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Long ago four people used to meet every year under a tree on top of Mount Palomar to sing madrigals. In 2003, it suddenly occurred to them that they could meet more frequently outside the context of the San Diego Early Music Society Workshop, and so they arranged to get together "down the mountain". They were joined by two more friends, and Courtly Noyse was born. This lively mix of personalities soon developed the blend of humor, imagination and versatility in the performance of Renaissance music that has become their trademark.
You might say that some members of Courtly Noyse are instrumentalists who sing, and others are singers who play instruments. Our goal is to be true "Renaissance men" - in other words, to derive pleasure from engaging in a wide variety of musical activities without necessarily being technically superlative in every area. Just like our forebears in the sixteenth century, we enjoy whiling away an evening or a Sunday afternoon with music, storytelling and jokes - and our hope is that our audience will derive as much pleasure from our collaboration as we do.
At the time of writing, Courtly Noyse plays recorders, viola da gamba, vielle, krummhorns, cornamuse, cornetti, shawms, sacbuts, Renaissance guitar, chalumeau, hurdy gurdy, bowed psaltery, mandolin, gemshorns, rackett, and various percussion instruments (although this list is constantly growing!). We can also cast our instruments aside at the drop of a (Tudor) hat, and burst into five-part vocal harmony.
For more information on some of the instruments we play, please click here: