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Music in the United Kingdom

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Early music

Early music of the British Isles, from the earliest recorded times until the beginnings of
the Baroque in the 17th century, was a diverse and rich culture, including sacred and secular
music and ranging from the popular to the elite. Each of the major nations
of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales retained unique forms of music and instrumentation, but
British music was highly influenced by continental developments, while British composers made
an important contribution to many of the major movements in early music in Europe, including
the polyphony of the Ars Nova and laid some of the foundations of later national and
international classical music. Musicians from the British Isles also developed some distinctive
forms of music, including Celtic chant, the Contenance Angloise, the rota, polyphonic
votive antiphons and the carol in the medieval era and English madrigals,
lute ayres and masques in the Renaissance era, which would lead to the development of English
language opera at the height of the Baroque in the 18th century.
o Medieval music to 1450
Surviving sources indicate that there was a rich and varied musical life in medieval
Britain. Historians usually distinguish between ecclesiastical music, designed for use in church,
or in religious ceremonies, and secular music for use from royal and baronial courts, celebrations
of some religious events, to public and private entertainments of the people. Our understanding
of this music is limited by a lack of written sources for much of what was an oral culture.
 Church music
In the early Middle Ages, ecclesiastical music was dominated
by monophonic plainchant. The separate development of British Christianity from the direct
influence of Rome until the 8th century, with its flourishing monastic culture, led to the
development of a distinct form of liturgical Celtic chant. Although no notations of this music
survive, later sources suggest distinctive melodic patterns. This was superseded, as elsewhere in
Europe, from the 11th century by Gregorian chant. The version of this chant linked to the liturgy
as used in the Diocese of Salisbury, the Sarum Use, first recorded from the 13th century, became
dominant in England. This Sarum Chant became the model for English composers until it was
replaced at the Reformation in the mid-16th century, influencing settings
for masses, hymns and Magnificats. Scottish music was highly influenced by continental
developments, with figures like thirteenth-century musical theorist Simon Tailler studying in
Paris, before returned to Scotland where he introduced several reforms of church music. Scottish
collections of music like the thirteenth-century 'Wolfenbüttel 677', which is associated with
St Andrews, contain mostly French compositions, but with some distinctive local styles. The first
notations of Welsh music that survive are from the 14th century, including matins, lauds
and vespers for St David's Day.


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 The Ars Nova

In the 14th century, the English Franciscan monk Simon Tunsted, usually credited with
the authorship of Quatuor Principalia Musicae: a treatise on musical composition, is believed to
have been one of the theorists who influenced the 'Ars Nova', a movement which developed in
France and then Italy, replacing the restrictive styles of Gregorian plainchant with
complex polyphony. The tradition was well established in England by the 15th century and was
widely used in religious, and what became, purely educational establishments, including
Eton College, and the colleges that became the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
The motet 'Sub Arturo plebs' attributed to Johannes Alanus and dated to the mid or late 14th
century, includes a list of Latinised names of musicians from the English court that shows the
flourishing of court music, the importance of royal patronage in this era and the growing
influence of the ars nova. Included in the list is J. de Alto Bosco, who has been identified with
the composer and theorist John Hanboys, author of Summa super musicam continuam et
discretam, a work that discusses the origins of musical notation and mensuration from the 13th
century and proposed several new methods for recording music.

 The Contenance Angloise

From the mid-15th century we begin to have relatively large numbers of works that have
survived from English composers in documents like the early 15th century Old Hall Manuscript.
Probably the first, and one of the best represented is Leonel Power (1380–1445), who was
probably the choir master of Christ Church, Canterbury and enjoyed noble patronage
from Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence and John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of
Bedford (1389–1435). John Dunstaple (or Dunstable) was the most celebrated composer of the
'Contenance Angloise' (English manner), a distinctive style of polyphony that used full, rich
harmonies based on the third and sixth, which was highly influential in the
fashionable Burgundian court of Philip the Good. Nearly all his manuscript music in England
was lost during the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-1540), but some of his works have been
reconstructed from copies found in continental Europe, particularly in Italy. The existence of
these copies is testament to his widespread fame within Europe. He may have been the first
composer to provide liturgical music with an instrumental accompaniment. Royal interest in
music is suggested by the works attributed to Roy Henry in the Old Hall Manuscript, suspected
to be Henry IV or Henry V. This tradition was continued by figures such as Walter Frye
(1420–1475), whose masses were recorded and highly influential in France and the
Netherlands. Similarly, John Hothby (1410–1487), an English Carmelite monk, who travelled
widely and, although leaving little composed music, wrote several theoretical treatises,
including La Calliopea legale, and is credited with introducing innovations to the medieval pitch
system. The Scottish king James I was in captivity in England from 1406 to 1423, where he


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earned a reputation as a poet and composer and may have been responsible for taking English
and continental styles and musicians back to the Scottish court on his release.

 Secular music

Ireland, Scotland and Wales shared a tradition of bards, who acted as musicians, but also
as poets, story tellers, historians, genealogists and lawyers, relying on an oral tradition that
stretched back generations. Often accompanying themselves on the harp, they can also be seen in
records of the Scottish courts throughout the medieval period. We also know from the work of
Gerald of Wales that at least from the 12th century, group singing was a major part of the social
life of ordinary people in Wales. From the 11th century particularly important in English secular
music were minstrels, sometimes attached to a wealthy household, noble or royal court, but
probably more often moving from place to place and occasion to occasion in pursuit of
payment. Many appear to have composed their own works, and can be seen as the first secular
composers and some crossed international boundaries, transferring songs and styles of
music. Because literacy, and musical notation in particular were done by the clergy in this
period, the survival of secular music is much more limited than for church music. Nevertheless
some were noted, occasionally by clergymen who had an interest in secular music. England in
particular produced three distinctive secular musical forms in this period, the rota, the
polyphonic votive antiphon and the carol.

 Rotas

A rota is the a form of round (usually sung by two or three voices) , known to have been
used from the 13th century in England. The earliest surviving piece of composed music in the
British Isles, and perhaps the oldest recorded folk song in Europe, is a rota: a setting of 'Sumer Is
Icumen In' ('Summer is a-coming in'), from the mid-13th century, possibly written by W. de
Wycombe, precentor of the priory of Leominster in Herefordshire, and set for six parts. Although
few are recorded, the use of rotas seems to have been widespread in England and it has been
suggested that the English talent for polyphony may have its origins in this form of music.

 Votive Antiphons

Polyphonic votive antiphons emerged in England in the 14th century as a setting of a text
honouring the Virgin Mary, but separate from the mass and office, often after compline. Towards
the end of the 15th century they began to be written by English composers as expanded settings
for as many as nine parts with increasing complexity and vocal range. The largest collection of
such antiphons is in the late 15th century Eton choirbook.



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 Carols

Carols developed in the 14th century as a simple song, with a verse and refrain structure,
usually connected with a religious festival, particularly Christmas. They were derived from a
form of circle dance accompanied by singers, which was popular from the mid-12th
century. From the 14th century they were used as processional songs, particularly at Advent,
Easter and Christmas, and to accompany religious mystery plays. Because the tradition of carols
continued into the modern era we know more of their structure and variety than most other
secular forms of medieval music.

o The Renaissance 1450-1660
The impact of humanism on music can be seen in England in the late 15th century
under Edward IV (1461–1483) and Henry VII (1485–1509). Although the influence of English
music on the continent declined from the mid-15th century as the Burgundian School became the
dominant force in the West, English music continued to flourish with the first composers being
awarded doctorates at Oxford and Cambridge, including Thomas Santriste, who was provost
of King's College Cambridge, and Henry Abyngdon, who was Master of Music at Worcester
Cathedral and from 1465–83 Master of the King's Music.
Edward IV chartered and patronised the first guild of musicians in London in 1472, a
pattern copied in other major towns cities as musicians formed guilds or waites, creating local
monopolies with greater organisation, but arguably ending the role of the itinerant
minstrel. There were increasing numbers of foreign musicians, particularly those from France
and the Netherlands, at the court, becoming a majority of those known to have been employed by
the death of Henry VII. His mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was the major sponsor of music
during his reign, commissioning several settings for new liturgical feasts and ordinary of the
mass. The result was a very elaborate style which balanced the many parts of the setting and
prefigured Renaissance developments elsewhere. Similar developments can be seen in Scotland.
In the late 15th century a series of Scottish musicians trained in the Netherlands before returning
home, including John Broune, Thomas Inglis and John Fety, the last of whom became master of
the song school in Aberdeen and then Edinburgh, introducing the new five-fingered organ
playing technique.
In 1501 James IV refounded the Chapel Royal within Stirling Castle, with a new and
enlarged choir, it became the focus of Scottish liturgical music. Burgundian and English
influences came north with Henry VII's daughter Margaret Tudor, who married James IV in
1503. In Wales, as elsewhere, the local nobility were increasingly Anglicised and the bardic
tradition started to decline.In this period it seems that most Welsh composers tended to cross the
border and seek employment in the English royal and noble households, including John Lloyd
(1475–1523) who was employed in the household of the Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of


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Buckingham and became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal from 1509, and Robert Jones
(1520–1535) who also became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal.

