Minstrels Gallery are a group of musicians specialising in medieval and renaissance music.
They perform in both contemporary and authentic period costume and play between us over 40 different early instruments.
The music they play dates from the end the 11th century to the beginning of the 17th Century - that is approximately from the crusades to the time of Oliver Cromwell.
This broad sweep of history produced some fascinating and often beautiful music. The age of chivalry, of castles and knights in armour conjures up a romantic picture, which is often born out in the music. There are plenty of songs and ballads on the subject of courtly love and plenty of very rhythmic, lively dance tunes.
As we move through the centuries and arrive at the Tudor period music become a lot more diverse. New instruments are being invented like the crumhorn and curtal. We now get bands of musicians called Waits playing consorts or groups of instruments.
When Elizabeth 1st became Queen we start to hear madrigals and lute songs along with stately pavanes and lively galliards, both very popular dances at the time.
By the time of Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans, music, song and dance are at best considered rather disreputable. Even so, it is around this time that we get the Playford collection of dance tunes along with a new type of singing style in the form of a Catch
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