Note to Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7, opening stage direction: "Hoyboys, torches"


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Macbeth,
Act 1, Scene 7.
The oboes and torches set a black mood; it's dark and there's ominous music.

A very persuasive article, Ominous Oboes, on the Finding Shakespeare site argues that the stage direction, "Hoyboys," is one of the first uses of atmospheric music. The author points out that the same stage direction is used three times in the play: here, once in the previous scene, and again just before the witches summon up the apparition which tells Macbeth that the descendants of Banquo will be kings.


Image Source:
Ominous Oboes