“…men of great perfection in their science…”: the trumpeter as musician and diplomat in England in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries

Herbert, T. (2011) “…men of great perfection in their science…”: the trumpeter as musician and diplomat in England in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Historic Brass Society Journal, 23. pp. 1-23. ISSN 1045-4616 (print) 1943-5215 (online)

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Abstract

The role of trumpeters as emissaries in the early modern period has been known for some time. The article explains and illustrates this role by reference to several primary sources that reveal in considerable detail the emissarial and diplomatic duties in which (mainly) English trumpeters were engaged between the late 15th and the early 17th c. A number of key questions are also addressed in the paper: what exactly were the duties that these trumpeters were expected to acquit, and what qualifications made them fit for their purpose? How were the credentials of the trumpeter as diplomat advertised? How broadly understood were the protocols that allowed trumpeters to do this work, and what historical or other precedents were drawn on to allow such protocols to operate at a European level? Perhaps most important is the question of whether these trumpeters really were musicians at all, or merely diplomatic functionaries for whom the trumpet was merely a symbol that afforded rights of passage. The article draws on British state papers and other sources to answer these questions, concluding that the status of the trumpeter as diplomat was partly derived from older protocols of heraldic chivalry and the commonality of Christian ethics. It also offers evidence that far from being mere carriers of the trumpet, these men really were musicians who could be counted among the best of their time.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Trumpet, performers, England, United Kingdom, late fifteenth - sixteenth centuries, politics, diplomacy
Subjects: Musical Instruments
Music History
Music and society
Division: Musicology
Depositing User: Ms Katharine Liley
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 15:42
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2019 15:42
URI: http://researchonline.rcm.ac.uk/id/eprint/598

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