Phase Two

The next stage of the project will focus on the ayres associated with Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare’s career coincided with the lute song collection boom in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and exemplifies the vitality of poetic-musical networks in the period. As such, Shakespeare’s ayres provide a fitting chronological bookend to Lawes’s. Ayres frequently surface on the Shakespearean stage—including in the songs of “Ariel,” whose name puns on “ayre” as well as song’s capricious airy medium. Only some of the musical settings of these songs are extant, while others exist in multiple versions. As such, they help to open up important questions about musical circulation while also foregrounding the theatrical stage as a vital site for embodied performance. In animating these songs from both textual and practice-based perspectives, the Early Modern Songscapes project aims to address a clear need for an open-access online teaching resource that can help facilitate the exploration of Shakespearean song in the classroom.