 Henry VIII and James V

Henry VIII and James V, were both enthusiastic patrons of music. Henry (1491–1547)
played various instruments, of which he had a large collection, including, at his death, seventy
eight recorders. He is sometimes credited with compositions, including the part-song 'Pastime
with Good Company'. In the early part of his reign and his marriage to Catherine of
Aragon secular court music focused around an emphasis on courtly love, probably acquired from
the Burgundian court, result in compositions like William Cornysh's (1465–1515) 'Yow and I
and Amyas'. Among the most eminent musicians of Henry VIII's reign was John
Taverner (1490–1545), organist of the College founded at Oxford by Thomas Wolsey from
1526–1530. His principal works include masses, magnificats and motets, of which the most
famous is 'Dum Transisset Sabbatum'. Thomas Tallis (1505–1585) took polyphonic composition
to new heights with works like his 'Spem in alium', a motet for forty independent voices. In
Scotland James V (1512–1542) had a similar interest in music. A talented lute player he
introduced French chansons and consorts of viols to his court and was patron to composers such
as David Peebles (1510–1579?).

 The Reformation

The Reformation naturally had a profound impact on the religious music of Britain. The
loss of many abbeys, collegiate churches and religious orders intensified a process by which
humanism had made careers writing church music decline in importance compared with
employment in the royal and noble households. Many composers also responded to the liturgical
changes brought about by the Reformation. From the 1540s sacred music was being set to
English language texts rather than Latin. The legacy of Tallis includes the harmonised versions
of the plainsong responses of the English church service that are still in use by the Church of
England. The Lutheranism that influenced the early Scottish Reformation attempted to
accommodate Catholic musical traditions into worship, drawing on Latin hymns and vernacular
songs.
The most important product of this tradition in Scotland was The Gude and Godlie
Ballatis, which were spiritual satires on popular ballads composed by the
brothers James, John and Robert Wedderburn. Never adopted by the church, they nevertheless
remained popular and were reprinted from the 1540s to the 1620s. Later the Calvinism that came
to dominate the Scottish Reformation was much more hostile to Catholic musical tradition and
popular music, placing an emphasis on what was biblical, which meant the Psalms. The Scottish
psalter of 1564 was commissioned by the Assembly of the Church. It drew on the work of


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French musician Clément Marot, Calvin's contributions to the Strasbourg psalter of 1529 and
English writers, particularly the 1561 edition of the psalter produced by
William Whittingham for the English congregation in Geneva. The intention was to produce
individual tunes for each psalm, but of 150 psalms, 105 had proper tunes and in the seventeenth
century, common tunes, which could be used for psalms with the same metre, became more
common. The need for simplicity for whole congregations that would now all sing these psalms,
unlike the trained choirs who had sung the many parts of polyphonic hymns, necessitated
simplicity and most church compositions were confined to homophonic settings. There is some
evidence that polyphony survived and it was incorporated into editions of the psalter from 1625,
but usually with the congregation singing the melody and trained singers the contra-tenor, treble
and bass parts.

 Music publication

During this period, music printing (technically more complex than the printing of written
text) was adopted from continental practice. Around 1520 John Rastell initiated the single-
impression method for printing music, in which the staff lines, words, and notes were all part of a
single piece of type, making it much easier to produce, although not necessarily clearer.
Elizabeth I granted the monopoly of music publishing to Tallis and his pupil William Byrd which
ensured that their works were widely distributed and have survived in various editions, but
arguably limited the potential for music publishing in Britain.

 Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I

James V's daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, also played the lute, virginals and (unlike her
father) was a fine singer. She was brought up in the French court and brought many influences
from there when she returned to rule Scotland from 1561, employing lutenists and viol players in
her household. Mary's position as a Catholic gave a new lease of life to the choir of the Scottish
Chapel Royal in her reign, but the destruction of Scottish church organs meant that
instrumentation to accompany the mass had to employ bands of musicians with trumpets, drums,
fifes, bagpipes and tabors.
In England her cousin Elizabeth I was also trained in music, playing and encouraging
keyboard music and acting as a major patron for English composers. Byrd emerged as the
leading composer of the Elizabethan court, writing sacred and secular
polyphony, viol, keyboard and consort music, reflecting the growth in the range of instruments
and forms of music available in Tudor and Stuart Britain. The outstanding Scottish composer of
the era was Robert Carver(1485–1570) whose works included the nineteen-part motet 'O Bone
Jesu'.



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 The English madrigal school

The English Madrigal School was the brief but intense flowering of the
musical madrigal in England, mostly from 1588 to 1627. Based on the Italian musical form and
patronised by Elizabeth I after the highly popular Musica transalpina by Nicholas Yonge in
1588. English madrigals were a cappella, predominantly light in style, and generally began as
either copies or direct translations of Italian models, mostly set for three to six verses. The most
influential composers of madrigals in England whose work has survived were Thomas
Morley, Thomas Weelkes and John Wilbye. One of the more notable compilations of English
madrigals was The Triumphs of Oriana, a collection of madrigals compiled by Thomas Morley
and devoted to Elizabeth I. Madrigals continued to be composed in England through the 1620s,
but stopped in the early 1630s as they began to seem obsolete as new forms of music began to
emerge from the continent.

 Lute ayres

Also emerging from the Elizabethan court were ayres, solo songs, occasionally with more
(usually three) parts, accompanied on alute. Their popularity began with the publication of
John Dowland's (1563–1626) First Booke of Songs or Ayres (1597). Dowland had travelled
extensively in Europe and probably based his ayres on the Italian monody and French ‘air de
cour’. His most famous ayres include 'Come again', 'Flow my tears', 'I saw my Lady weepe' and
'In darkness let me dwell'. The genre was further developed by Thomas Campion (1567–1620)
whose Books of Airs (1601) (co-written with Philip Rosseter) containing over one hundred lute
songs and which was reprinted four times in the 1610s. Although this printing boom died out in
the 1620s ayres continued to be written and performed and were often incorporated into
court masques.

 Consort music

Consorts of instruments developed in the Tudor period in England as either 'whole'
consorts, that is, all instruments of the same family (for example, a set of viols played together)
and a 'mixed' or 'broken' consort, consisting of instruments from various families (for
example viols and lute). Major forms of music composed for consorts included: fantasias, In
Nomines, variations, dances, and fantasia-suites. Many of the major composers of the 16th and
17th centuries produced work for consorts, including William Byrd, Giovanni
Coperario, Orlando Gibbons, John Jenkins and Henry Purcell.



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 Masques

Campion was also a composer of court masques, an elaborate performance involving
music and dancing, singing and acting, within a complex stage design, in which the architectural
framing and costumes might be designed by a renowned architect, such as Inigo Jones,to present
a deferential allegory flattering to a noble or royal patron. These developed out of the medieval
tradition of guising in the early Tudor period and became increasingly complex under
Elizabeth I, James VI and I and Charles I. Professional actors and musicians were hired for the
speaking and singing parts. Shakespeare included masque like sections in many of his plays
and Ben Jonson is known to have written them. Often, the masquers who did not speak or sing
were courtiers: James I's Queen Consort, Anne of Denmark, frequently danced with her ladies in
masques between 1603 and 1611, and Charles I performed in the masques at his court. The
masque largely ended with the closure of the theatres and the exile of the court under the
Commonwealth.

 Music in the theatre

Performances of Elizabethan and Jacobean plays frequently included the use of music,
with performances on organs, lutes, viols and pipes for up to an hour before the actual
performance, and texts indicates that they were used during the plays. Plays, perhaps particularly
the heavier histories and tragedies, were frequently broken up with a short musical play, perhaps
derived from the Italian intermezzo, with music, jokes and dancing, known as a 'jigg' and from
which the jig dance derives its name. After the closure of the London theatres in 1642 these
tendencies developed into sung plays that are recognisable as English Opera's, the first usually
being thought of as William Davenant's (1606–1668) The Siege of Rhodes (1656), originally
given in a private performance. The development of native English opera had to wait for the
Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the patronage of Charles II.

