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broken “music,” AS YOU LIKE IT, i. 2. 125; HENRY V., v. 2. 241; TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, iii. 1. 47. “‘Broken music’ means what we now term ‘a string band.’ Shakespeare plays with the term twice [thrice]: firstly in Troilus and Cressida, act iii. sc. 1, proving that the musicians then on the stage were performing on stringed instruments; and secondly in Henry V., act v. sc. 2, where he says to the French Princess Katherine, ‘Come, your answer in broken music; for thy voice is music and thy English broken.’ [Again in As You Like It, act i. sc. 2: ‘But is there any else longs to feel this broken music in his sides?’] The term originated probably from harps, lutes, and such other stringed instruments as were played without a bow, not having the capability to sustain a long note to its full duration of time.” Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time, etc., vol. i. p. 246, sec. ed.

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  • Cross-references in text-specific dictionaries from this page (2):
    • William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 1.2
    • William Shakespeare, Henry V, 5.2
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