French-American Bridge for Medieval Musical Iconography

November 26, 2017
by slb184

Announcing the Participants for 2017-18

We are delighted to announce the newly selected participants in FAB-Musiconis for this year’s working sessions in Paris (2-15 January 2018) and New York (13-27 April 2018).

Columbia Graduate Student Participants for 2017-18

Eamonn Bell is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Music Theory, writing a dissertation on the influence of the computer on music research since the 1960s, as digital computers became widely adopted by universities worldwide. He has worked on digital humanities projects involving medieval sources, including transcriptions of a corpus of troubadour and trouvère melodies; applying natural language processing techniques to discover instances of text reuse in Latin-language music theory treatises; and using the Python programming language to show how supervised machine learning can be used to automatically extract handwritten annotations from scanned images of musical scores.

Claire Dillon is a first-year PhD student in Art History and Archeology. Her research, under Avinoam Shalem, focuses on the exchange of art objects across the medieval Mediterranean, and the cultural intersections represented by these visual materials. She has an MPhil in Medieval Language, Literature, and Culture from Trinity College Dublin and graduated from Northwestern University in 2014 with a BA in Art History and Italian. She has transcribed Old English homilies for online publication, created digital photography exhibitions and curricula guides, and assisted with photogrammetry initiatives.

Mike Ford is a second-year Historical Musicology PhD student, studying the interaction among humans and computers during the creative process. He has an MA in Musicology from Rutgers University, with a thesis on the digitally-enabled borrowing of Renaissance material in two contemporary compositions; and a BMus in Performing Arts (Orchestral Conducting) from the University of Pretoria. His current research includes work on multi-instrumental improvisation as well as the improvisatory creation of digital instruments.

John Glasenapp is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Historical Musicology, writing his dissertation on the Beaupré antiphonary  in the Walters Art Gallery under Susan Boynton with a focus on Cistercian chant, liturgy, identity, as well as women’s spirituality. He has degrees in music from DePaul University, in Philosophical Studies from Saint Meinrad School of Theology, and in Medieval Studies from Fordham University. He contributed the digital index of Columbia, RBML Plimpton MS 041 to the Cantus Index (a collaborative database) .

Russell O’Rourke is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Historical Musicology. He is working on a dissertation under the supervision of Giuseppe Gerbino on theories of representation and expression in late sixteenth-century Italian music, literature, and the visual arts. He taught Music Humanities in the Columbia Core Curriculum for two years, for which he received a Preceptor Teaching Award in 2017. Under the supervision of Susan Boynton, he has worked on multiple digital humanities projects, including a digitally encoded corpus of all the extant troubadour songs and a web exhibit about a chant manuscript held at Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. In his spare time, Russell plays viola with the Columbia University Orchestra and sings early music from its original notation with friends.

Mark Saccomano is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Music Theory, writing his dissertation on the musical structures that affect our sense of space. He has degrees from University of California, Berkeley (BA in Linguistics, magna cum laude), University of California, Los Angeles (MA in Applied Linguistics), and California State University (BA in Music). He has held an internship at the Columbia Digital Humanities Center, taken workshops at Columbia’s Center for Spatial Research on GIS software, worked with MySql to design a structure for archival information, and developed exhibits with Omeka and other visualization tools.

Tori Schmitt is a second-year MA student in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. She holds a BA in Art History with a Minor in Digital Humanities from the University of California, Los Angeles, with an undergraduate thesis on “3D Modeling as Gothic Reconstruction: An Investigation into the Parisian Church of the Jacobins.” She was an Undergraduate Research Assistant and 3D Modeler for the UCLA project Paris: Past and Present. She also worked on the UCLA Digital Humanities Capstone: Getty Provenance Metadata. At Columbia she is a graduate research assistant for Professor Stephen Murray’s Art Humanities website “Life of a Cathedral: Notre-Dame of Amiens.” In addition to participating in the 2016-17 session of the FAB Musiconis project, she also was also the primary project lead for the digital resources and website for an exhibition of the prints of Robert Nanteuil.

Mariana-Cecilia Velázquez is a seventh-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature from the Universidad de Puerto Rico and an MA in Latin American and Iberian Cultures from Columbia University. Her interests include Iberian, Caribbean, and Mediterranean cultural production, travel narratives, chronicles, and piracy from fifteenth to seventeenth centuries and she is writing a dissertation entitled “Travelers, Traders, and Traitors: Writing and Mapping Piracy in England, Spain, and the Caribbean (1570-1620).” She participated in the 2016-17 session of the FAB Musiconis project. Her participation in this year’s session has been made possible in part by FORMINNOV, which is funding her translation of database terms into Spanish.

Sorbonne-Affiliated Graduate Student Participants for 2017-18

Oumayma Aoun is a master’s student in Music and Musicology at the Higher Institute of Music in Tunis, where she also obtained her bachelor’s degree. She has held an internship at the Center for Arabic and Mediterranean Music, where she digitized the archives of Baron d’Erlanger. Her participation in FAB-Musiconis has been made possible through FORMINNOV.

Miguel Baptista is a first-year MA student in Musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University. He is a harpsichordist (Conservatory of Nancy) and composer (for few short films) and he is an independent music medieval manuscripts expert for collectors and auction houses. His current research project indexes and analyzes his personal collection of manuscripts from the ninth to sixteenth centuries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Musicology from the University of Lorraine.

Raffaella Bortolini is a second-year PhD student in musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University. She has a Master of Arts in medieval music performance (shawm) from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and a Master of Music in historically informed performance (with a specialization in Baroque oboe) from the Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg im Breisgau. Bortolini co-founded Ensemble Seraphim, which specializes in medieval instrumental music. She participated in the 2016-17 session of the FAB Musiconis project.

Valérie Nunes – Le Page is a second-year MA student in musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University specializing in the performance practice of medieval music in the professional studies program. She is a certified teacher in a conservatory, a singer, and a choirmaster. Her research focuses on rhythmic changes in the French treatises of the late 13th century and the early 14th century. She participated in the 2016-17 session of the FAB Musiconis project.

Florentin Morel is a second-year MA student in musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University. His research focuses on the marimba in Europe in the twentieth century. He holds a Bachelor in Music and Musicology from Paris-Sorbonne University. His interests include music history and world music, particularly that of Latin America. He is also involved in the indexing work of the Musiconis database. Morel is a percussionist and composer who has collaborated with several choreographers. including a dancer and choreographer from the Paris Opera. He participated in the 2016-17 session of the FAB Musiconis project.

Aline Poirier teaches flute and Baroque flute at the Regional Conservatory in Rouen and the Departmental Conservatoire in Dieppe. She holds qualifications from the University of Rouen in Musicology, English, and Economics, as well as various teaching diplomas. Her interests include the connections between Medieval and Asian flute practices, as well as their circulation across the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages.