 James VI and I and Charles I 1567–1642

James VI, king of Scotland from 1567, was a major patron of the arts in general. He made
statutory provision to reform and promote the teaching of music. He rebuilt the Chapel Royal at
Stirling in 1594 and the choir was used for state occasions like the baptism of his son Henry. He
followed the tradition of employing lutenists for his private entertainment, as did other members
of his family. When he went south to take the throne of England in 1603 as James I, he removed
one of the major sources of patronage in Scotland. The Scottish Chapel Royal was now used
only for occasional state visits, beginning to fall into disrepair, and from now on the court in
Westminster would be the only major source of royal musical patronage.


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When Charles I returned in 1633 to be crowned he brought many musicians from the
English Chapel Royal for the service. Both James and his son Charles I, king from 1625,
continued the Elizabethan patronage of church music, where the focus remained on settings of
Anglican services and anthems, employing the long lived Bryd and then following in his
footsteps composers such as Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625) and Thomas Tomkins (1572–
1656). The emphasis on the liturgical content of services under Charles I, associated with
Archbishop William Laud, meant a need for fuller musical accompaniment. In 1626 the musical
establishment of the royal household was sufficient to necessitate the creation of a new office of
'Master of the King's Music' and probably the most important composer of the reign was William
Lawes (1602–1645), who produced fantasia suites, consort music for harp, viols and organ and
music for individual instruments, including lutes. This establishment was disrupted by the
outbreak of civil war in England in 1642, but a smaller musical establishment was kept at the
King's alternative capital at Oxford for the duration of the conflict.

 Civil War and Commonwealth 1642–1660
The period between the ascendancy of Parliament in London in 1642, to
the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, radically changed the pattern of British music. The loss
of the court removed the major source of patronage, the theatres were closed in London in 1642
and certain forms of music, particularly those associated with traditional events or the liturgical
calendar (like morris dancing and carols), and certain forms of church music, including
collegiate choirs and organs, were discouraged or abolished where parliament was able to
enforce its authority. There was, however, no Puritan ban on secular music and Cromwell had
the organ from Magdalen College, Oxford set up at Hampton Court Palace and employed an
organist and other musicians.
Musical entertainment was provided at official receptions, and at the wedding of
Cromwell's daughter. Since the opportunities for large scale composition and public performance
were limited, music under the Protectorate became a largely private matter and flourished in
domestic settings, particularly in the larger private houses. The consort of viols enjoyed a
resurgence in popularity and leading composers of new pieces were John Jenkins and Matthew
Locke. Christopher Simpson's work, The Division Violist, first published in 1659, was for many
years the leading manual on playing the viol and on the art of extemporising "divisions to
a ground", in Britain and continental Europe and is still used as a reference by early
music revivalists.







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Baroque music

Baroque music of the British Isles bridged the gap between the early music of
the Medieval and Renaissance periods and the development of fully fledged and formalised
orchestral classical music in the second half of the eighteenth century. It was characterised by
more elaborate musical ornamentation, changes in musical notation, new instrumental playing
techniques and the rise of new genres such as opera. Although the term Baroque is
conventionally used for European music from about 1600, its full effects were not felt in Britain
until after 1660, delayed by native trends and developments in music, religious and cultural
differences from many European countries and the disruption to court music caused by the Wars
of the Three Kingdoms and Interregnum.
Under the restored Stuart monarchy the court became once again a centre of musical
patronage, but royal interest in music tended to be less significant as the seventeenth century
progressed, to be revived again under the House of Hanover. The Baroque era in British music
can be seen as one of an interaction of national and international trends, sometimes absorbing
continental fashions and practices and sometimes attempting, as in the creation of ballad opera,
to produce an indigenous tradition. However, arguably the most significant British composer of
the era, George Frideric Handel, was a naturalised German, who helped integrate British and
continental music and define the future of the classical music of the United Kingdom that would
be officially formed in 1801.
o Charles II
With the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II made the court once more the
centre of musical patronage in Britain, thetheatres were reopened and, after the introduction of a
new Book of Common Prayer in 1662, choral music began to be developed again. The king's
time on the continent, his (hidden) preference for Catholicism and explicit desire for
entertainment led to the embracing of the Baroque and continental forms of music. The court
became something of a crossroads of European musicians and styles on a much grander scale
than previously achieved. It was probably in these circumstances that Welsh musicians at the
court encountered the Italian triple harp, which they adopted and which by the end of the century
had supplanted simpler harps to became a national Welsh symbol. As well as encouraging many
French musicians to join his court, the king dispatched the youngPelham Humfrey (1647–1674)
to study in Paris, probably in 1665. When he returned he became the Master of the Children of
the Chapel Royal and composer to the Court. Although he died aged only 27 he was highly
influential on other English composers likeWilliam Turner (1651–1740), John Blow (1649–
1708) and Henry Purcell (1659–1695). Early in his career Purcell wrote secular music, including


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for the theatre. Later, as organist of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal, he devoted
himself to sacred music. In both fields he emerged as the most influential British composer of the
era.

o English opera
It was directly due to Charles II's patronage that English language opera, which had
briefly surfaced in the 1650s, was re-established in the 1670s. In 1673, Thomas
Shadwell's Psyche, patterned on the 1671 'comédie-ballet' of the same name produced
by Molière and Jean-Baptiste Lully, marked the revival of the genre. William
Davenant produced The Tempest in the same year, which was the first Shakespeare play to be set
to music (composed by Locke and Johnson). About 1683, Blow composed Venus and Adonis,
often thought of as the first true English-language opera. Purcell produced Dido and
Aeneas (1689), often described as the finest in the genre, in which the action is furthered by the
use of Italian-style recitative, but much of Purcell's best work was not involved in the composing
of typical opera, but instead he usually worked within the constraints of the semi-opera format,
where isolated scenes and masques are contained within the structure of a spoken play, such as
Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream in his The Fairy-Queen (1692) or Beaumont and
Fletcher dramas in The Prophetess (1690) and Bonduca (1696). The main characters of the play
tended not to be involved in the musical scenes, which meant that Purcell was rarely able to
develop his characters through song. Despite these hindrances, his aim (and that of his
collaborator John Dryden) was to establish serious opera as a dramatic form in England, but
these hopes ended with Purcell's early death at the age of 37 in 1695 and English opera gradually
fell out of favour and Italian opera began to dominate.

o Court music after the Glorious Revolution
After the death of Charles II in 1685, royal patronage of music became less significant. In
the short and troubled reign of his successor James II (1685–88), whose more overt Catholicism,
together with his preference for Italian music and musicians, limited patronage of Anglican
church music and the Chapel Royal, English composers were pushed towards secular music.
Under William III and Mary II (1688–1702) there was an emphasis on combating rebellion and
foreign policy, rather than on culture. There was also a reaction against the Catholic and French
culture of the court of Louis XIV, resulting in limitations on some elements of the Baroque, most
obviously reflected in the royal couple's orders to remove orchestration from anthems from 1689
and from the Chapel Royal in general from 1691, meaning that royal patronage for orchestrated
works now only extended to special occasions. The last of the Stuarts, Queen Anne (1702–1714),
had a reputation for being uninterested in culture, but had a considerable musical education and
some talent. As a princess she was a patron of Purcell, Turner and Blow and from the early years
of her reign she sponsored compositions for Royal processions and occasions including her
coronation and the Acts of Union in 1707, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. Her


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successor George Elector of Hanover, king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 to 1727 as
George I, was perhaps the most musically minded monarch of the era, bringing German and
Italian music and musicians with him when he acceded to the throne, among them George
Frideric Handel.

