A&S Journey: Can she excuse my wrongs? Part 2: Lyrics

This is the second of a planned series of 52 weekly posts on my experience researching Arts & Sciences topics, particularly Elizabethan music and culture. Last week began the examination of John Dowland’s “Can she excuse my wrongs?” We will be diving into the musical exploration of the piece next week, leading up to my first public performance of the lute accompaniment in 2016. But first, an examination of the song’s lyrics, which served as a first window into aspects of Elizabethan culture that warranted further study.

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My A&S Journey: John Dowland, Can she excuse my wrongs?, Part 1

Mistress Zsof and I had a heart-to-heart recently, which encouraged me to re-examine my objectives around participation in the SCA, bardic, and this blog. While she had expressed the desire for me to do what many of the artisans in the Arts & Sciences community do, and post about research and learning, that hasn’t really happened as intended. My tendency to keep research and preparations for new pieces under wraps, hoping to delight and surprise (or at least surprise) as a performer, has been at odds with the A&S mission to share the journey of research and discovery.

With Zsof’s approval, I have set myself the challenge to go back through my notes and recollections, and post a new entry around researched work, older or newer, each week for the next year. There will doubtless be some overlap with material that was shared in large bursts after a given performance or competition, but that isn’t what’s important. The objective in A&S is to share the excitement of research, discovery, and preparation, and the delight and beauty of historically sourced work in the SCA, and if that remains hidden, then this blog presents an incomplete picture of what our bards do (or can do). If our colleagues and fellow researchers find performance an uneasy fit within the A&S framework, it is up to us to bridge that gap. This is an attempt to rectify that on the small scale.

The first entry in the series focuses on one of the best-known and best-respected musicians and composers of the English Renaissance, John Dowland, and my first teacher’s attempt to introduce me to performing his work: “Can she excuse my wrongs?”

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