The great ceremonies of the Middle Ages and Renaissance have an uncomfortable position in music history. Contemporary descriptions of such events have survived from all over Europe through the centuries, and they are often full of vivid and quotable detail. For all its rich abundance, however, the documentation surrounding these large ceremonies has proved in a number of ways difficult to interpret. First, it is usually impossible to connect the official ceremonial accounts securely to specific, known pieces of music. Second, it is the nature of secular documents to omit as beneath their purview many of the musical details that we today regard as indispensable – the chroniclers were always maddeningly more interested in the musicians' clothing than in, say, their instrumentation. Third, and perhaps most important as we strive towards a balanced, street-level view of music in medieval and Renaissance life, the ceremonies that got the biggest descriptions tended to be the most extraordinary events of their day, unique by definition and held for the most rarefied and least representative audiences. The people who attended the Feast of the Pheasant or the meetings of the Order of the Golden Fleece were no cross-section of their society, and it is hard to know exactly how much of what we learn about their music can be applied to anything we might call real life.