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Emily Zazulia
University of California, Berkeley (Pittsburgh, PA 15260-6133)
Concept and Virtuality in 15th-Century Music

The notation of 15th-c. music often prescribes transformations of written material to be realized only in performance—from slowing down a melodic line to turning it backwards or upside-down, or even omitting certain notes or rests. Such elaborate instructions, which appear by turns unnecessary and confounding, challenge traditional conceptions of music writing that understand notation as an incidental consequence of the desire to record sound. My book accounts for how visual priorities complemented musical interests. Beyond the choirbook, I situate these notational practices in a culture of enigmatic writing that saw newfound interest in cryptography, emblems, and hieroglyphs. These examples attest to a widespread fascination with a semiotics of writing that balanced intentional concealment and eventual revelation. In viewing notation as a complex technology that did more than record sound, my project changes the way we think about music's literate traditions in the early Renaissance.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism; Renaissance Studies

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2015 – 12/31/2015