Georgios Theocharous read music in London, the United States and Germany, graduating with a BMus from City University, London; an MMus in Historical Musicology from Goldsmiths College, University of London; a DMA in Theory/Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Meisterklasse in Composition from the Hoschchule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Leipzig. His publications have appeared in Perspectives of New Music, Musik und Aesthetik and Lexikon des Orchesters. As of October 2017 he is pursuing a second doctorate at the Sorbonne under the tutelage of Professor Frédéric Billiet, focusing on Byzantine influences on the Torino Codex J.II.9.

Ershad Vaeztehrani is a second-year MA student in the UFR of Music and Musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University. He has a BA in Music Performance (Double Bass) from the Music Faculty of The Art University of Tehran. He is also studying the Historical Bass at the Conservatoire de Paris. Also a percussionist (Persian, Medieval and Baroque Percussions), he has collaborated with different ancient music ensembles and musicians such as Abya Yala, Les Voix Errantes, Seraphim ensemble, Robin Troman, Sebastien Marcq and Jean-Jacques Hérbin. He participated in the 2016-17 session of the FAB Musiconis project.

Edmundo Camacho is a Professor at the School of Music (Facultad de Música), as well as the School of Philosophy and Literature (Facultad de Filosofía y Letras) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He holds a Master in Music Performance and bachelor’s degrees in Music and Communication Sciences from the UNAM. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis on the Harp in New Spain. Since 2015, he has been the associate editor of the Cuadernos de Iconografía Musical and since 2010, he has participated in research projects on musical iconography in New Spain.  At present, he is participating in the Musical Iconography Workshop at the UNAM. His participation in FAB-Musiconis has been made possible through FORMINNOV.

January 28, 2017
by slb184

Space, Sight, and Sound in the Renaissance Palace

by Sadegh Ansari

On 4 January 2017 at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art, in the seminar Lieux et espaces en musique: la Renaissance italienne (part of the series L’iconographie musicale et l’art occidental), Tim Shephard (University of Sheffield) gave a talk titled “Space, Sight, and Sound in the Renaissance Palace,” following the talk by Laura Moretti on the place of music in the palaces and villas of the Italian Renaissance.

The focus of Shephard’s talk was a series of representations of music that did not necessarily correspond to music performance. They rather demonstrated supra-musical functions of musical imagery in Renaissance Italy. These images were widely disseminated and usually portable, printed in eclogues, pamphlets, books, etc. They connect specific aspects of the musical culture of the time to give a particular reading of music making as an activity.

The first set of images depict pastoral scenes with shepherds as their protagonists in eclogues. The images can be essentially grouped in two categories of “good” and “bad” space. Music is always present in the good space and brings about the happiness and joy there, while it is absent in the bad space and replaced with silence.

The second set of images represent the story of the judgement of Midas. In this story, Midas, a king in ancient Greece with a reputation for having poor judgement questions the superiority of Apollo in playing music by judging Pan’s music to be better than that of Apollo. This story shows the extent of Midas’ poor judgement. In the illustration chosen by Shephard, Midas is represented as unmanly, effeminate, inelegant, and obviously with poor musical judgement. But Shephard argues that the poor judgement does not just stop at music. Midas has poor moral judgment as well, which is why he is depicted as unmanly. This, Shephard argues, links music with moral judgement: if a person has a poor judgement in music they will have poor moral judgement too.

In the next image, an episode in the story of Orpheus is depicted. The episode is about Orpheus’ sadness after he loses Eurydice for the second time. The depiction shows him playing music so passionately that even beasts and trees are moved by it. The illustration was a part of a printed edition of Ovid’s stories translated in vernacular, printed around late 15th century. At that time Orpheus was not understood to be just a musician, but also a poet and orator. In fact, his musicianship was an accompaniment to his oratory abilities that enabled him to control beasts and trees which here represent uncontrollable stubborn men rather than actual beasts and trees. Orpheus is an ancient civic leader who uses powerful rhetoric to tame wild and stubborn men. Music and poetry nourish oratory skills that are necessary for being an effective leader. This is to emphasize the importance of poetry and musical education as opposed to swordsmanship and other purely physical activities.

The last image is an illustration of Mount Parnassus. The image was printed on porcelain plates used on dinner tables. It depicts Apollo playing the lyre as the organizer of the harmony of the spheres and the universe by extension. This depiction of Apollo very clearly puts him in line with Pythagorean music theory. But, in Renaissance Italy, Apollo was associated with the personification of poetry rather than music. Once again, music is seen as an accompaniment to poetry. especially since the instrument used by Apollo, Lyra, was very similar in name to the instrument that was used in 15th century Italian poetry recitation as an accompaniment instrument: Lira da Braccio. This instrument in return was linked to Pythagorean music theory by Johannes Tinctoris. Through Lyra, Apollo linked the Pythagorean mathematical quadrivium to poetic grammatical trivium, tying poetry to music. In fact in Renaissance Italian cosmology it was poetry and not music that could give you access to the secrets of the universe. This image shows the close connection that music and poetry had to one another, depicting personification of poetry as a lady holding a lyre sitting on top of Mount Parnassus. The essential idea behind Shephard’s argument is that music and poetry in renaissance Italy were the same or at least could be understood as the same.

The images studied here connect specific aspects of the musical culture of the time to give a particular reading of music making as an activity. These activities could be the production of a happy space as in the case of the pastoral eclogues, the instillment of good moral judgement through good musical education, the promotion of oratory skills, or the refusal to make a distinction between music and poetry. These images can produce these meanings as a kind of space for performance of musical activities of all kinds in any location.

January 28, 2017
by slb184

Medieval Musical Iconography Research and Indexing

by Valérie Nunes-Le Page

How is music, in all its dimensions, represented and understood according to various notions and views? Musiconis is a database for musical iconography. However, it is still a work in progress. For the FAB-Musiconis project, we had to index 200 images that included paintings, sculptures, books, and manuscripts pertaining to the Medieval Ages. In order to achieve this goal, we had to address the following main questions. First, what is a musical scene? what kind of sound can we find in the images? and how can we imagine to index such images? One of the main objectives of the Musiconis project is to define more precisely all the signs that the artists wanted to include in their works to deliver a message to the public. To do so requires background knowledge in medieval history, art history, and religion. One should also be familiar with ancient cultures, as the images contain Latin mythological and classical references.

During Sébastien Biay’s seminar at the Columbia Global Center on January 3, 2017, we learned that there are several types of sounds that are non-musical, natural sounds (birds) or shouts, calls, war sounds, and musical ones, with or without instruments. The instruments can be real or broken (implying parody). Furthermore, the instruments can be non-played and in such cases, they simply represent music. Regarding the sonic actions of the images, the musical functions must be described using a large array of categories and words, because there are many kinds of actions in the pictures. For instance, sometimes one could find only accompaniment of a performance or a scene. We can also see unreal scenes, like a man dancing with a lion or a strange flute inserted in his nose which can designate disorder.

