Playing a bit of blogging catchup today: last August (2019) I received news of the publication of a refereed conference paper on encoding early music that I co-authored with John Stinson as a follow-up to our 2014article published in Early Music (OUP). The original paper was delivered at the 2015 Music Encoding Conference, Florence. In the paper we advanced several further ideas about some of the arbitrary divisions that music encoders make when separating different types of music notation by highlighting some of the intersections between square chant notation and black mensural notation of the 14th century. One of the most memorable aspects of our paper was the discussion of several manuscripts that were completed in the old monastic scriptorium of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the venue of the conference! The paper and conference proceedings are now available online, hosted in the digital repository of the Bavarian State Library. Follow the link on the DOI in the following citation:
John Stinson and Jason Stoessel, “Revising MEI for research on late medieval manuscripts,” in Music Encoding Conference Proceedings 2015, 2016 and 2017, ed. Giuliano Di Bacco, Johannes Kepper, and Perry D. Roland, 15-24. Florence: Music Encoding Initiative, 2019. https://doi.org/10.15463/music-1.
I’m pleased to announce the publication of a new chapter on music iconography. The chapter, entitled “The Harmonious Blacksmith, Lady Music and Minerva: The Iconography of Secular Song in the Late Middle Ages”, has appeared in print in a collection of essays Music, Myth and Story in Medieval and Early Modern Culture, edited by Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler. Published by Boydell & Brewer, the production quality is tremendous and the editors have done a marvellous job of assembling fifteen chapters that explore the myriad mythologies (beyond the well-known Orpheus story) that shaped not only musical thought, but also its styles, techniques, and practices from the ninth to seventeenth centuries in Europe. Five colour plates (of a total of ten) accompany my essay and further increase its impact.
The following is an abstract of my chapter:
A number of fifteenth-century Italian collections of polyphonic song feature at or near their beginning historiated initials showing a bearded figure beating an anvil with two hammers. In his early seminal article, Paul Beichner argues that late medieval literary and artistic sources often confuse the iconography of Jubal, the biblical inventor of music, and his brother Tubalcain, the inventor of smithing and warfare. Part of the fault seems to lie centuries earlier with Peter Comestor who conflated the biblical tradition with the Hellenistic story of Pythagoras’ discovery of music’s proportions. No matter who the blacksmith was for different medieval authors or artists, the underlying iconography is pervasive, symbolizing the musical arts in the vernacular vein. Authors have been quick to accept that the association of this harmonious blacksmith with Lady Music by fourteenth- and fifteenth-century illuminators and painters requires no further explanation. This chapter proposes that the association of Lady Music and the musical blacksmith draws upon the iconography of Minerva, especially in the manuscript tradition of Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris. Two conclusions are reached. First, a fresh understanding of the place of notated songbooks in late medieval musical culture emerges which situates them as objects of musical skill, artistic commerce and learning. Second, recognition of the pervasiveness of the iconography of Minerva provides the basis of a new reading of Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Music (c.1522), which features two canons, one by Josquin and another possibly by Willaert.
Abstract by the author.
Unfortunately it is not possible to provide an open-access PDF of the chapter on this blog. For a limited time, however, Boydell & Brewer are offering customers a 25% discount on the usual price of the book (GBP £60/USD $99).
Order online at www.boydellandbrewer.com. Please be sure to quote reference BB125 when prompted (online this will be at the checkout). This offer ends 10 June 2019.
I’m pleased to report on recent attempt to solve a canon found on the title page of a music anthology, Odae suavissimae (1601/1602?). Philipp Schöndorff (sometimes Schöndorpp) (1558–after 1617) dedicated this collection, including two eponymous odes, to his Liégeois compatriot Jacob Chimarrhaeus (1542–1614). Both men were at that date employed at the Imperial court of Rudolf II, Chimarrhaeus as almoner (previously as a singer and very good viol player) and Schöndorff as a chapel singer and trumpeter. Indeed, the Schöndorff had gained employment at Rudolf’s court following Chimarrhaeus’s recommendation in 1590, and the younger man’s esteem for his older co-worker may have stemmed in part from that gesture.
As so often happens these days, musicologist Erika Supria Honisch reached out to colleagues on social media for help to solve the canon that appears towards the top of the ornately engraved title page, indicated by “CAN 4. VOC”, that is a canon in…
In an earlier post I identified a new concordance for Jean Mouton’s stacked canon En venant de Lyon, which lay basically in plain sight in the choir stalls of Lodi Cathedral. This serendipitous discovery came about from the fact that I have been cataloguing the canonic repertoire from the fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries, and had recalled the melodic profile of Mouton’s canon from other sources when viewing the Lodi panel.
I’m currently writing a chapter on the material representation of canons in early sixteenth-century northern Italian art. The number of canons in art suggests that they played an important role in the musico-visual culture in courts and ecclesiastical institutions of this time. Some better known examples of canons in paintings include the Agnus Dei II of Josquin’s Missa L’homme armé super voces musicales in Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Music and Ockeghem’s Prenez sur moy in one of the intarsia of Isabelle d’Este’s grotta at the Ducal Palace in Mantua.
We are very pleased to announce that the University of New England is offering a targeted PhD in Digital Musicology for a project on Ludovico Zacconi’s collection of canons. This project will run parallel with our ARC Discovery Project “The Art and Science of Canon in the Music of Early 17th-century Rome,” sharing and contributing […]