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Event Information: Music at the Time of Richard III

24th April 2014


Friday 27th September, 2013



The Guildhall, Leicester
Leicester Guildhall, Guildhall Lane, Leicester, LE1 5FQ. 0116 2532569 Disabled access.

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The Wool Merchant and the Harp.
Leah Stuttard - Harp & Voice

The Concert
“You're young, you're rich, you're cosmopolitan. What better way to show off your merits and enjoy yourself than engaging in artistic pursuits like dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument. The teacher's a bit expensive, but that's ok; after all, you're sure to impress the ladies (or the men) with your new found skills and fashionable music.”

George Cely, a late fifteenth century English wool merchant, obviously thought so. He paid for harp lessons in Calais and learnt some gorgeous songs full of yearning and beauty as well as lively dances for the discerning gentry. Having delved into his personal notebooks and read the scrawled jottings about his lessons, Leah Stuttard will bring Cely's musical world to life.

Cely’s notebook provides some rare evidence of what people played on the harp at the end of the 15th century. At this time, solo instrumentalists such as harpists, lutenists or organists would have arranged their own versions of dances or vocal pieces. This is why there are no manuscripts of harp music and not very much specifically and unequivocally for the organ. Lute tablature does not appear until a decade of more after George was having lessons.