Rough music

Rough music

Rough music is a form of English folklore, and refers to an 18th and 19th century practice in which a humiliating punishment is inflicted upon one or more people who have violated the standards of the rest of the community.

Rough music is noisy, masked demonstrations usually held at the home of the wrongdoer, involving the banging of frying pans, saucepans, kettles, the rattling of bones and cleavers, the ringing of bells, hooting, blowing bull's horns, and utilizing any other kitchen or barn utensil with the intention of creating a cacophonous noise to the discomfort and lingering embarrassment of the subject. During a rough music performance, the victim may be ridden upon a pole or donkey, and his crimes may be the subject of mime, theatrical performances, recitatives, along with a litany of obscenities and insults. The participants were generally young men temporarily bestowed with the power of rule over the everyday affairs of the community.

Issues of sexuality, reproduction and domestic hierarchy most often formed the pretexts for rough music.

Equivalents include the German haberfeld-treiben, Italian scampanate and French charivari. Instances of rough music in the United States were known as shivarees.


External links

  • Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge (1884), chapters 36, 39. ISBN: 0004245350

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