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FA-57722-14

Karen Desmond
University College Cork (Cork 02453-2700 United Kingdom)

The Meaning and Importance of Novelty in 14th-Century European Music

The literary theorist Terry Eagleton once observed: “All periods are modern, but not all of them live their experience in this mode.” Musicians and composers of the early fourteenth century did appear to live their experience in this way: their contemporaries labeled them as “the moderns” (“moderni”) and their compositional art as “new” (Ars nova) in opposition to that of the thirteenth century, which they called “old” (Ars vetus). I seek an NEH fellowship to write my book ‘Novarum rerum cupidus’: The Meaning of Novelty in Early Fourteenth-Century Music, which will explore novelty as a concept in music and other intellectual endeavours in Europe during the later Middle Ages, and identify the moments when fourteenth-century musicians sought out novelty, why they might have done so, and how their music was judged when they did.

Project fields:
History of Science; Medieval Studies; Music History and Criticism

Program:
Fellowships for University Teachers

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2014 – 12/31/2014