The intention of the sound is important. It can be accompaniment to a performance or combat, entertainment, and glorification. The effects of the music can be agitation, seduction, disorder, soothing, or engendering a letter. Images frequently refer to music theory and the idea of musical perfection. Music is performed in the presence of God. We can interpret representations of David playing or with a tuning key as precision, or the notion of consonance, which often means harmony. The depictions of music on a book indicate measure, modality, and they are often linked with numbers and mathematical laws (Pythagoras). We used all these categories in the process of indexation.

The signs of sound can be a graphic representation of breath, or notations and texts included in the pictures. The classification of instruments involves two kinds of indexation terms: the Isidorean tri-partition, and organological categories (chordophones, aerophones, and percussions). It may seem very simple, but we had to employ these classifications only if there was a clear visual depiction.. Low and high instruments are two families with strong symbolic functions: softer or noisy instruments. The organ is in the same family as stringed instruments. The source of musical inspiration is frequently the Holy Ghost or Virgin Mary. The referential context of the sound can be classified as angelic context (music played by angels) or liturgical music (a cleric singing). The prophets are often the link between the Old and New testament. They represent perfect, celestial music. Rural or urban soundscapes, aristocratic music, and courtly music, connected with seduction in courtly manner (not erotic music) are other referential contexts.

The music of the Law (the Ten Commandments) is often represented by David at the beginning of the first psalm. King David signifies intellectual music in contradistinction to liturgical music. Carnal music, music of the flesh, can be depicted by the devil holding a rote or by mythological characters and scenes which submit the spirit to the flesh. Church music is not music performed in a church, but music which represents the church. For example, an organ can represent the church. Parodic music is a particular situation with instruments that have been “hijacked” (removed from their context) or animals with an instrument that they could never actually play.






January 27, 2017
by slb184

Digital humanities projects at IReMus: the EUTERPE Project

by Ershad Vaeztehrani

This seminar at the IReMus (Institut de recherche en Musicologie) on January 4 was organized by Fabien Guilloux, who is working on the Euterpe Project.

He started with a presentation of the IReMus and its history. IReMus was born in 2014 from three other musicology institutes: OMF (Observatoire Musical Français) and PLM (Patrimoine et Langage Musicale), which were two societies of musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University and the IRPMF (Institut de recherche sur le patrimoine musical en France). IreMus is a mixed research unit based on cooperation between different organisations such as: Paris-Sorbonne University, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the National Library of France (BnF) and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. This institute has 64 permanent members alongside 50 associate members and 120 PhD students who work on different projects of the institute. IreMus has five principal research axes:

  1. Editing, Restoring and Enhancing Musical Heritage
    • Musical publishing reviews
    • Corpus and Collections
    • Performance, Musical Practice, and Recordings
  2. Writings about Music
    • Writings and letters of musicians
    • Press, journals and musical critics
    • Historiography and epistemology
  3. Music analysis
    • Analytical tools and methods
    • Analytical practice
    • Theory and History of musical theories
    • Notation
  4. Studying Historical, Cultural and Social Concepts
    • Musicians
    • Music Genre, repertoire and stylistic currents
    • Social and Institutional frameworks
    • Music and Religion
  5. Representation and Reception of the Music
    • Visual representation, Iconography and Organology
    • Pedagogy, Didactic, Cognition
    • Aesthetics and links with other Arts

Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco, Saint Cecilia and an Angel, Italian, 1582 – 1647, c. 1617/1618 and c. 1621/1627, oil on canvas, Samuel H. Kress Collection









The Euterpe Project started in 1996 and currently its database encompasses 13000 images from 16th century to 1900. Right now it is being directed by Florence Gétreau (Director Emeritus of research at CNRS) and Fabien Guilloux (Ingenieur de recherche at CNRS). It is one of many other database projects supported by the IReMus such as Musiconis (Database for Medieval Images representing Music), TGM (database dedicated to writings about music theory from 1490 to 1650 in the Germanic sphere), and Borée (Database about Rameau, music writings, books and articles about him).

As Fabien Gouilloux mentioned, the history of humanities research projects on Musical Iconography in postwar France goes back to 1967 when the Laboratory of Organology and Musical Iconography (Laboratoire d’organologie et d’iconographie musicale) was founded by Geneviève Thibaut. In this laboratory researchers (most of them art historians) were using index cards to collect images to construct their database. The reason for the importance of such a laboratory is that the Euterpe and similar projects are working in the same research field of musical iconography. These projects aim to create a Database of images in which one can find different kinds of visual artworks that represent Music orrelated subjects from various historical periods. Obviously in the digital age, methods and equipment are different, but the old index cards have been digitalized for use in Euterpe. There are two different kinds of access for the site (free and private access) as there is always the problem of copyright for some images that are from private collections and museums. As the project is being sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of France, users of the site have free access to collections of different public museums in France such as the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. The principles of indexation in Euterpe follow the Ridim (Repertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale) guidelines. Four aspects of musical iconography are described in Euterpe: 1. Musical Instruments (on a Hornbostel-Sachs system which is adapted by the MIMO Project) 2. Musical Iconography themes 3. Music Notation 4. Musical Gesture. There are some future projects for this database, including increasing it with collections (such as the inner and outer decorations of Versaillese), Music Notation (NEUMA project), adding musical gestures of Harp and Bag-Pipe and integration into the Ridim database.

January 25, 2017
by slb184

Seminar on musical notation

Séminaire sur « La notation musicale », de Professeur Nicolas MEEUS
Jeudi 5 janvier 2017, Université Paris-Sorbonne
Post: Florentin MOREL

Ayant eu lieu à l’Université Paris-Sorbonne (Centre Clignancourt) le 5 janvier 2017, le séminaire sur la notation musicale fut organisé par le professeur Nicolas Meeus. Rendez-vous de quatre heures en présence de nombreux musicologues, ce séminaire fut associé exceptionnellement aux séminaires des professeurs Frédéric Billiet et Katarina Livljanic. Cette séance s’est articulée en quatre grandes parties traitant chacune d’une facette historique de la notation musicale : tout d’abord, la notation musicale dans le monde de la Grèce antique, puis la notation musicale au Moyen-Age et à la Renaissance. Pour terminer, il y eut une présentation de la notation moderne du Plain-Chant.

