The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 (The New Cultural History of Music Series)

The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 (The New Cultural History of Music Series)

By: Emma Dillon (author)Hardback

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Among the most memorable innovations of music and poetry in thirteenth-century France was a genre that seemed to privilege sound over sense. The polytextual motet is especially well-known to scholars of the Middle Ages for its tendency to conceal complex allegorical meaning in a texture that, in performance, made words less, rather than more, audible. It is with such musical sound that this book is concerned. What did it mean to create a musical effect so potentially independent from the meaning of words? Is it possible such supermusical effects themselves had significance? The Sense of Sound offers a radical recontextualization of French song in the heyday of the motet c.1260-1330, and makes the case for listening to musical sound against a range of other potently meaningful sonorities, often premised on non-verbal meaning. In identifying new audible interlocutors to music, it opens our ears to a broad spectrum of sounds often left out of historical inquiry, from the hubbub of the medieval city; to the eloquent babble of madmen; to the violent clamor of charivari; to the charismatic chatter of prayer. Drawing on a rich array of artistic evidence (music, manuscripts, poetry, and images) and contemporary cultural theory, it locates musical production in this period within a larger cultural environment concerned with representing sound and its emotional, ethical, and social effects. In so doing, The Sense of Sound offers an experiment in how we might place central the most elusive aspect of music's history: sound's vibrating, living effect.

About Author

Emma Dillon is Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania, and specialist of medieval music. She is author of Medieval Music-Making and the Roman de Fauvel (2002).


Acknowledgements ; Abbreviations ; A Note to the Reader ; About the Companion Website ; Prologue ; Chapter One Listening to the Past, Listening in the Past ; Chapter Two Sound and the City ; Chapter Three Charivari ; Chapter Four Madness and the Eloquence of Nonsense ; Chapter Five Sound in Prayer ; Chapter Six Sound in Prayer Books ; Chapter Seven Praying with Sound: The Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux and ; Walters 102 ; Chapter Eight Devotional Listening and the Montpellier Codex ; Epilogue ; Bibliography

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780199732951
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 400
  • ID: 9780199732951
  • weight: 662
  • ISBN10: 0199732957

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