Making music in the North-east: waits and minstrels around the region (Public talk, 28th April)


An illustrated manuscript of medieval music

Opening of the O Maria salvatoris mater, by John Browne, in the Eton Choirbook (c. 1490), via Wikimedia Commons.

Today the North East is home to one of the most vibrant music scenes in the UK, and it was the same in the medieval period too. Across the region minstrels and musicians entertained in courts, while town bands played in the streets. Conjure up the sounds of medieval life in this free talk with Dr Diana Wyatt on Thursday 28th April at 14.00, in Durham Cathedral, Chapel of the Nine Altars.

Records from all parts of the North-East testify to a vibrant and varied musical culture from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries. From bands of town waits playing to welcome royal visitors, to musicians on the staff of great houses, to minstrels touring the country looking for (and often finding) lucrative opportunities to entertain the public, the evidence lets us ‘hear’ music everywhere. This talk highlights some intriguing examples from the region.

This talk is attached to the exhibition Plays, Processions, and Parchment: Discovering Festive Traditions in the North East, which runs from 19th April to 22nd May in Durham Cathedral, Chapel of the Nine Altars.

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