I. La notation dans le monde antique

Dans un premier temps, nous avons assisté à la présentation des recherches de la chercheuse française Denise Jourdan-Hemmerdinger sur les notations d’un fragment de manuscrit grec. Nous pouvons remarquer la présence de notation à points, notée entre les lignes de texte. Nous pouvons également mettre en évidence des signes prosodiques d’accentuation. Grâce à cela, nous pouvons en déduire qu’il y avait une définition rythmique et nous pouvons également faire l’hypothèse d’une pratique musicale.
Durant l’examen de ce fragment de manuscrit, Denise Jourdan-Hemmerdinger s’est rendue compte de la présence de trous de vers s’apparentant à la notation musicale. Il fallut donc déterminer ce qui était de la notation musicale et ce qui relevait de l’usure du manuscrit.
Nous pouvons observer ici une transcription de la notation à points du papyrus Lefort, nous montrant de façon précise les différentes positions des points. Nous pouvons supposer que la position du point définirait la hauteur de la note. Durant cette présentation, Denise Jourdan-Hemmerdinger exposera le fait que la notation étudiée fonctionne par formule, par enchainements déterminés. Grâce au papyrus Lefort, des chercheurs ont pu déterminer 324 types de formules qu’il faut ensuite mettre en relation.
Une discussion s’est ensuite mise en place autour de la détermination de ces différentes formules, sur l’interprétation de cette notation à point et sur l’évaluation de sa précision quant à la détermination de la hauteur de la note chantée et de la détermination du rythme.

II. La notation dans le monde médiéval

Deuxième temps de ce séminaire, la présentation de la notation musicale au Moyen Age fut assurée par la professeure Katarina Livljanic (Université Paris-Sorbonne). Cet exposé s’articula en deux temps : le premier étant une présentation de la notation neumatique et le second étant l’exposition des travaux de recherches de deux étudiants.
Toute la présentation de K. Livljanic s’articula autour de la question suivante : Qu’est-ce que la notation apporte au chanteur ?
Au Xe siècle, nous pouvons remarquer, au fil des exemples donnés tels que le Viderunt Omnes du Graduel de Noël (Manuscrit de Saint Gall), que la notation musicale n’apporte pas toutes les informations nécessaires à l’interprétation vocale. Nous pouvons avoir à faire à une grande diversité d’interprétations de la même oeuvre, en particulier du point de vue de l’interprétation rythmique de la partition. Il faut encore un nombre important de clés d’interprétation afin de lire ses oeuvres. A cette époque, nous sommes encore dans la tradition de la transmission orale.

Le manuscrit Ms. 159 de Montpellier, datant du XIe siècle, est l’une des premières sources connues actuellement constituées d’une notation neumatique et d’une notation alphabétique principalement destinée à l’enseignement du chant.
Suite à cela, l’utilisation d’une ligne invisible fera son apparition afin de noter plus précisément la position des notes et de définir des intervalles. C’est le passage de la notation adiastématique (absence d’indication des hauteurs) à la notation diastématique (présence d’indication des hauteurs). Cette évolution de la notation musicale aboutira au XIIe siècle à l’apparition de cette ligne, de façon visible, permettant de définir plus précisément les intervalles et permettant de donner plus d’informations au chanteur. Nous pouvons également remarquer l’évolution des notations avec la précision grandissante des ornements et de la précision des intervalles dans l’exemple du Viderunt Omnes du manuscrit 74 de Cologne, présenté lors de cette conférence.
Katarina Livljanic attira notre attention sur l’absence de la partie de Plain-Chant utilisée dans la version du Viderunt Omnes à trois voix conservé à Fleury sur Loire. Nous pouvons seulement remarquer la présence de la seconde voix et de la voix organale.
Pour finir, dans le Viderunt omnes de Pérotin (Ecole de Notre-Dame), œuvre exécutée à quatre voix, nous pouvons remarquer la présence de modes rythmiques afin d’organiser la polyphonie.

Suite à cette présentation, deux élèves de recherche en musicologie nous ont exposé leur travail de recherche.
Tout d’abord, Gérard Vidal nous présenta ses recherches sur un conduit de l’Ecole de Notre Dame de Paris. Le conduit est l’une des premières formes musicales où l’on compose l’intégralité de l’oeuvre, à la fois le texte et la musique. Son travail porte donc sur les références à la psalmodie dans cette pièce.
Dans un second temps, Boris Courrège nous présenta ses recherches sur un Missel de Paris conservé à la Bibliothèque nationale de France constitué des textes en écriture noire et possédant des passages en écriture rouge. Décrivant une procession pour la bénédiction des rameaux à l’église Sainte Geneviève, ce manuscrit décrit l’itinéraire emprunté par le cortège dans les rues du quartier latin à Paris. La question qui se pose ici est la suivante : Pourquoi utiliser un missel pour une procession ? Suite à cette présentation, une discussion s’engagea sur le travail futur de l’étudiant autour de la comparaison de cet ouvrage à d’autres écrits semblables de l’époque.

III. La notation musicale à la Renaissance

Dans un troisième temps, la professeure Alice Tacaille (Université Paris-Sorbonne) nous présenta les évolutions de la notation musicale dans la polyphonie entre le XIIIe et le XVe siècle.
Au XIIIe siècle, l’apparition de la notation rythmique permet de rendre indépendante chaque partie d’une polyphonie. A cette époque, nous pouvons remarquer l’absence de signe de mesure. Cette indépendance donnée à chaque partie influera sur la copie des œuvres par l’écriture en parties séparées des polyphonies. On reviendra plus tard à l’écriture sous forme de conducteur, c’est-à-dire en superposition de toutes les parties pour une meilleure vue d’ensemble. Le rythme sera ensuite déterminé par la valeur faciale de la note, précisant également sa durée.
Cette notation rythmique permit aux compositeurs de combiner les voix en polyphonie de façon de plus en plus complexe. Nous pouvons citer la mise en polyphonie de chansons préexistantes (Manuscrit de Montpellier), le rythme permettant à chaque chanson de suivre sa propre structure (couplet et refrain) indépendamment des autres. Ce système aura pour résultat un flot continu n’ayant pour cadence que la cadence finale.
La notation musicale est également très importante pour la compréhension de la forme. Pour certaines formes, la structure peut être déterminée visuellement par la mise en page et la notation. Nous pouvons voir cela dans le manuscrit Fr. 1104 (Colbert 2502) avec des rondeaux dont les vers sont soigneusement disposés. Nous pouvons également constater cela avec le rondeau d’Oxford où l’on distingue bien le refrain du couplet.
De plus, la notation permet également aux compositeurs quelques fantaisies telles que les canons de Guillaume Dufay dont l’interprétation n’est possible que par la résolution d’une énigme donnée. Nous pouvons voir cela dans le Manuscrit de Naples, recueil de six messes basées sur la chanson de l’Homme Armé mais ne mettant en évidence que des extraits de cette dernière au tenor dans les cinq premières messes. On ne trouvera la citation de l’intégralité de la chanson que dans la sixième et dernière messe.
Nous pouvons également citer l’œuvre d’Ockeghem : Ut Heremita solus. Cette pièce est basée sur des rébus permettant de mettre en place la partie de tenor. Imprimée en 1504 par Petrucci, cette pièce est commercialisée avec la résolution, cette dernière étant l’initiative de l’éditeur et ayant un intérêt purement commercial. En effet, sans cette résolution, la vente de cette œuvre aurait été beaucoup plus compliquée. Dans le Manuscrit Bourdonné, de provenance italienne, où figure une messe de l’Homme Armé (à 4 voix) de Josquin, nous pouvons mettre en évidence le soin avec lequel le copiste a écrit la partie de tenor avec et sans la résolution. Ce système nous donne l’illusion d’une partition à cinq voix. Nous pouvons donc nous poser la question suivante : A quelle utilisation était destiné ce genre de manuscrit ? Serait-ce pour la préservation du partimoine, la pratique du chant ou de la lecture ?
Pour conclure, Alice Tacaille soulèvera le fait que cette recherche d’énigme et de rébus ne facilitera pas l’évolution du langage musical vers la tonalité.