o George Frideric Handel
The leading figure in British music of the early 18th century was a naturalized Briton,
George Frideric Handel (1685–1759). Although he was born in Germany, he first visited
England in 1710, later moving there and becoming a naturalised citizen, playing a defining role
in the music of the British Isles. Handel drew heavily on the continental, particularly Italian,
Baroque style, but was also highly influenced by English composers such as Purcell. He was a
prolific composer, producing major orchestral works such as the Water Music, and the Music for
the Royal Fireworks. His opera, including Rinaldo (1711,1731), Orlando (1733), Ariodante
(1735), Alcina (1735) and Serse (1738, also known as Xerxes), helped made Britain second only
to Italy as a centre of operatic production. His sacred drama and choral music, particularly the
coronation anthem Zadok the Priest (written for the inauguration of George II in 1727) which
has remained part of the ceremony for British monarchs, and above all, the Messiah, helped set
the British taste in music for the next 200 years. He was a major influence on future classical
composers including Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

o Ballad opera
Ballad operas developed as a form of English stage entertainment, partly in opposition to
the Italian domination of the London operatic scene. It consisted of racy and
often satirical spoken (English) dialogue, interspersed with songs that were deliberately kept
very short to minimize disruptions to the flow of the story. Subject matter involved the lower,
often criminal, orders, and typically showed a suspension (or inversion) of the high moral values
of the Italian opera of the period. The first, most important and successful was The Beggar's
Opera of 1728, with a libretto by John Gay and music arranged byJohn Christopher Pepusch,
both of whom probably influenced by Parisian vaudeville and the burlesques and musical plays
of Thomas D'Urfey (1653–1723), a number of whose collected ballads they used in their work.
John Gay produced further works in this style, including a sequel under the
title Polly and he was followed by many other composers. There was also a general revival in
English language opera in the 1730s, largely attributed to Thomas Arne, the first English
composer to experiment with Italian-style all-sung comic opera, unsuccessfully in The Temple of
Dullness (1745), Henry and Emma (1749) and Don Saverio (1750), but triumphantly in Thomas
and Sally (1760). His opera Artaxerxes (1762) was the first attempt to set a full-blown opera
seria in English and was a huge success, holding the stage until the 1830s. Arne played a major
role in moving the ballad opera into a more pastoral form, together with Isaac


17
Bickerstaffe producing Love in a Village (1763) using more original music that imitated, rather
than reproduced, existing ballads. It was followed by other works like William
Shield's Rosina (1781). Although the form declined in popularity towards the end of the
eighteenth century, it was maintained into the nineteenth century by figures such as Charles
Dibdin and his family and its influence can be seen in light operas like those of Gilbert and
Sullivan's, particularly their early works like The Sorcerer (1877).

o The popularisation of music
In the eighteenth century the increasing availability of instruments such as
the harpsichord, spinet and later the piano, and cheap print meant that works created for opera
and the theatre were often published for private performance, with Thomas Arne's (1710–1778)
song "Rule Britannia" (1740) probably the best-known. From the 1730s elegant concert
halls began to be built across the country and attendance rivalled that of the theatre, facilitating
visits by figures such as Haydn, Bach and the young Mozart. The Italian style of classical music
was probably first brought to Scotland by the Italian cellist and composer Lorenzo Bocchi, who
travelled to Scotland in the 1720s, introducing the cello to the country and then developing
settings for lowland Scots songs. He possibly had a hand in the first Scottish Opera, the
pastoral The Gentle Shepherd, with libretto by the makar Allan Ramsay. The extension of
interest in music can be seen in the volume of musical publication, festivals, and the foundation
of over 100 choral societies across the country. George III (reigned 1760–1820), and the
aristocracy in general, continued to be patrons of music through the foundation of organisations
like the Royal Concert of Music in 1776 and events like the Handel Festival from 1784. Outside
of court patronage there were also a number of major figures, including the Scottish
composer Thomas Erskine, 6th Earl of Kellie(1732–1781) well known in his era, but whose
work was quickly forgotten after his death and has only just begun to be reappraised.












18
Classical music

Classical music of the United Kingdom is defined as formally composed and written
music of chamber, concert and church type as distinct from popular,traditional, or folk music.
The term in this sense emerged in the early 19th century, not long after the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland came into existence in 1801. Composed music in these islands can be
traced in musical notation back to the 13th century, with earlier origins.
It has never existed in isolation from European music, but has often developed in
distinctively insular ways within an international framework. Inheriting the European classical
forms of the 18th century (above all, in Britain, from the example of Handel), patronage and the
academy and university establishment of musical performance and training in the United
Kingdom during the 19th century saw a great expansion. Similar developments occurred in the
other expanding states of Europe (including Russia) and their empires. Within this international
growth the traditions of composition and performance centred in the United Kingdom, including
the various cultural strands drawn from its different provinces, have continued to evolve in
distinctive ways through the work of many famous composers.
o Early and Baroque music (review)
We cannot talk about classical music without refering to the beginnings. Music in the
British Isles, from the earliest recorded times until the Baroque and the rise of recognisably
modern classical music, was a diverse and rich culture, including sacred and secular music and
ranging from the popular to the elite. Each of the major nations
of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales retained unique forms of music and of instrumentation,
but British music was highly influenced by continental developments, while British composers
made an important contribution to many of the major movements in early music in Europe,
including the polyphony of the Ars Nova and laid some of the foundations of later national and
international classical music.
Musicians from the British Isles also developed some distinctive forms of music,
including Celtic chant, the Contenance Angloise, the rota, polyphonic votive antiphons and
the carol in the medieval era and English madrigals, lute ayres and masques in
the Renaissance era, which led particularly to English language opera developed in the
early Baroque period. The dominant figure in classical music in the later baroque era, and
beyond, was the German-born George Frideric Handel (1685–1759).



19
o Early nineteenth century
With the Act of Union 1800 passed by both the Parliament of Great Britain and
the Parliament of Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed, and it
becomes possible to speak of classical music in the United Kingdom. This was also the period
when classical music began to be recognised as an important element of British and Irish culture
and to be placed on a more organised basis that could match some of the developments seen in
continental Europe. Music in this period has been seen as dominated by continental trends and
composers.
 Major foundations
In 1813 the London Philharmonic Society was established, which played an important
role in the development of musical life in the kingdom. Founders included SirGeorge
Smart, Johann Baptist Cramer, Muzio Clementi, William Ayrton (musical director of the King's
Theatre), William Shield, Henry Bishop, Thomas Attwood(composer and organist of St Paul's
Cathedral, and teacher of John Goss), Johann Peter Salomon and Vincent Novello. Under their
aegis an annual programme of concerts of international calibre was established. The Society was
a commissioning patron of Beethoven's Choral Symphony (No. 9).
Musical training was placed on a newly professional footing by the creation in 1822 of
the Royal Academy of Music, which received a royal charter in 1830, which attempted to train
British musicians to the same standards as those of the continent. Its first principal was the
oratorio composer Dr William Crotch (1745–1847), and the first tutor of piano was Cipriani
Potter (1792–1871). Potter was the first London performer of Mozart and Beethoven concerti.
He wrote nine symphonies and four piano concerti and as principal from 1832-59 was highly
influential in the development of British music and the profession of musician.
The significance of classical music in Ireland, and to a degree its place in conflicting
British and Irish identities, was signalled by the foundation of the Dublin Choral Society in 1837,
the Irish Academy of Music in 1848 (which was to be granted a royal charter in 1872); and the
Royal Choral Institute in 1851 under such figures as Sir Robert Prescot.
 Performers and composers
In the earlier part of the century the British singers Michael Kelly, Nancy
Storace and John Braham were prominent and by their example sustained the international opera
and oratorio works of Handel, Haydn, Mozart and their successors in the British arena. Braham,
whose career thoroughly spanned the opera stage and concert platform, established a tradition in
public recital which was continued by his successors down into the early 20th
century.
[10]
Arias or ballads from the English opera became concert standards in recital.


