Introduction of the viol into sixteenth-century France: perspectives on the cultural integration of musical instruments
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This dissertation investigates the introduction and development of a musical instrument, the viola da gamba (viol), in sixteenth-century France by articulating the wider cultural consequences of introducing new musical instruments from one culture to another. The research examines cultural exchange with foreign courts, the effects of patronage, social perceptions and changing attitudes during the introduction of the viol into France. Using the viol as a focal point to explore Renaissance material culture, this thesis is an interdisciplinary study into music, art, language and terminology, foreign connections and cultural interaction. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of the viol’s introduction, development and establishment into sixteenth-century France. Rare archival sources, visual media and printed books never before connected to the viol have been identified and analysed to construct a detailed framework of the social, artistic and musical culture within which the viol was used. The five chapters explore professional viol use in the royal court and regional areas, artistic representations of the viol, triumphal entries and festivals, the changing role of viol players from professional to amateur and the viol in sixteenth-century instrument making. The appendices include a catalogue of images depicting the viol in French visual media, identifying allegorical and religious associations, making foreign connections, exploring methods of artistic creation and analysing physical depictions.