IV. La notation moderne du Plain-Chant

Durant la dernière partie de ce séminaire sur la notation musicale, Cécile Davy-Rigaux (Directrice de l’IReMus, CNRS) fit une présentation de l’évolution de la notation moderne du Plain-Chant, le but de cette notation étant d’éviter les portées à quatre lignes et les clefs inusitées dans ce répertoire. Nous pouvons remarquer que dans le Grove Dictionary, l’article sur le Plain-Chant mentionne la notation musicale mais il y a un manque significatif de connaissances, comme un blocage historiographique, face à la notation moderne. De plus, cette notation n’est pas plébiscitée par tous les spécialistes. Les spécialistes médiévistes préfèreront les versions d’origines alors que les spécialistes modernistes préfèreront les versions en notation moderne.
Comme l’indique Cécile Davy-Rigaux, la notation moderne a pour but de faire progresser l’interprétation de ce répertoire mais également de consolider les transcriptions et faciliter le catalogage de fonds spécifiques. Nous pouvons citer comme exemple Les chants de l’Abbaye Royale de Nostre Dame du Val de Grâce de 1660.
La « sémiologie grégorienne » s’articule autour de notions de philologie, étude des neumes, de notions de paléographie, étude des signes, et se distingue par l’étude de l’expression vocale signifiée par les neumes simples ou composés. Nous pouvons citer comme exemple d’analyse sémiologique l’ouvrage Correptio Cantus ayant pour but de réduire la complexité mélodique tout en restant sous le contrôle de l’Eglise et subissant les restrictions qu’elle impose. Ces réformes seront largement diffusées à travers l’Europe. Cécile Davy-Rigaux citera quelques exemples d’application dans les récitatifs des missels : le Missale romanum de Pie V et le Pontificale romanum de Clément VIII.
Nous pouvons également remarquer l’émergence de traités comme le traité Derictorium Chori de Guidetti écrit en 1582 et ayant pour but de fixer des conventions face à cette sémiologie grégorienne telles que l’introduction des valeurs de durées relatives. Nous avons ici une variété inédite de notations musicales.

Nous pouvons donc conclure que grâce à l’intervention de ces quatre chercheuses, nous avons pu apprécier l’évolution de la notation musicale de la Grèce antique à la notation musicale moderne en passant par les notations à points, adiastématique, diastématique et rythmique. Nous avons pu également remarquer que chaque notation a été mise en place pour des raisons pratiques et dans le but de faciliter la pratique et la lecture de la musique à travers les siècles et selon le profil du lecteur.

January 20, 2017
by slb184

Introductory Course 2: Ontology Reasoning

By Tori Schmitt

The purpose of creating and using an ontology within the context of a database is to discover new knowledge. As we learned in the first Musiconis session on ontologies and linked data, a well-constructed ontology allows for the information contained to be found quickly and with ease through systematic through systematic processes, one of which can be defined as ontological reasoning. In Musiconis’ second session on ontologies (January 12, 2017), Dr. Victoria Eyharabide further explained the processes behind this concept and provided hands-on instruction (in the program Protége) bridging theoretical planning and praxis.

Ontological reasoning is a process which improves database search ability by linking individual entries within the database to equivalencies and inferences through the function of the database reasoner. When making an inference, one is making a logical conclusion based on a logical premise. Within the database it is the same process and inferences are made both manually, by the person using the database, and by the built-in database reasoner (in the case of the program Protégé, the reasoner is called HermiT.) In doing so, individual entries are improved through “inference” and become linked to more than just the specific metadata attributed in their record file. Subsequently, expanded metadata improves search functions. An example of this would be an image that is indexed as “David plays the harp.” Without database inference, the entry would only be found using the search terms “David” and “plays” and “harp.” However, using the database reasoner the entry would also be linked with the broader categories of its classes and object properties. In this example, the reasoner, on the most basic level, would link the entry with “person” and “chordophone,” the two broader classes which contain “David” and “harp,” allowing the entry to be found under a broader umbrella of search terms. This type of inference is referred to as subsumption checking. Other types of inference made by the reasoner are equivalence checking (if class A is equivalent to class B and class B is equivalent to C then A is equivalent to C), and consistency checking (looking for errors). Overall, the use of the reasoner helps to establish that the ontology is working logically and following all established rules.

Another key aspect of ontological reasoning is the world assumption. A closed-world assumption is how most databases and computer systems are coded. It operates on a strict binary and excludes all instances that are not explicitly given. In contrast, an open-world assumption, which the Musiconis database uses, operates on the notion that the data is always accurate but incomplete. This manifests in an indexing of information as yes or we don’t know, rather than a simple yes or no. Through this, open-world assumptions allow for indexing of uncertainty- a function crucial for accurately indexing the present knowledge state of medieval musical iconography. While it is easy to assume that working with database ontologies is technical and separate from the field of humanities study, it was clear in Dr. Eyharabide’s session that here, in the Musiconis database, technical praxis is intended to express our understanding as medievalists and that in order to create a successful ontology of any discipline, one cannot separate the project’s parent methodology from its ontological reasoning.

January 20, 2017
by slb184

The Sound, the Image, and the Object: The Place of Music in Palaces and Villas of the Italian Renaissance

By Raffaella Bortolini

On 4 January 2017 at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art, in the seminar Lieux et espaces en musique : la Renaissance italienne (part of the series L’iconographie musicale et l’art occidental), Laura Moretti (University of St.-Andrews) spoke on “The Sound, the Image, and the Object: The Place of Music in Palaces and Villas of the Italian Renaissance.”

