Elizabethan Era Essay, Research Paper
The Sounds of Elizabethan Times
The Elizabethan Era was a time when music and art were growing more and more each day. This time period, also known as the English Renaissance, is still well known for its styles and sound of music. Queen Elizabeth herself was a musician, and played both the lute and the virginal. It was thought that the virginal was named after Elizabeth, the “Virgin Queen. Other instruments were popular during this time period were the spinet and the viol. All of these are stringed instruments. The lute is played by plucking the strings with the fingers. The most popular instrument of these days was the lute, which was used in story telling, as well as for musical purposes. The wooden instrument looks somewhat like a guitar, except the head is bent backwards at a 90 degree angle. There are frets on the lute, as on the guitar, also. Unlike the guitar, though, the lute can have as many as thirteen pairs of strings running the length of the body. This characteristic makes it very difficult to play and almost impossible to keep in tune. The lute fell out of popularity fairly quickly because of these problems with tuning and the requirement of extreme talent. The viol is much different; it is played with a bow made out of string that is played against the strings on the instrument. The spinet is a piano-like instrument in which each key has a string that is hit with a soft mallet when the key is pressed. The popularity of stringed instruments grew tremendously during the Renaissance period because of the amount of expression that is possible when a musician is playing one of these beautiful, relaxing instruments.
The Renaissance era was one of the most productive time periods in history as far as the advancement of music goes. Music became much more expressive, and the sound and quality of the instruments became more refined and more pleasant to listen to. Instruments such as the harpsichord, the spinet, and the lute became more than just accompaniment for singers; they became an outlet for emotions. A modern listener can almost picture what the Renaissance composer or musician was feeling when he or she was writing a piece of music. The music of the Elizabethan era had a large influence on the advancement of all music, which came after it.
Fun for the Elizabethan People
The most popular of Elizabethan entertainment and pastimes included many forms of art like literature and theater, and the people enjoyed participating in many sports.
Elizabethan writers produced all kinds of texts, such as technical works, political works and religious tracts, ballads, almanacs and encyclopedias. People were able to buy a pamphlet for a penny, making the pleasure of reading available to almost everyone. And for the people who could not read story tellers often sat and sang or told amazing stories or read novels to the towns people.
The theatres were built around courtyards, with three story galleries facing the stage. The royalty sat high above the stage on the third and second floor while commoners crowded on the floor around the stage. The most popular playwright of this time was William Shakespeare.
Many sports that the Elizabethan people competed in, were not just games. The Elizabethan people enjoyed sports such as hunting, with hawks and dogs, and equestrian activities, such as jousts. Many of the sports that were played were carried over form the Medieval Period.
Hunting was a favorite recreational activity, especially the rich. Queen Elizabeth herself enjoyed hunting expeditions. The hunt allowed the rich nobles to show off their hawks, fine bread horses, exquisite clothing, and wondrous weapons. Many of the newer fashions were formed during hunting trips. A noble would usually arrive wearing a new outfit and all who saw would then make sure they had one of their own. Modernistic weapons would also appear on these trips, which were then adapted and used, in new hunting techniques.
Hawking, also known as falconry, was another sport of royalty, only because lower classes could not afford to train these birds. The eagle was strictly reserved for the use of the King and Queen.
Jousting was the most popular sport of men. It was a very physical sport that involved running at an opponent with a lance and trying to knock him off his horse. Special armor and elaborate shields protected both men. Jousting was also limited to only the rich, commoners were forbidden from participating and usually watching the tournaments.
Commoners, or the lower classes, participated in archery competitions and games like football and hurling. Football and hurling were very dangerous sports. Unlike today s version of football, there were no rules, many men were hurt during the game and some were even killed. Hurling was more like rugby, it was played with a box ball and the team size was unlimited and from that it was like football, trying to get the ball form your opponents. The other version of hurling is very much like today s hockey. It was played with a wooden stick and a ball, the ball was then hit into the other teams goal.