Contexts

Historical Contexts: Music

A Dramaturgical Study of Conscience’s Broom Song in The Three Ladies of London

Katrine Wong

Abstract: This paper examining Conscience's broom-selling song offers a comparative reading of the structure of Conscience's song with that of other item-selling songs; for instance, market songs by Ancient and his crew (which carry ulterior purposes) in Fletcher's The Loyal Subject, Autolycus's peddling songs in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Nightingale's ballad-selling songs in Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, through which we can deduce a formula of musical promotion of products in early modern England. The discussion proposes a theatrical distinction between street cries, typically sung or chanted fragments, and vendor songs, typically full songs. One other aim of this paper is to explore possible tune(s) for Conscience's song, the musicality of which may shed light on stage performance of what were originally impromptu street cries.

Citation: Wong, Katrine, ‘A Dramaturgical Study of Conscience’s Broom Song in The Three Ladies of London’, Performance as Research in Early English Theatre Studies: The Three Ladies of London in Context, http://threeladiesoflondon.mcmaster.ca/contexts/KatrineWong.htm.

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