The presentation started with a panoramic view of the importance of chamber music during the sixteenth century. L’Antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica by Nicola Vicentino is the earliest source that speaks about chamber music (1555). Private and semi-private performances ‘at home’ were very common in the mid sixteenth century and before. In a series of images and written testimonies we find evidence of this practice. One such example is the description by Francesco Sansovino in Venetia città nobilissima et signorile (1581) of “Studi di musica con strumenti e libri di eccellenza” (music rooms with instruments and books of excellence). He describes ‘modern’ rooms and rooms alla greca et all’antica in great numbers. Palaces were at the time the principal sites for musical performances. Increasing attention was paid to rooms dedicated to musical purposes, and was profoundly influenced by this fashion for rooms all’antica.

Alvise Cornaro’s case is an example of how musical spaces became central in the architecture of noble houses in Italy. Cornaro was a renewed artists-patron with several important connections. The loggia of his house in Padova, Casa Cornaro, designed by Giovanni Maria Falconetto in 1524, was supposed to be used as an amphitheatre. Cornaro himself was involved in the design of the house, as Giorgio Vasari testified. His Odeo, as Sebastiano Serio writes in Il settimo libro d’Architettura, was built to be a place of music. Playing music in these areas of the houses became a more and more common practice. Serio also writes about the octagonal salotto of the house where “musicians are to play…”. The salotto was copied from the project of Andrea Palladio’s central room of Villa Pisani (which was never realized). The same type of room is found in Vincenzo Scamozzi’s Rocca Pisana; in l’idea dell’architettura universale, Scamozzi asserts that this room is an ideal space for playing music.

The two most important examples for investigating the connection between architecture and music performances are those of Mario Bevilacqua and Niccolò Vaddi. We see a large number of sources documenting the musical life at their houses. They were both born in 1536, died in the 1590s and they were both interested in music and musical instruments, as well as in the other arts and arranged their houses for semi-public use. Their collections were in display of the people connected to the family and the houses can be seen as proto-museums.

Mario Bevilacqua came from a wealthy family and studied law in Bologna. Palazzo Bevilacqua, restored in 1550 by Michele San Micheli, became his property in 1579. Unfortunately, today the palace is used as a school: only the loggia still survives unaltered. In 1593 an inventory of the art works of the house was compiled: the majority was kept in semi-public rooms named ridotto, galleria, camera grande and studio (most of them were situated in the piano nobile, or nobles’ residence). All the rooms were accessible by the open-air staircase in the inside court of the palace. The family members could reach the rooms by their living spaces, guests could enter from the outside court.

The galleria was used as an entrance space for people to walk around freely and observe the precious art works. There were, in fact, many sculptures (seven in life size) and some of the most valuable paintings (amongst them one by Tintoretto). A large open room known as the camera grande was instead equipped with a warm fire-place. Here we could find, together with paintings and medium size objects, some furniture like tables and chairs: guests could, in fact, sit and wait their turns to enter the studio and talk to Mario Bevilacqua. The studio had a huge number of paintings, drawings, furniture, book cases for his manuscripts and books. An ebony lute was also kept in here, together with a painting of a lute-player by Cariani: Bevilacqua wanted to create a microcosm to remind the people of his interest in music. We think that the lute was considered unsuitable for performances because it has been described as having a too ‘brittle’ sound.

The Ridotto was situated in the body of the palace (now completely lost). The term ridotto refers to a room in a private house opened to people for musical performances, conversations etc. Bevilacqua’s most precious sculpture (Adorante statue, called Apollo by him) was placed at the entrance to the path leading to this room, in order to welcome people to the musical performances.

Seventy-seven instruments of his collection (including the very rare Bassanelli) were kept there, as well as many paintings, fifty music printed books, fourteen manuscripts, chairs and benches: it was intended to host a huge number of people.

Bevilacqua must have been a great music patron: thirty musical prints were dedicated to him and some others to the Ridotto. The renowned composer Luca Marenzio asserted that he wrote madrigals for the instruments of this collection in a very different style, which were sub-sequentially performed in the Ridotto.

Niccolò Gaddi owned two big houses in Firenze, his main residence, Casa grande, and a second house, casa dell’Orto, reserved for displaying his sumptuous collection: again, it is one of the first buildings conceived for this proto-museum intent. It consisted of two buildings and a garden (commissioned to the architect Antonio Dosio), none of which today remain. Fortunately, many drawings survived, testifying to its historical setting.

Within the house was a stanza de’ suoni (room of sounds) with a huge collection of musical instruments, but too small for live performances. The galleria sull’orto hosted an organ: we can imagine that the musical performances were set there and in the garden itself.
No dedications to Niccolò Gaddi survived as in the case of Mario Bevilacqua. Probably Gaddi was much more interested in the works of art as collection objects then in their musical-theatrical use.

Conclusion: from a methodological point of view, to analyse a private building architecturally, we need to study first the history of its owner, in order to understand the use of the spaces in the house and the value of the objects and art works belonging to them.

Quoted sources
Nicola Vicentino, Antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Antonio Barre – Roma 1555

Francesco Sansovino, Venetia città nobilissima et signorile, Iacomo Sansovino – Venezia 1581

Sebastiano Serio, Il settimo libro d’Architettura, Andrè WechelFrankfurt am Main 1575
Vincenzo Scamozzi, l’idea dell’architettura universale, Girolamo AlbriziVenezia 1615

January 20, 2017
by slb184

Music, Art, and Performance at Cluny

By Emogene Cataldo

On January 11, 2017, the FAB-Musiconis group attended the fourth session of the L’iconographie musicale et l’art occidental seminar at INHA, titled, Lieux et espaces en musique: le Moyen Age clunisien. The session offered two rich perspectives on the intersection of Cluniac space, performance, and music in two papers delivered by Sébastien Biay (INHA) and Susan Boynton (Columbia University), with a response by Anne-Orange Poilpré (Paris-Sorbonne 1).

In “Du choeur monastique au choeur des anges, de l’espace vécu à l’espace figuré : les chapiteaux du rond-point de la grande Église de Cluny (XI-XIIe siècles),” Biay posed questions about the surviving capitals of the so-called Cluny III basilica, which was destroyed in the French Revolution. Of the eight capitals that survive from the chevet, two depict scenes of musicians. These two musical capitals depict four musicians each and include an inscription that enumerates the eight tones. As Biay suggests, these eight tones suggest the eight psalmodic tones, while the number eight is also invoked by the number of columns delineating the ambulatory of the round east end. Whereas the first capital encapsulates four musicians in mandorlas framed by the inscription, the second divides the space horizontally with the inscription, which continues in a horizontal band around the capital. Biay noted not only the aesthetic qualities of enumeration and rational parts of the text and images, but also the position and gesture of the musicians themselves, whose embodiment of the act of playing music corresponds with the active descriptions of music-playing in the inscription. Taken together with the text, the images of the figures suggest a binary rhythm of physical movement and implied sound.

