In 1631, the English clergyman William Slatyer published Psalmes, or Songs of Sion, a collection of 45 new psalm paraphrases in verse. That he specified popular tunes for singing them, however, was regarded as “scandalous,” and the reaction was swift and decisive. Prelates of the Church of England immediately ordered Slatyer’s imprisonment, summoned him before the High Commission to repudiate his collection, apologize, and promise never to do it again, and they ordered his book to be burned.
Join Ross W. Duffin, Distinguished University Professor and the Fynette H. Kulas Professor of Music Emeritus at Case Western Reserve University, for a discussion about Slatyer during the Colloquium Music Series from 4 to 5 p.m. Sept. 8 at Harkness Chapel. Having led the Historical Performance Practice program at the university from 1978 to 2018, Duffin now divides his time between Pasadena, California, and Washington, D.C.
A winner of the Thomas Binkley and Howard Mayer Brown Awards from Early Music America, and the Noah Greenberg and Claude V. Palisca Awards from the American Musicological Society, his scholarship on early modern English songs is best known from his Shakespeare’s Songbook (W.W. Norton, 2004) and Some Other Note: The Lost Songs of English Renaissance Comedy (OUP, 2018).
He has also published widely in historical performance practice, including on musical iconography, historical pronunciation, theory, notation, improvisation, and tuning—the latter most notably with his monograph How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and why you should care) (W.W. Norton, 2007).