20
The Irish composer and virtuoso pianist John Field (1782–1837) was highly influential in
his style of playing, inventing thenocturne and he is thought to have been an inspiration
to Schumann, Chopin and Liszt.
Perhaps the most influential composer of the first half of the 19th century was the
German Felix Mendelssohn, who visited Britain ten times for a total of twenty months from
1829. He won a strong following through the Philharmonic Society, sufficient for him to make a
deep impression on British musical life. Not only did he compose and perform, but he also edited
for British publishers the first critical editions of oratorios of Handel and of the organ music of J.
S. Bach. Scotland inspired two of his most famous works, the overture Fingal's Cave (also
known as the Hebrides Overture) and the Scottish Symphony (Symphony No. 3). His
oratorio Elijah was premièred in Birmingham at the Triennial Music Festival on August 26,
1846. On his last visit to England in 1847 he was the soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.
4 and conducted his own Scottish Symphony with the Philharmonic Orchestra before Queen
Victoria and Prince Albert. A number of British piano students of promise were sent to
the Leipzig Conservatory established by Mendelssohn.
o British musical renaissance 1860-1918
Classical music has been seen as undergoing a fundamental shift in focus and importance
from the second half of the 19th century, as it began to search for a distinctive national identity
or identities and played an increasing role in British cultural life.
 Performers and composers
Native singers shared the dramatic stage with international stars in Italian and German
opera, notably Clara Novello, Helen Lemmens-Sherrington, Sims Reeves and Charles
Santley. After 1856 the Swedish born Jenny Lind, perhaps the most internationally renowned
singer of the era, settled permanently in England, continuing to perform and teach.
Among the most important figures in British classical music in this period was
Sir William Sterndale Bennett, a RAM pupil of Potter's, he was a pianist, composer and
conductor who for eleven years took control of the Philharmonic Society baton. Lucy
Anderson and her pupil Arabella Goddard, with Franklin Taylor, were leading native mid-
Victorian pianists.
 Growth of venues and orchestras
This century saw the trend towards larger orchestras and correspondingly larger musical
venues, permitting public concerts for mass audiences. The Crystal Palace concerts were
inaugurated in 1855, with August Manns as the principal conductor and the Handel Triennial
Festival, an older institution involving massed choirs before vast audiences, was transferred
there. Covent Garden's Royal Opera House was opened in 1858, on the site of an earlier theatre
and theRoyal Albert Hall was built in 1878.


21
Orchestras which were founded in this period included the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Orchestra (1840), the Hallé Orchestra at Manchester under Sir Charles Hallé (1858), and the
Scottish Orchestra (1891), now the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
 English language opera
One of the notable features of the mid-19th century is the revival of a tradition of English
language opera. Arthur Sullivan, a pupil of Goss, came to public attention in the 1860s
with Shakespeare incidental music, The Tempest (1862),The Merchant of Venice (1871), his Irish
Symphony (1863–1866) and In Memoriam.
The period 1835-1865 saw the height of popularity for the Irish born Michael
Balfe (1808–70), composer of The Bohemian Girl (1843), the operas of John Pyke
Hullah (1812–84), and the earlier English operas of German-born Sir Julius Benedict (1804–85),
including his best-known, The Lily of Killarney (1862). Maritana (1845) was the most famous
and ballad-rich of the Irish born William Vincent Wallace's operas. The operas of Frederic
Clay (1838–89) were among the most popular of the period, including Ages Ago (1869), The
Gentleman in Black (1870) and Happy Arcadia (1872), all written with W. S. Gilbert (1836–
1911).
The Savoy opera collaborations between Gilbert and Sullivan began in 1875 with Trial
by Jury. They were in the British light opera tradition with spoken dialogue. They reached their
heyday in the 1880s with The Pirates of Penzance (1880), and The Gondoliers (1889), and
concluded in 1896 with The Grand Duke. They had rivals like Alfred Cellier's (1844–
1891) Dorothy (1886) and The Mountebanks (1892), but were the most successful operas of the
era and have been among the most frequently revived.
 Religious and mythical works
In the later 19th century there was an increasing appetite for large scale works that
covered epic, biblical and mythical themes. This was reflected in the topics of operas, cantatas
and oratorios, often utilising British poems and novels. These included choral works
like William Sterndale Bennett's The May Queen (1858), Ebenezer Prout's Hereward and King
Alfred and cantatas like Sullivan and Henry Fothergill Chorley's The Masque at
Kenilworth (1864), John Francis Barnett's Ancient Mariner (1867) and Frederic Hymen
Cowen's The Rose Maiden (1870) and Harold (1895). Similar trends can be seen in operas such
as George Alexander Macfarren's Robin Hood (1860), Sullivan's Ivanhoe (1891) and in the
operas of Arthur Goring Thomas, which included Esmeralda (1883) and Nadeshda (1885). The
works of Handel, Mendelssohn and Spohr continued to be a major part of the British musical
repertoire but there was an increasing emphasis on religious drama. The Italian-born Sir Michael
Costa's Eli (1855) and Naaman (1864) set the pace for the later development in the works of
Sullivan, including The Martyr of Antioch (1880) The Light of the World (1873), and The
Golden Legend (1886), John Liptrot Hatton's Hezekiah (1877), Joseph
Barnby's Rebekah (1870), William Cusins'sGideon (1871), Alfred R. Gaul's The Holy


22
City (1882), Charles Gounod's Redemption (1882) and Mors et Vita (1885) (produced expressly
for the British public), and Sir John Stainer's The Crucifixion (1887). Arguably the last of the
great English Victorian composers to emerge was Edward Elgar (1857–1934), who during the
1890s produced his Caractacus andKing Olaf cantatas, the Enigma Variations in 1899, and the
revolutionary Dream of Gerontius in 1900.
 Late nineteenth-century foundations
Between 1880 and 1887 the London Guildhall School of Music was established.
The Royal College of Music, originating in a training school under Arthur Sullivan, was founded
(1882–83) under Sir George Grove. The Queen's Hall Promenade Concerts, led by Sir Henry
Wood were founded in 1895.
A member of teaching staff at the RCM from 1884 and director from 1894 until his death
was Sir Hubert Parry (1848–1918), who used it as a platform for creativity and a reformation of
British music. His own works included the cantatas Prometheus Unbound (1880) and King
Saul (1894), and four symphonies, among them the English (1889). His great contemporary was
the Irish-born Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924), who was professor of composition at
the RCM from 1883; conductor of The Bach Choir from 1886 to 1902; was professor of music at
Cambridge from 1887 and conductor of the Leeds Philharmonic Society (1897–1909), and of the
Leeds Festival (1901 to 1910). These figures had a profound effect on a generation of composers
that included Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
 National or pastoral school
A notable feature of the late 19th century and early 20th century was the creation of an
English national or pastoral school of classical music. This paralleled similar developments in
most European countries, for instance in the music
of Smetana, Dvořák,Grieg, Liszt, Wagner, Nielsen and Sibelius. The movement was particularly
influenced by the British folk revival through the work of figures such as Sabine Baring-
Gould and Cecil Sharp. Examples include the Australian Percy Grainger's Molly on the
Shore (1907), Delius' Brigg Fair (1908), and Ralph Vaughan Williams' English Folk Song
Suite (1923) for brass band, as well as subtler references to folk themes in other works including
the works of Arnold Bax, George Butterworth, Gustav Holst, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and John
Ireland. Similar developments could be seen in Scotland in the work of Sir Alexander
Mackenzie, who celebrated his native Scotland in three Scottish Rhapsodies for orchestra (1880–
1881, 1911), and in various concerted works for piano or violin and orchestra composed during
the 1880s and 1890s. Similarly, John McEwen's Pibroch (1889), Border Ballads (1908)
and Solway Symphony (1911) also incorporated traditional Scottish folk melodies.






23
o Twentieth century
Under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, twenty-six of Ireland's thirty-two counties,
including the city of Dublin, were formally separated from the United Kingdom. While the two
countries continued to share a classical music heritage, they would now develop on different
lines.
In what was now the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the
outstanding composers of the century included William Walton and Benjamin Britten. Their
individual approaches to music and its part in the national identity differed significantly.
Walton's work featured fanfares and patriotic themes, including the ceremonial marches Crown
Imperial, written for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and Orb and
Sceptre, for that of Queen Elizabeth II. Britten, on the other hand, made a conscious effort to set
himself apart from the English musical mainstream, which he regarded as complacent, insular
and amateurish. His works included the operas Peter Grimes (1945), and Billy Budd (1951), as
well the instrumental compositions Nocturnal after John Dowland for guitar(1964). It is
arguable that this trend may have contributed to the revival of interest in early music which has
been led, in Britain, by such figures as Arnold Dolmetsch and David Munrow.
o Twenty-first century
In the present era, classical music in Britain must contend and co-exist with a dominant
culture of popular music. Specialist music education at establishments such as the Royal
Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and
Drama,Royal Northern College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire and Guildhall School of
Music, as well as within British Universities provide world-class music teaching to gifted
classical musicians.
Notable modern composers include: Peter Maxwell Davies, Julian Anderson, Harrison
Birtwistle, George Benjamin, Thomas Ades, Oliver Knussen, James MacMillan and at a more
popular level Andrew Lloyd Webber, represent very different strands of composition within UK
classical music.
o Festivals and venues
The United Kingdom is host to many major orchestras, festivals and venues. The Royal
Philharmonic Society (founded 1813) and "The Proms" have presented annual music
programmes of international status since the early 19th century. The Aldeburgh Festival, founded
by Benjamin Britten is another annual musical event of international status.





