The Music of Dawn

Style summary

Arthurian high medieval, chivalric, courtly, 'high' culture, battle anthems, tales of love, glory, and tragedy.

Dawn draws on the more formal folk and classical traditions of Shakespearean/Elizabethan period, for example madrigals, as well as fantastical folk tales from the English or Irish tradition.

Commonly known songs

A musical tradition

All sensible knights understand that for their glory to continue after death, you rely on the skill and conviction of minstrels and storytellers. What better way to earn glory and reputation than to let them see your deeds for themselves? Therefore it is not uncommon for questing knights to invite along the best minstrel they can find to accompany them on a quest - it goes without saying that the safety of the minstrel is paramount. The best singers and storytellers have a song or tale ready for the victory feast the same evening, and direct retellings of glorious battles and the valour of Dawnish knights in either victory or death are always enthusiastically received!

One for the kids

Five Little Ploughboys

Funeral Songs

Dirge for Fidele

Further examples


Instrumentation and tunes

  • Anything vaguely courtly using recorders, plucked strings, single drums, harps, autoharp, or similar.
  • Elizabethan recorder music - very appropriate for Dawn, especially if played on recorders or harp with a single drum.

Other performance traditions

  • Courtly dances.

How to adapt your repertoire

  • Sing in a formal rather than bawdy style. Up the properness and pathos of your words. Strum your guitar like a lute. Roll your rrrrs!

Our sources

Thomas Morley, Kate Rusby, Bill Jones, Glasgow Madrigirls, the other Madrigirls who actually sing more madrigals,

Here is a youtube playlist to get you in the mood!