From Milan to Boston
_I am developing the new phase of the project at Boston College, thanks to a fellowship from the Jesuit Institute.
The Soundscape of Early Modern Catholicism
_ This project is the second phase of the research started in 2010 under the title ‘A History of Sonic Experience in the Renaissance’. Its object is to investigate the sonic culture of early modern Catholicism, trying to answer questions like:
- How central was the experience of sound (or of its absence) in everyday Catholic life?
- What was the ideal Catholic soundscape like, according to ecclesiastical documents, preaching, spiritual literature, etc.?
- And how did this ideal soundscape interact with the sonic reality of the time?
In the past decades, Renaissance musicology has developed many different methodologies, concentrating either on technical and aesthetic issues, or on sociopolitical aspects (patronage, gender, reception history, etc.). Musicologists have sometimes borrowed the tools of one or the other branch of religious studies (history of liturgy, theology, history of spirituality, etc.). Rarely, however, has the experience of musical and non-musical sound been studied as a part of a global religious experience. The underlying principle of this project is that historical soundscapes and the policies regulating them must be understood within a complex symbolic and experiential system: in this case, the symbolic and experiential system of Catholicism.
Focusing mainly on the period 1550-1650, and going beyond the boundaries of ‘liturgical music’, I will explore this complex soundscape through a series of case studies, each introduced by a ‘scene’.