24
Folk music
Folk music of England refers to various types of traditionally based music, often
contrasted with courtly, classical and later commercial music, for which evidence exists from the
later medieval period. It has been preserved and transmitted orally, through print and later
through recordings. The term is used to refer to English traditional music and music composed,
or delivered, in a traditional style. English folk music has produced or contributed to several
important musical genres, including sea shanties, jigs, hornpipes and dance music, such as that
used for Morris dancing. It can be seen as having distinct regional and local variations in content
and style, particularly in areas more removed from the cultural and political centres of the
English state, as inNorthumbria, or the West Country. Cultural interchange and processes of
migration mean that English folk music, although in many ways distinctive, has particularly
interacted with the music of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It has also interacted with other
musical traditions, particularly classical and rock music, influencing musical styles and
producing musical fusions, such as electric folk, folk punk and folk metal. There remains a
flourishing sub-culture of English folk music, which continues to influence other genres and
occasionally to gain mainstream attention.
 Origins
In the strictest sense, English folk music has existed since the arrival of the Anglo-
Saxon people in Britain after 400 CE. TheVenerable Bede's story of the cattleman and later
ecclesiastical musician Caedmon indicates that in the early medieval period it was normal at
feasts to pass around the harp and sing 'vain and idle songs'. Since this type of music was rarely
notated, we have little knowledge of its form or content. Some later tunes, like those used
for Morris dance, may have their origins in this period, but it is impossible to be certain of these
relationships. We know from a reference in William Langland's Piers Plowman, that ballads
about Robin Hood were being sung from at least by the late 14th century and the oldest detailed
material we have is Wynkyn de Worde's collection of Robin Hood ballads printed about 1495.

 The 16th century to the 18th century
While there was distinct court music, members of the social elite into the 16th century
also seem to have enjoyed, and even to have contributed to the music of the people, as Henry
VIII perhaps did with the tavern song "Pastime with Good Company". Peter Burke argued that
late medieval social elites had their own culture, but were culturally ‘amphibious', able to
participate in and affect popular traditions.
In the 16th century the changes in the wealth and culture of the upper social orders
caused tastes in music to diverge. There was an internationalisation of courtly music in terms of
both instruments, such as the lute, dulcimer and early forms of the harpsichord, and in form with
the development of madrigals, pavanes andgalliards. For other social orders, instruments like the


25
pipe, tabor, bagpipe, shawm, hurdy gurdy, and crumhorn accompanied traditional music and
community dance. The fiddle, well established in England by the 1660s, was unusual in being a
key element in both the art music that developed in the baroque, and in popular song and dance.
By the mid-17th century, the music of the lower social orders was sufficiently alien to the
aristocracy and "middling sort" for a process of rediscovery to be needed in order to understand
it, along with other aspects of popular culture such as festivals, folklore and dance. This led to a
number of early collections of printed material, including those published by John
Playford as The English Dancing Master (1651), and the private collections of Samuel
Pepys (1633–1703) and theRoxburghe Ballads collected by Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford
and Mortimer (1661–1724).
In the 18th century there were increasing numbers of collections of what was now
beginning to be defined as "folk" music, strongly influenced by the Romantic movement,
including Thomas D'Urfey's Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719–20) and
Bishop Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry(1765). The last of these also
contained some oral material and by the end of the 18th century this was becoming increasingly
common, with collections including John Ritson's, The Bishopric Garland (1784), which
paralleled the work of figures like Robert Burns and Walter Scott in Scotland.
 The early 19th century
With the Industrial Revolution the themes of the music of the labouring classes began to
change from rural and agrarian life to include industrial work songs. Awareness that older kinds
of song were being abandoned prompted renewed interest in collecting folk songs during the
1830s and 1840s, including the work of William Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and
Modern (1833), William Chappell, A Collection of National English Airs (1838) and Robert
Bell's Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England (1846).
Technological change made new instruments available and led to the development of
silver and brass bands, particularly in industrial centres in the north. The shift to urban centres
also began to create new types of music, including from the 1850s the Music hall, which
developed from performances in ale houses into theatres and became the dominant locus of
English popular music for over a century. This combined with increased literacy and print to
allow the creation of new songs that initially built on, but began to differ from traditional music
as composers like Lionel Monckton and Sidney Jones created music that reflected new social
circumstances.
 Folk revivals 1890–1969
From the late 19th century there were a series of movements that attempted to collect,
record, preserve and later to perform, English folk music and dance. These are usually separated
into two folk revivals.


26
The first, in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, involved figures including
collectors Sabine Baring-Gould (1834–1924), Frank Kidson (1855–1926), Lucy
Broadwood (1858–1939), and Anne Gilchrist (1863–1954), centred around the Folk Song
Society, founded in 1911. Francis James Child's (1825–96) eight-volume collection The English
and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882–92) became the most influential in defining the repertoire of
subsequent performers, and Cecil Sharp(1859–1924), founder of the English Folk Dance Society,
was probably the most important figure in understanding of the nature of folk song. The revival
was part of a wider national movement in the period around the First World War, and
contributed to the creation of a "national" or "pastoral" school of classical music which
incorporated traditional songs or motifs, as can be seen in the compositions of Percy
Grainger (1882–1961), Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1951), George Butterworth (1885–
1916), Gustav Holst (1874–1934) and Frederick Delius (1862–1934). In 1932 the Folk-Song
Society and the English Folk Dance Society merged to become the English Folk Dance and Song
Society (EFDSS).

The second revival gained momentum after the Second World War, following on from
the American folk music revival as new forms of media and American commercial music
appeared to pose another threat to traditional music. The key figures were Ewan MacColl and A.
L. Lloyd. The second revival was generally left wing in politics and emphasised the work music
of the 19th century and previously neglected forms like erotic folk songs. Topic Records,
founded in 1939, provided a major source of folk recordings. The revival resulted in the
foundation of a network of folk clubs in major towns, from the 1950s. Major traditional
performers included the Copper Family, The Watersons, the Ian Campbell Folk Group,
andShirley Collins. The fusing of various styles of American music with English folk also helped
to create a distinctive form of guitar fingerstyle known as ‘folk baroque’, which was pioneered
by Davy Graham, Martin Carthy, John Renbourn and Bert Jansch.
 Progressive folk
The process of fusion between American musical styles and English folk can also be seen
as the origin of British progressive folk music, which attempted to elevate folk music through
greater musicianship, or compositional and arrangement skills. Many progressive folk
performers continued to retain a traditional element in their music, including Jansch and
Renbourn, who with Jacqui McShee, Danny Thompson, and Terry Cox, formed Pentangle in
1967. Others totally abandoned the traditional element and in this area particularly influential
were the Scottish artists Donovan, who was most influenced by emerging progressive folk
musicians in America like Bob Dylan, and the Incredible String Band, who from 1967
incorporated a range of influences including medieval and eastern music into their compositions.
Some of this, particularly the Incredible String Band, has been seen as developing into the
further sub-genre of psych or psychedelic folk and had a considerable impact
on progressive and psychedelic rock.


27
There was a brief flowering of English progressive folk in the late 1960s and early 1970s,
with groups like the Third Ear Band and Quintessence following the eastern Indian musical and
more abstract work by group such as Comus, Dando Shaft, The Trees, Spirogyra, Forest, and Jan
Dukes De Grey, but commercial success was elusive for these bands and most had broken up or
moved in very different directions by about 1973. Perhaps the finest individual work in the genre
was from artists early 1970s artists like Nick Drake and John Martyn, but these can also be
considered the first among the English ‘folk troubadours’ or ‘singer-songwriters’, individual
performers who remained largely acoustic but who relied mostly on their own individual
compositions. The most successful of these was Ralph McTell, whose ‘Streets of London’
reached number 2 in the UK Single Charts in 1974, and whose music is clearly folk, but without
much reliance on tradition, virtuosity, or much evidence of attempts at fusion with other genres.
 Electric folk
Electric folk is the name given to the kind of folk rock pioneered in England from the late
1960s, by the band Fairport Convention. It uses traditional music, and compositions in a
traditional style, played on a combination of rock and traditional instruments. It was most
significant in the 1970s, when it was taken up by groups such as Pentangle, Steeleye Span and
the Albion Band. It was rapidly adopted and developed in the surrounding Celtic cultures
of Brittany, where it was pioneered by Alan Stivell and bands like Malicorne; in Ireland by
groups such as Horslips; and also in Scotland, Walesand the Isle of Man and Cornwall, to
produce Celtic rock and its derivatives. It has been influential in those parts of the world with
close cultural connections to Britain, such as the USA and Canada and gave rise to the sub-genre
of Medieval folk rock and the fusion genres of folk punk and folk metal.
[30]
By the 1980s the
genre was in steep decline in popularity, but has survived and revived in significance as part of a
more general folk resurgence since the 1990s.

