Skip to main content
Select Source:

masque

masque (or mask or maske). An aristocratic ceremonial entertainment in the 17th cent., consisting of a combination of poetry, vocal and instr. mus., dancing, acting, costume, pageantry, and scenic decoration, applied to the representation of allegorical and mythological subjects. It was much cultivated in It., from which country Eng. seems to have learnt it, then carrying it to a very high pitch of artistic elaboration. It developed from the intermedii and from mystery plays. In Elizabethan times, among the authors employed was Ben Jonson, a supreme master of the Eng. masque; he sometimes enjoyed the collab. of Inigo Jones as designer of the decorations and machinery. Among composers of masque mus. were Campion, Coprario, Lanier, and the younger Ferrabosco. From a literary point of view the most famous masque is Milton's Comus (1634); for this the mus. was supplied by Henry Lawes, but the finest masques of this period had music by his brother William. Masques continued under the Puritan régime of the Commonwealth and Protectorate, some being arr., by authority, for entertainment of distinguished foreign visitors. After the Restoration, masque episodes were popular in plays, and music for them was composed by John Blow, Pelham Humfrey, Louis Grabu, and Henry Purcell. A late example is Arne's Alfred (1740), written for perf. in the Prince of Wales's garden: from it comes the song Rule, Britannia!

In the 20th cent. Vaughan Williams described his ballet Job as a ‘masque for dancing’, to indicate that 19th-cent. type of choreog. would not be appropriate. Lambert's Summer's Last Will and Testament is described as a masque.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"masque." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"masque." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque

"masque." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque

masque

masque, courtly form of dramatic spectacle, popular in England in the first half of the 17th cent. The masque developed from the early 16th-century disguising, or mummery, in which disguised guests bearing presents would break into a festival and then join with their hosts in a ceremonial dance. As the form evolved, the important elements retained were the use of the mask and the mingling of actors and spectators. Reaching its height in the early 17th cent., the masque became a magnificent and colorful spectacle, presented in public theaters and, with more splendor, in the royal courts. The actors personified pastoral and mythological figures, with great emphasis placed on music and dance. The foremost writer of the masque was Ben Jonson. However, it was his collaborator Inigo Jones, the theatrical architect, famous for his elaborate costume designs, settings, and scenic effects, who gave the masque its greatest popularity. Some of their more successful masques include The Masque of Blackness (1605) and Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1618).

See A. Nicoll, Stuart Masques and the Renaissance Stage (1937); E. Welsford, The Court Masque (1927, repr. 1962); S. K. Orgel, The Jonsonian Masque (1965); S. Sutherland, Masques in Jacobean Tragedy (1984).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"masque." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"masque." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/masque

"masque." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/masque

masque

masque Dramatic presentation that originated in Italy but became popular in the English court and the great houses of the nobility during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The masque consisted of verse, comedy and, as an essential feature, a dance for a group of masked revellers. The earliest masque text is Proteus and the Adamantine Rock, performed at Gray's Inn in 1594 in honour of Queen Elizabeth I.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"masque." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"masque." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/masque

"masque." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/masque

masque

masque / mask/ • n. 1. a form of amateur dramatic entertainment, popular among the nobility in 16th- and 17th-century England, which consisted of dancing and acting performed by masked players. ∎  a masked ball. 2. variant spelling of mask (sense 1). DERIVATIVES: mas·quer / ˈmaskər/ n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"masque." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"masque." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque-1

"masque." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque-1

masque

masque a form of amateur dramatic entertainment, popular among the nobility in 16th- and 17th-century England, which consisted of dancing and acting performed by masked players, originally in dumbshow and later with metrical dialogue.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"masque." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"masque." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque

"masque." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque

masque

masque masked ball; histrionic entertainment consisting of dancing and dumb show XVI; dramatic composition for an entertainment of this kind XVII. var. of MASK, the F. sp. being now restricted to these senses.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"masque." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"masque." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque-2

"masque." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque-2

masque

masqueBasque, Monégasque •ask, bask, cask, flask, Krasnoyarsk, mask, masque, task •facemask •arabesque, burlesque, Dantesque, desk, grotesque, humoresque, Junoesque, Kafkaesque, Moresque, picaresque, picturesque, plateresque, Pythonesque, Romanesque, sculpturesque, statuesque •bisque, brisk, disc, disk, fisc, frisk, risk, whisk •laserdisc • obelisk • basilisk •odalisque • tamarisk • asterisk •mosque, Tosk •kiosk • Nynorsk • brusque •busk, dusk, husk, musk, rusk, tusk •subfusc • Novosibirsk •mollusc (US mollusk) • damask •Vitebsk •Aleksandrovsk, Sverdlovsk •Khabarovsk • Komsomolsk •Omsk, Tomsk •Gdansk, Murmansk, Saransk •Smolensk •Chelyabinsk, MinskDonetsk, Novokuznetsk •Irkutsk, Yakutsk

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"masque." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"masque." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque-0

"masque." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/masque-0