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The Reconstruction of Performing Conventions in Aquitanian Repertories of the 11th-13th Centuries

English title The Reconstruction of Performing Conventions in Aquitanian Repertories of the 11th-13th Centuries
Applicant Llewellyn Jeremy
Number 134914
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Schola Cantorum Basiliensis Musik Akademie Basel FHNW
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (without UTE) - FHNW
Main discipline Musicology
Start/End 01.10.2011 - 30.09.2013
Approved amount 121'001.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Musicology
Music, Theatre
Romance languages and literature
Other languages and literature

Keywords (5)

Mittelalter Geschichte 1100-1250; Aquitanien; Lied; historische Aufführungspraxis; Edition

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
One of the most immediate challenges facing the Humanities after the poststructuralist debates of the last decades is to develop new methodologies for thinking and writing about literary form and structure, and their relevance for broader issues of interpretation and aesthetics.  The poetical and musical innovations which flourished in the Duchy of Aquitaine from the late eleventh century onwards present these challenges in a particularly acute form.  These ‘new songs’ or ‘nova cantica’ explored and exploited the new possibilities of rhymed, accentual verse; the subtle recalibration of the relationship between text and music; and new conceptions of polyphonic performance.  Recent attempts by scholarship to edit these Aquitanian corpora have run into a variety of problems, not least because of the often improvised and disorganised way in which the sung poetry was copied on to parchment in the form of personal scrapbooks.  Indeed, the written form of these songs would appear to be a prime example of ‘vicarious performance’, requiring both a reconstruction of the performing conventions that lay behind the written artefacts and a more differentiated understanding of the aesthetic choices involved.  Moreover, musicological studies have tended to distil certain aspects of the Aquitanian repertories off from others – e.g. genre classification, monophony versus polyphony, the legible from the illegible – rather than regard questions of formal organisation and conventions across the whole of the manuscript tradition.  The planned new edition of the Aquitanian repertories by the recently inaugurated Corpus Monodicum project, based at the University of Würzburg, provides a unique opportunity for an international and interdisciplinary investigation of these issues spanning musicology, literary studies, and historical performance practice.  In reconstructing performing conventions in a systematic manner, the proposed project will develop epistemological tools for international colleagues charged with the philological task of editing these notoriously difficult repertories.  This will proceed in four stages: creating a database of recordings of the nova cantica and evaluating them from the perspective of performance analysis and conventions; reconstituting the palette of modal gestures which informed the melodic language of the monophonic songs; experimenting with the co-ordination of two voices in polyphonic structures and procedures; and reconstructing possible performance practices of the polyphonic sequences which go beyond the written notation.   The goal of the project is, therefore, twofold: a new edition whose readings are based on the historically-grounded dialectical relationship between writing and performance; and a better understanding of the performing conventions and aesthetics which underpinned this efflorescence of creative activity in medieval Aquitaine.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
nova cantica
Llewellyn Jeremy, nova cantica, in Everist Mark & Kelly Thomas Forrest (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Corpus Monodicum/Universität Würzburg Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Editing the nova cantica Talk given at a conference What was new about the nova cantica? 16.06.2012 Würzburg, Germany Landerkin Kelly; Llewellyn Jeremy; Budinska-Bennett Agnieszka;
Early Music Platform Talk given at a conference A New Approach to a New Song: The Reception of nova cantica 20.04.2012 Bremen, Germany Budinska-Bennett Agnieszka; Landerkin Kelly;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television nova cantica Bayerischer Rundfunk International 2012

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
125617 Textlosigkeit in der Musik des Mittelalters 800-1300 01.02.2009 DORE conferences

Abstract

One of the most immediate challenges facing the Humanities after the poststructuralist debates of the last decades is to develop new methodologies for thinking and writing about form and structure and their relevance for broader issues of interpretation and aesthetics. The poetical and musical innovations which flourished in the Duchy of Aquitaine from the late eleventh century onwards present these challenges in a particularly acute form. These ‘new songs’ or ‘nova cantica’, which took their place alongside tropes, proses, and ritual plays, explored and exploited the new possibilities of rhymed, accentual verse, the subtle recalibration of the relationship between text and music, and new conceptions of polyphonic performance. Recent attempts by scholarship to edit these Aquitanian corpora have run into a variety of problems, not least because of the palaeographical challenges the manuscript witnesses throw up. Indeed, the written form of these songs and chants would appear to be a prime example of ‘vicarious performance’, requiring a reconstruction of performing conventions and a more differentiated understanding of aesthetic choices. Moreover, musicological studies have tended to distil certain aspects of the Aquitanian repertories off from others - e.g. genre classification, monophony versus polyphony - rather than regard questions of formal organisation and conventions across the whole of the manuscript versaria. The planned new edition of the Aquitanian repertories by the recently inaugurated Corpus Monodicum project, based at the University of Würzburg, provides a unique opportunity for an international and interdisciplinary investigation of these issues spanning musicology, literary studies, and historical performance practice. In reconstructing performing conventions in a systematic manner, the proposed project would develop epistemological tools for international colleagues charged with the philological task of editing these notoriously difficult repertories. The goal of the project is, therefore, twofold: a new edition whose readings are based on the historically-grounded dialectical relationship between writing and performance; and a better understanding of the performing conventions and aesthetics which underpinned this efflorescence of creative activity in medieval Aquitaine.
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