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Music to accompany banquets

Julia Berger
Music - Theatre - Dance
Music and Well-being
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This music had an important function, it was part of the banqueting culture and distinguished festive periods from normality by making them stand out as important events in the passage of time, as regular milestones.
It was performed “ad gaudium” so as to delight and elate the ear or to respect a convention, and in this case, at court, it was the Steward who had to see the convention was duly respected.
During the banquet music was indispensable. The musicians were essential organizers and animators of festive occasions; it was their duty to impose absolute respect of court ceremonial.

The music performed during the banquet was not always attentively listened to in silence. Often every kind of noise could be heard from dogs barking, to falcons screaming, orders given to servants and the diners’ conversations. Music was considered a useful part of the occasion but not an end in itself, rather as an art with an exclusively aesthetic function in the context. There could be singers who sang madrigals or popular songs, unaccompanied or with an instrumental accompaniment. The ‘ensembles’ were usually made up of soloists and on particular occasions several performers, who, as old documents and chronicles witness, were backed up by various combinations of instruments: flutes, pipes,horns, trumpets, trombones, lutes, harps, cymbals, drums and kettle drums.

The custom of having dancers at grand banquets was very firmly established, and dances related to the story being narrated ended up in dancing games, acrobatics and juggling in front of all the guests.
There was a thread that held singing, music and dance, scenes and food together: the actor, a highly skilled figure among the performers best loved by the public formed of guests at court.
With the help of his companions he used acting to great effect besides mime pure and simple and enlivened the banquet with satirical and humorous quips.

The food >