The Shakespeare Band

Shakespeare's Songs and Music


Imagine the music of Shakespeare's time played on instruments his audience was familiar with! Shakespeare often used bits and pieces of songs in his plays and we have done the research necessary to discover the original songs and bring them to life in an acoustically and textually authentic context. Our full-time professional musicians have years of experience in historic music performance. Most are graduates of the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music or teachers at that Conservatory. Our players have both national and international résumés.

Shakespeare alludes to or includes the text of well over one hundred songs in his works. In fact, It was customary in Tudor and Stuart drama to feature at least one song in every play. Music was an integral part of Elizabethan life, and London publishers were constantly producing madrigals, broadside ballads, and consort pieces. The Noyse Merchants is ready to perform authentic period pieces on authentic instruments, re-creating the music as Shakespeare's audience would have heard it.

Shakespeare attributed to the lute and viol the power to transport the listener into a state of ecstasy. Throughout the Renaissance the lute, viol, recorder, flute, and guitar's ravishing tones made them the most esteemed and admired of all musical instruments. The Noyse Merchants performs on historically accurate reproductions of these instruments, right down to animal gut strings! In addition to published sources, we have a vast collection of handwritten facsimile editions from Shakespeare's time to draw from.

Shakespeare musicians;
Shakespeare band Shakespeare's quill
We are located in Cincinnati Ohio and are available to travel to your location. Email us at for details.

Our instruments in any given performance may include the Renaissance lute, Renaissance guitar, wooden flute, hurdy gurdy, recorder, viola da mano, tenor vielle (an early Renaissance precursor to the Baroque viola da gamba), and percussion. For more information see The Shakespeare Band


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