The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330
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.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
1 Listening to the Past Listening in the Past
2 Sound and the City
4 Madness and the Eloquence of Nonsense
5 Sound in Prayer
6 Sound in Prayer Books
Other editions - View all
Adam’s Arras audible Bakhtin Baltimore Bibliothèque nationale book’s books of hours Cambridge chant chapter charivari city’s clausula codicological conductus context Culture dervé devotional distraction echoes example exemplum experience explore fascicle fatras folio fourteenth century genre Guillot Hellequin Huot Ibid images Jandun Jeanne d’Evreux language Latin listening literary liturgical Luttrell Psalter lyric manuscript margins Marian Mary Matins meaning medieval Medieval Music melody Metropolitan Museum Middle Ages Montpellier Codex motet musical sound narrative nationale de France notation offers Old French opening Paris performance play poem poetic poetry polyphony prayer books Psalm Psalter reader reading refrain Renart repertory rhyme sound Roman de Fauvel Saint scene scrolls seculum semantic sense singing social song song’s sonic sonority sound in prayer soundscape suggest supermusical tenor texts theme thirteenth thirteenth-century tion tradition transl translation triplum troubadour trouvère University Press verbal Virgin visual voice Walters Art Museum website figure words