 Folk punk
In the mid-1980s a new rebirth of English folk began, this time fusing folk with energy
and political aggression derived from punk rock. Leaders included The Pogues,The Men They
Couldn't Hang, Oyster Band and Billy Bragg. Folk dance music also became popular in the 80s,
with acts like the English Country Blues Band and Tiger Moth. The decade later saw the use
of reggae with English folk music by the band Edward II & the Red Hot Polkas, especially on
their seminal Let's Polkasteady from 1987.

 Folk metal
In a process strikingly similar to the origins of electric folk in the 1960s, the
English thrash metal band Skyclad added violins from a session musician on several tracks for
their 1990 debut album The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth. When this was well received they
adopted a full-time fiddle player and moved towards a signature folk and jig style leading them
to be credited as the pioneers of folk metal, which has spread to Ireland, the Baltic and Germany.



28
 Traditional folk resurgence 1990-present
The peak of traditional English folk, like progressive and electric folk, was the mid- to
late-1970s, when, for a time it threatened to break through into the mainstream. By the end of the
decade, however, it was in decline. The attendance at, and numbers of folk clubs began to
decrease, probably as new musical and social trends, including punk rock, new
waveand electronic music began to dominate. Although many acts like Martin Carthy and the
Watersons continued to perform successfully, there were very few significant new acts pursuing
traditional forms in the 1980s. This began to change with a new generation in the 1990s. The
arrival and sometimes mainstream success of acts like Kate Rusby, Nancy Kerr, Kathryn
Tickell, Jim Moray, Spiers and Boden, Seth Lakeman, Frank Turner and Eliza Carthy, all largely
concerned with acoustic performance of traditional material, marked a radical turn around in the
fortunes of the tradition. This was reflected in the adoption creation of the BBC Radio 2 Folk
Awards in 2000, which gave the music a much needed status and focus and the profile of folk
music is as high in England today as it has been for over thirty years.

o Folk music (general view)
Each of the four countries of the United Kingdom has its own diverse and distinctive folk
music forms. In addition, there are numerous distinct and semi-distinct folk traditions brought by
immigrants from Jamaica, India, the Commonwealth and other parts of the world. Folk music
flourished until the era of industrialisation when it began to be replaced by new forms of popular
music, including music hall and brass bands. Realisation of this led to two folk revivals, one in
the late-19th century and the other in the mid-20th century, which kept folk music as an
important sub-culture within society.
 English folk music
England has a long and diverse history of folk music dating back at least to the medieval
period and including many forms of music, song and dance. Through two periods of revival from
the late nineteenth century much of the tradition has been preserved and continues to be
practiced. It led to the creation of a number of fusions with other forms of music that produced
sub-genres such as electric folk, folk punk and folk metal and continues to thrive nationally and
in regional scenes, particularly in areas such as Northumbria and Cornwall.
 Northern Irish music
Ireland, including Northern Ireland, has vibrant folk traditions. The popularity of
traditional instruments such as fiddles has remained throughout the centuries even as analogues
in Great Britain died out. Perhaps the most famous modern musician from Northern Ireland
influenced by folk tradition is Van Morrison.


29
 Scottish folk music
Scottish folk music includes many kinds of songs, including ballads and laments, sung by
a single singer with accompaniment by bagpipes, fiddles or harps. Traditional dances
include waltzes, reels, strathspeys and jigs. Alongside the other areas of the United Kingdom,
Scotland underwent a roots revival in the 1960s. Cathy-Ann McPhee and Jeannie
Robertson were the heroes of this revival, which inspired some revolutions in band formats by
groups like The Clutha, The Whistlebinkies, The Boys of the Lough and the Incredible String
Band.
 Welsh folk music
Wales is a Celtic country that features folk music played at twmpathau (communal
dances) and gwyl werin (music festivals). Welsh music also includes male voice choirs and
songs accompanied by a harp. Having long been subordinate to English culture, Welsh musicians
in the late 20th century had to reconstruct traditional music when a roots revival began. This
revival began in the late 1970s and achieved some mainstream success in the UK in the 80s with
performers like Robin Huw Bowen, Moniars and Gwerinos.

















30
Modern music (Popular music)
British popular music and popular music in general, can be defined in a number of ways,
but is used here to describe music which is not part of the art/classical music or Church
music traditions, including folk music, jazz,pop and rock music. These forms of music have
particularly flourished in Britain, which, it has been argued, has had an impact on popular music
disproportionate to its size, partly due to its linguistic and cultural links with many countries,
particularly the former areas of British control such as United States, Canada, and Australia, but
also a capacity for invention, innovation and fusion, which has led to the development of, or
participation in, many of the major trends in popular music. This is particularly true since the
early 1960s when the British Invasion led by The Beatles, helped to secure British performers a
major place in development of pop and rock music, which has been revisited at various times,
with genres originating in or being radically developed by British musicians, including: blues
rock, heavy metal music, progressive rock, punk rock, electric folk, folk punk,acid jazz, drum
and bass, grime and Britpop.
o Early British popular music
Commercial music enjoyed by the people can be seen to originate in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries with the arrival of the broadside ballad, which were sold cheaply and in
great numbers until the nineteenth century. Further technological, economic and social changes
led to new forms of music in the nineteenth century, including the brass band, which produced a
popular and communal form of classical music. Similarly, the Music hall sprang up to cater for
the entertainment of new urban societies, adapting existing forms of music to produce popular
songs and acts. In the 1930s the influence of American Jazz led to the creation of British dance
bands, who provided a social and popular music that began to dominate social occasions and the
radio airwaves.

o 1950s
By 1950 indigenous forms of British popular music were already giving way to the
influence of American forms of music including jazz, swing and traditional pop, mediated
through film and records. The significant change of the mid-1950s was the impact of
American rock and roll, which provided a new model for performance and recording, based on a
youth market. Initially this was dominated by American acts, or re-creations of American forms
of music, but soon distinctly British forms began to appear, first in the uniquely British take on
American folk music in the Skiffle craze of the 1950s, in the beginnings of a folk revival that
came to place an emphasis on national traditions and then in early attempts to produce British
rock and roll.



31
o 1960s
By the early 1960s the British had developed a viable national music industry and began
to produce adapted forms of American music in beat music and British blues which would be re-
exported to America by bands such as The Beatles and Rolling Stones. [1] This helped to make
the dominant forms of popular music something of a shared Anglo-American project. The
development of British blues rock helped revitalised rock music and led to the growing
distinction between pop and rock music. In the mid-1960s, British bands were at the forefront in
the creation of the hard rock genre. While pop music continued to dominate the singles charts,
rock began to develop into diverse and creative sub-genres that characterised the form
throughout the rest of the twentieth century.
 The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band that formed in Liverpool, in 1960. With John
Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the
greatest and most influential act of the rock era. [2] Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and
roll, the Beatles later experimented with several genres, ranging
from popballads to psychedelic and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements in
innovative ways. In the early 1960s, their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania",
but as their songwriting grew in sophistication they came to be perceived as an embodiment of
the ideals shared by the era's sociocultural revolutions.
From 1960, the Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool
and Hamburg over a three-year period. ManagerBrian Epstein moulded them into a professional
act and producer George Martin enhanced their musical potential. They gained popularity in the
United Kingdom after their first hit, "Love Me Do", in late 1962. They acquired the nickname
"the Fab Four" as Beatlemania grew in Britain over the following year, and by early 1964 they
had become international stars, leading the "British Invasion" of the United States pop market.
From 1965 onwards, the Beatles produced what many critics consider their finest material,
including the innovative and widely influential albums Rubber Soul (1965),Revolver (1966), Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The Beatles ("White Album") (1968) and Abbey
Road(1969). After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed successful musical careers. Lennon
was shot and killed in December 1980, and Harrison died of lung cancer in November 2001.
McCartney and Starr, the remaining members, remain musically active.
According to the RIAA, the Beatles are the best-selling band in the United States, with
177 million certified units. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and


