlow delves deep into the rich and diverse Bodleian archive, and taking us on a whimsical journey through ??? years of iconographic history, exploring a range of strange and humorous images, from animal hybrids playing musical instruments in the margins of manuscripts, to prints by Hogarth, and from children's literature to class-conscious cartoons in Punch. He includes many images never published before, and sheds new light on old favourites. What is the relationship between animals and instruments, and how have themes such as devilry and drunkenness been used in musical representations? How did developments such as printing, and the importance of public concerts affect musical humour, and how was it used politically? These and other similar questions are explored in this engaging little volume. 

Jeremy Barlow has made a special study of English popular and dance music from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. His group the Broadside Band has won an Edison award, and his many broadcasts include a recent BBC Radio 4 series on the history of social dance.

  • Paperback
  • 88 pages, 247 x 172 mm
  • 51 colour illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781851243006
  • Publication July 2006

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