In “Cluniac Spaces of Performance/Lieux de performances clunisiens,” Boynton investigated the intersection of space, liturgy and manuscripts of Cluny in relation to both physical and imagined spaces of performance, as well as the power attributed to Cluny and its affiliated abbeys through language. In De miraculis, an early-twelfth-century compilation attributed to Peter the Venerable, the author describes evocative visions seen by monks in the choir of Cluny during the night hours, including a vision of a perambulating harp player followed by censing angels. This was an intriguing connection with the corresponding cithara-playing figure depicted on the Cluniac capitals discussed by Biay. In addition, manuscript illuminations enrich the evidence for performance in Cluniac spaces; a celebrated manuscript illumination from Paris 17716 depicts the dedication of the altar of Cluny III by Pope Urban II in 1095, showing both the interior and the exterior of the church simultaneously (BnF Ms. 17716, fol. 91r). The interior is crowded with designated communities and individuals: Pope Urban II, Abbot Hugh, the monastic and cleric communities, and perhaps, as Boynton posits, the lay community. Finally, in texts written about liturgical practice at Cluny, Boynton highlighted how writers frequently refer to the monastery as “locus noster,” or, “our place,” signifying a concept of collective space that is activated by liturgical and commemorative performance.

These two presentations, rich with interconnections and intriguing questions about music and performance in medieval Cluniac communities, suggest an omnipresent importance of embodied experience in Cluniac culture in images of music performance and descriptions of liturgical activity. This is illustrated both in the physicality of the musicians sculpted in the capitals and the evocative visions recorded by Peter the Venerable, as well as the manuscript illustrations of Bnf Ms. 17716, in which figures escape the conscripted frames and participate–either as actors or spectators–in the performance.

The next and final event of the seminar will be held at the INHA on March 8, 2017, in which Camilla Cavicchi (CESR Tours) and Florence Gétreau (CNRS/IReMus) will present papers in a session titled, Lieux et espaces en musique : les salles de musique, de la Renaissance au XVIIIe siècle.

January 20, 2017
by slb184

La figure du chantre dans l’iconographie médiévale

by Isabella Livorni

The subject of Professor Isabelle Marchesin’s presentation in the series Iconographie musicale et l’art occidental at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art on Friday, January 6, 2017, was on “La figure du chantre dans l’iconographie médiévale.” Professor Marchesin focused on images spanning from 845 to the end of the thirteenth century, and this corpus’ status as one of the most ingenious and innovative of the Middle Ages. The lack of any kind of representation for musical iconography allowed every illuminator to make his own motifs that drew on (among other things) a mythological imaginary, musical cosmology, and a rational scientific organization of proportions to create aesthetic principles.

The representation of chant, Marchesin pointed out, underwent a number of particularly notable developments and transformations in the time period she examined in her talk. Initially, instrumental music was used as a metaphor for chant and vocal music. In order to illustrate this point, she showed a manuscript illumination of King David playing the vielle in the initial “B” of the first psalm, Beatus vir. In the illumination, the law of proportions between the various circles present in the illuminations becomes a “semiotic abstraction”: David’s instrumental music is proportionally connected with the vine growing beneath his feet, which signifies the Word of God, which is, in turn, sung through chant.

Thus, in the case of the illumination of Beatus vir, the presence of instrumental music along with allegorical elements and the proportional relationships between different elements in the iconography all converge to represent an image of chant and singing that is closely wedded to the idea of theoretical music – scientia candendi, the science of singing. Professor Marchesin demonstrated the connection between iconographic representations of song and iconographic representations of the mathematical order that supports the music and keeps the song within the divine law in a number of illuminations from the antiphonary of Guido Oacrius.

From here, Marchesin moved on to examining the development of the iconography accompanying psalm 97, “Cantate domino canticum novum.” As she noted, chant is always present for the manuscript reader, since it was an integral part of the liturgy; thus, we can assume certain contexts of chant whether or not the singer depicted is singing or not (in other words, whether his mouth is open or closed). The most important component for depicting chant and singers, then, by the end of the thirteenth century and beginning of the fourteenth century, would be the writing of chant itself, which, for a medieval reader, would subliminally represent a sonic element as well.

January 20, 2017
by slb184

Linked Data and Ontologies Seminar 1

Introductory course I: Linked Data and Ontologies

Victoria Eyharabide, January 10th, 2017, Maison de la Recherche

Post by: Mariana Velázquez

Classical Western philosophy developed the concept of “ontology” as a means of organizing knowledge by studying the categories of being and the relationships among those categories. Because of its highly theoretical nature, the study of ontology had been strongly attached to the philosophical branch of metaphysics. Among the principal questions that ontology addresses, we find what is a thing, how is it, how much it is, and where it is in relation to other things. Today, the classical concept of ontology has not aged, but rather, it has been appropriated by the field of information and computer science.

The first part of Victoria Eyharabide’s introductory course, Linked Data and Ontologies, revolved around the description and explanation of the role of ontology in the metadata world. Her course touched upon the discussion of the main components of ontologies (individuals, classes, and properties) in order to improve Musiconis’s search engines. To some extent, the exercise reintroduced the main philosophical questions of ontology within the context of the Musiconis database. In other words, by expanding the description of the images contained in this database and establishing new relationships among them, the images will become more searchable and accessible to researchers.

The working platform is Protégé 5.1.0 (developed by Stanford University). We were provided with the basic skills to understand the program and its possibilities. The first thing we were taught is that natural language is ambiguous and for that reason, we had to work with both semantics and computer language (specific codes and categories). The result is a kind of language that is supported by reasoners and at the same time, it expresses a variety of concepts and restrictions.

Such language is based on the OWL (Web Ontology Language), a family of knowledge representation languages that enables the creation of ontologies. We focused on the variant OWL DL to conform several syntaxes when describing the images. The Protégé tutorial encompassed 17 exercises that revolved around practicing different ways of describing a class, an entity, a concept, and an individual. By establishing a hierarchy of these components, we were successfully able to comprehend and visualize the ontology of a specifically given concept and to model a structure of knowledge around it.

Eyharabide’s introductory course emphasized two main aspects. On the one hand, the course entailed classical ontological questions about what constitutes a specific object or image, while on the other, it involved the need of transferring those questions to the realm of computer science and information. In short, we learned how to teach a computer to understand and apply the complexity of an ontology. Certainly, this is one of the pivotal challenges faced by the growing field of Digital Humanities which has transformed the ways in which we study and approach medieval cultural production.


January 3, 2017
by slb184

Paris launch of FAB-Musiconis


The FAB-Musiconis launched in Paris on New Year’s Day! Professor Billiet warmly welcomed all the Columbia and Sorbonne participants, and we heard an impromptu musical performance.




The next morning, we held our first meeting at the Columbia Global Center, Reid Hall.