32
sold more singles in the UK than any other act. In 2008, the group topped Billboard magazine's
list of the all-time most successful "Hot 100" artists; as of 2014, they hold the record for most
number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart with twenty. They have received ten Grammy Awards,
anAcademy Award for Best Original Score and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. Collectively
included in Time magazine's compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, they
are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 600 million records
worldwide[3][4] In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Beatles as the greatest artist of all time.


o 1970s
In the 1970s British musicians played a major part in developing the new forms of music
that had emerged from blues rocktowards the end of the 1960s, including folk
rock and psychedelic rock. Several important and influential sub-genres were created in Britain
in this period, by pursuing the possibilities of rock music, including electric folk and glam rock,
a process that reached its apogee in the development of progressive rock and one of the most
enduring sub-genres in heavy metal music. [5] While jazz began to suffer a decline in popularity
in this period, Britain began to be increasingly influenced by aspects of World music,
including Jamaican music, resulting in new music scenes and sub-genres. In the middle years of
the decade the influence of the pub rock and American punk rock movements led to the British
intensification of punk, which swept away much of the existing landscape of popular music,
replacing it with much more diverse new wave and post punk bands who mixed different forms
of music and influences to dominate rock and pop music into the 1980s.

o 1980s
Rock and pop music in the 1980s built on the post punk and new wave movements,
incorporating different sources of inspiration from sub-genres and what is now classed as World
music in the shape of Jamaican and Indian music, as did British Jazz, as a series of black British
musicians came to prominence, creating new fusions like Acid Jazz. It also explored the
consequences of new technology and social change in the electronic music of synth pop. In the
early years of the decade, while sub-genres likeheavy metal music continued to develop
separately, there was a considerable crossover between rock and more commercial popular
music, with a large number of more "serious" bands, like The Police and UB40, enjoying
considerable single chart success. The advent of MTV and cable video helped spur what has
been seen as a Second British Invasion in the early years of the decade, with British bands
enjoying more success in America than they had since the height of The Beatles' popularity in


33
the 1960s. However, by the end of the decade there was a fragmentation, with many new forms
of music and sub-cultures, including Hip Hop and House music, while the single charts were
once again dominated by pop artists, now often associated with the Hi-NRG hit factory of Stock
Aitken Waterman. The rise of the Indie rock scene was partly a response to this, and marked a
shift away from the major music labels and towards the importance of local scenes
like Madchester and sub-genres, like gothic rock.
 The police
The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the majority of
their history, the band consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart
Copeland (drums). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and are generally
regarded as one of the first new wave groups to achieve mainstream success, playing a style of
rock that was influenced by punk, reggae, and jazz. They are also considered one of the leaders
of the Second British Invasion of the US[6][7] They disbanded in 1986, but reunited in early
2007 for a one-off world tour lasting until August 2008.
Their 1983 album, Synchronicity, was number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the
US Billboard 200, and sold over 8 million copies in the US alone. They have sold more than 75
million records worldwide,[8] and were the world's highest-earning musicians in 2008, thanks to
their reunion tour.[9]
The band has won a number of music awards throughout their career, including
six Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group once, an MTV Video
Music Award, and in 2003 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[10] Four of their
five studio albums appeared on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The
Police were included among both Rolling Stone's and VH1's lists of the "100 Greatest Artists of
All Time".

o 1990s
In the 1990s, while the singles charts were dominated by boy bands and girl
groups like Take That, and Spice Girls, British soul and Indian-based music also enjoyed their
greatest level of mainstream success to date, and the rise of World music helped revitalise the
popularity of folk music. Electronic rock bands like The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers began
to achieve a high profile. Alternative rock reached the mainstream, emerging from
the Madchester scene to produce dream pop, shoegazing, post rock and indie pop, which led to
the commercial success of Britpop bands like Blur and Oasis; followed by a stream of post-


34
Britpop bands like Travis and Feeder, which led the way for the international success of bands
including Snow Patrol and Coldplay.
 Coldplay
Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead
guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London (UCL).[11] After they formed under the
name Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to
Starfish. Will Champion joined as a drummer, backing vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist,
completing the line-up. Manager Phil Harvey is often considered an unofficial fifth member. The
band renamed themselves "Coldplay" in 1998, before recording and releasing three
EPs; Safety in 1998, Brothers & Sistersas a single in 1999 and The Blue Room in the same year.
The latter was their first release on a major label, after signing to Parlophone.
They achieved worldwide fame with the release of the single "Yellow" in 2000, followed
by their debut album released in the same year, Parachutes, which was nominated for
the Mercury Prize. The band's second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), was released
to critical acclaim and won multiple awards, including NME's Album of the Year. They have
also come top of the BBC Radio 2 poll of the favourite album of all time. Their next
release, X&Y, the best-selling album worldwide in 2005, was met with mostly positive reviews
upon its release, though some critics felt that it was inferior to its predecessor. The band's fourth
studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008), was produced by Brian Eno and
released again to largely positive reviews, earning several Grammy Award nominations and wins
at the 51st Grammy Awards.[12] On 24 October 2011, they released their fifth studio
album, Mylo Xyloto, which received mixed to positive reviews, topped the charts in over 34
countries, and was the UK's best-selling rock album of 2011. In March 2014, they announced
their new album, entitled Ghost Stories, will be released on 19 May, the same year.
The band has won a number of music awards throughout their career, including eight Brit
Awards—winning Best British Group three times, five MTV Video Music Awards and seven
Grammy Awards from 25 nominations. Coldplay have sold more than 70 million records
worldwide. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth-best artist of the
2000s. Coldplay have been an active supporter of various social and political causes, such
as Oxfam'sMake Trade Fair campaign and Amnesty International. The group have also
performed at various charity projects such as Band Aid 20, Live 8, Sound Relief, Hope for Haiti
Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, The Secret Policeman's Ball, Sport Relief and
the Teenage Cancer Trust.


35

o 2000 to present
At the beginning of the new millennium, while talent show contestants were one of the
major forces in pop music, British soul maintained and even extended its high profile with
figures like Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and Adele, while a new group of singer/songwriters,
including KT Tunstall and James Blunt, achieved international success. New forms of dance
music emerged, fusing hip hop with garage to form grime. There was also a revival of garage
rock and post punk, which when mixed with electronic music produced new rave. [13]
 Adelle
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins MBE (born 5 May 1988) is an English singer-songwriter.
Adele was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo
on Myspace in 2006. The next year she received the Brit Awards "Critics' Choice" award and
won the BBC Sound of 2008. Her debut album, 19, was released in 2008 to commercial and
critical success. It certified four times platinum in the UK, and double platinum in the US. Her
career in the US was boosted by a Saturday Night Live appearance in late 2008. At the 2009
Grammy Awards, Adele received the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal
Performance.[14]
Adele released her second studio album, 21, in early 2011. The album was well received
critically and surpassed the success of her début, earning the singer six Grammy Awards in 2012
including Album of the Year, equalling the record for most Grammy Awards won by a female
artist in one night. The album has also led to her receiving numerous other awards, including
two Brit Awards and three American Music Awards. The album has been certified 16 times
platinum in the UK; in the US the album has held the top position longer than any other album
since 1985, and is certified Diamond.
[10][11][12]
According to the IFPI, the album has sold over 26
million copies worldwide.
The success of 21 earned Adele numerous mentions in the Guinness World Records. She
is the first artist to sell more than 3 million copies of an album in a year in the UK. With her two
albums and the first two singles from 21, "Rolling in the Deep" and "Someone Like You", she
became the first living artist to achieve the feat of having two top-five hits in both the UK
Official Singles Chart and the Official Albums Chart simultaneously since The Beatles in
1964. With her third release from the album, "Set Fire to the Rain", which became her third


36
number one single in the US, Adele became the first artist in history to lead the Billboard 200
concurrently with three Billboard Hot 100 number-ones.
Adele is the first female in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to have three singles in
the top 10 at the same time as a lead artist, and the first female artist to have two albums in the
top five of the Billboard 200 and two singles in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100
simultaneously. 21 is the longest running number one album by a female solo artist on the UK
and US Albums Chart. In 2011 and 2012, Billboard named Adele Artist of the Year. In 2012,
Adele was listed at number five on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music, and the American
magazine Time named Adele one of the most influential people in the world. In 2013, she
received an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for her
song "Skyfall", written for the twenty-third James Bond film of the same name.



















37
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