December 22, 2016
by slb184

Sorbonne Graduate Student Participants for 2016-17

We are delighted to announce the five Sorbonne graduate students selected to participate in FAB-Musiconis for 2016-17:

Raffaella Bortolini is a first-year Ph.D. student in musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University. She has a Master of Arts in medieval music performance (shawm) from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and a Master of Music in historically informed performance (with a specialization in Baroque oboe) from the Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg im Breisgau. Bortolini co-founded Ensemble Seraphim, which specializes in medieval instrumental music.

Florentin Morel is a first-year MA student in musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University. His research focuses on the marimba in Europe in the twentieth century. He holds a Bachelor Degree of Music and Musicology from the Paris-Sorbonne University. His interests include music history and world music, particularly that of Latin America. He is also involved in the indexing work of the Musiconis database. Morel is a percussionist and composer who has collaborated with several choreographers. including a dancer and choreographer of the Paris Opera.

Valérie Nunes – Le Page is a first-year MA student in musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University specializing in the performance practice of medieval music in the professional program. She is a certified teacher in a conservatory, a singer, and a choirmaster. Her research focuses on rhythmic changes in the French treatises of the late 13th century and the early 14th century.

Ershad Vaeztehrani is a first-year MA student in the UFR of Music and Musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University. He has a BA of Music Performance (Double Bass) from the Music Faculty of The Art University of Tehran. He is also studying the Historical Bass at the Conservatoire de Paris. Also a percussionist (Persian, Medieval and Baroque Percussions), he has collaborated with different ancient music ensembles and musicians such as Abya Yala, Les Voix Errantes, Seraphim ensemble, Robin Troman, Sebastien Marcq and Jean-Jacques Hérbin.

Anna Vasilyeva is a first-year MA student in the Sorbonne’s professional program with a specialty in the performance practice of medieval music. She is a singer, musicologist, and performer on the medieval harp. Vasilyeva performs with several different medieval music ensembles. Her current research focuses on cantus firmus in Russian sacred music. She graduated from the  Gnessins’ Academy of Music in Moscow in 2009 where she studied musicology and carried out research on contemporary music based on Renaissance parody technique.

December 19, 2016
by slb184

Music and Images in the Roman de Fauvel

Grande Salle, Columbia Global Centers | Paris

4 Rue de Chévreuse, 75006 Paris

Benjamin Bagby (Director, Sequentia) will present the next concert program of the medieval music ensemble Sequentia: the Roman de Fauvel. The version of this work copied in Paris near the beginning of the fourteenth century in the manuscript Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France ms. f. fr. 146 includes famous illuminations illustrating the adventures of a strange wild horse. The discussion will focus on the performance practice of monophonic and polyphonic songs in the manuscript in the context of their musical notation.

Vocalist, harper and scholar Benjamin Bagby has been an important figure in the field of medieval musical performance for more than 30 years. After musical studies in the USA (Oberlin Conservatory and Oberlin College) and Switzerland (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis), he and the late Barbara Thornton formed the renowned vocal ensemble Sequentia in 1977 in Cologne, Germany, where the ensemble was based until Mr. Bagby moved to Paris in 2002. Since 2005 Bagby has been on the music faculty of the Université de Paris – Sorbonne, teaching in the master’s programme for medieval music performance.

In addition to researching and writing more than 70 program books for festivals and concert series, and writing (or co-authoring, with Barbara Thornton) more than 25 CD booklets, Mr. Bagby has written about performance practice, with articles appearing in Early Music, Early Music America, in the Performer’s Guide to Medieval Music (IU Press) edited by Ross Duffin, in the Basler Jahrbuch für historische Musikpraxis, and in a recent collection of essays, Performing Medieval Narrative.

This event sponsored by Paris-Sorbonne University and Columbia Global Centers | Paris is presented in conjunction with the FAB-Musiconis project of Columbia University and Paris-Sorbonne University.  

Free and open to the public. Registration required: register here.

November 25, 2016
by slb184

Columbia Graduate Student Participants for 2016-17

We are delighted to announce the FAB-Musiconis project’s first cohort of five Columbia graduate students: 

Sadegh Ansari is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies. He has a  B.A. in Iranian Classical Music from the School of Performance Arts and Music in the College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran. His B.A. thesis was a commentary and critical edition of Kashf al-Awtār a Persian musical manuscript of the Gourkanid Court of Akbar. Sadegh also has an MA from Columbia’s Department of Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies. His dissertation,“Pythagoras in Baghdad: Music Theoretical Writings of Ṣafī al-Dīn al-Urmawī, their Inception and Later Reception,” addresses the manuscript traditions of two treatises from the mid-thirteenth century.

Emogene S. Cataldo is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. She received her B.A. (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) with Distinction in Studio Art in 2010 from Carleton College. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program in 2014, Emogene collaborated with several museums through her work in interactive design and art education. At Columbia she is a graduate research assistant for Professor Stephen Murray’s Art Humanities website “Life of a Cathedral: Notre-Dame of Amiens.” In 2015-16 she was a Research Associate at Columbia’s Media Center for Art History.

Isabella M. Livorni is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Italian. She graduated from Barnard College in 2015 (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) with a BA in music and Italian, earning Departmental Honors in both as well as the Ethel Stone Lefrak Prize in Music and the Bettina Buonocore Salvo Prize in Italian. At Columbia she was a research assistant for the Casa Italiana History Project, and worked on the Marenzio Online Digital Edition using the Aruspix and Verovio software developed specifically for the project. In 2014 she served as creative director for the Digital Dante Sestina Project.

Tori Schmitt is a first-year MA student in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. She holds a BA in Art History with a Minor in Digital Humanities from the University of California, Los Angeles (cum laude, with college honors and highest departmental honors as well as the UCLA Art History Department Eugene Wurzel Award for Scholastic Excellence), with an undergraduate thesis on “3D Modeling as Gothic Reconstruction: An Investigation into the Parisian Church of the Jacobins.” She was an Undergraduate Research Assistant and 3D Modeler for the UCLA project Paris: Past and Present. She also worked on the UCLA Digital Humanities Capstone: Getty Provenance Metadata. At Columbia she is a graduate research assistant for Professor Stephen Murray’s Art Humanities website “Life of a Cathedral: Notre-Dame of Amiens.”

Mariana-Cecilia Velázquez is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. She holds a B.A summa cum laude in Comparative Literature from the Universidad de Puerto Rico and an M.A. in Latin American and Iberian Cultures from Columbia University. Her interests include Iberian, Caribbean, and Mediterranean cultural production, travel narratives, chronicles, and piracy from fifteenth to seventeenth centuries and she is writing a dissertation entitled “Travelers, Traders, and Traitors: Writing and Mapping Piracy in England, Spain, and the Caribbean (1570-1620).”


Leaf from a Beatus Manuscript (detail): the Fourth Angel Sounds the Trumpet. Purchase, The Cloisters Collection, Rogers and Harris Brisbane Dick Funds, and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1991


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