Marks of Music: Sound and Visualization in the Early Modern Period


  • Public event without registration
  • Start: May 17, 2023 02:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • End: May 19, 2023 01:00 PM
  • Speaker: Workshop
  • Location: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, RM 00187 Rome. In person and online
  • Contact:
Marks of Music: Sound and Visualization in the Early Modern Period
“Marks of Music: Sound and Visualization in the Early Modern Period” is an interdisciplinary workshop on the manifold uses and trajectories of notating and visualizing music in the early modern period.

During this time, music notation became increasingly standardized and started to resemble more closely what most people recognize today. Nonetheless, music notation was never a stable object and its history is not linear. This workshop goes beyond simply tracing how notation formats arrived at their current forms; rather, it explores the cultures and practices surrounding the concept of “notation” throughout the early modern period. Among natural philosophers, mathematicians, physicians and court composers, music notation was put to various uses and can be considered within broader scribal cultures. By expanding the understanding of notation across a wide variety of media and disciplines, this workshop builds on a growing body of literature on music notation and material culture, the complex relationship between the written and the oral, theories of notation between text, diagram, and image, and music notation as a technology with its own specific affordances and aims.

For participation via Zoom, please follow this link:


Wednesday 17th May

13:30: Coffee and registration

14:00: Welcome: Sietske Fransen and Leendert van der Miesen

Notes in Folds and Margins (Chair: Torben Hanhart – Bibliotheca Hertziana)

14:30: Donatella Melini (University of Pavia): “I send you a song”! Music in Folded Letters in Artworks Between the 15th and 16th Centuries”

15:15: Sergio Taddei (University of Florence): “Alla Fiera, alla Fiera! Street Vendors’ Musical and Iconographical Representation in Early Modern Italy”

16:00: Coffee Break

Notation in Language Learning and Recipe Books (Chair: Sietske Fransen)

16:30: Elisabeth Giselbrecht (King’s College London): “Musical Notation in Early Modern Language Teaching”

17:15: Sarah Koval (Harvard University): “Music Notation in Recipe Books: Household Music Cultures in Seventeenth-Century England” (Online)

19:30. Evening programme: public presentation by the composer Samir Amarouch (Villa Médicis – Académie de France à Rome)

Thursday 18th May

Thinking with Notes (Chair: Stephanie Wisowaty – Bibliotheca Hertziana)

09:30 Wolfgang Fuhrmann (University of Leipzig): “Writing Music, Thinking Serially: Compositional Media Awareness 1300–1550”

10:15 Philippa Ovenden (I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies): “Visualising Cognition in Johannes Vetulus de Anagnia’s Liber de musica

11:00 Coffee break

Identity and Mediality (Chair: Leendert van der Miesen)

11:30 Matteo Nanni (University of Hamburg): “Reading Music in Early Quattrocento. Mediality and Transcriptivity of Musical Notation”

12:15 Eva Veselovská (Slovak Academy of Sciences): “Bohemian Notation in Late Mediaeval Manuscripts of Central Europe as the Bearer of Identity”

13:00 Lunch (speakers only)

Notation between Orality and Literacy (Leendert van der Miesen)

14:00 Mona Mirkamali (Humboldt University of Berlin): “Orality and Literacy in Persian Music”

14:45: Judith I. Haug (Orient-Institut Istanbul): “Ottoman Empire and Joseon Korea: Two Different Attitudes towards Writing Music” (Online)

15:30: Coffee break

Reading and Legibility (Chair: Ariella Minden – Bibliotheca Hertziana)

16:00: Fabio Morabito (University of Alberta): “On Keepings Things as Book”

16:45: Eleanor Chan (University of Manchester): “{Not}ation: The Visual Cultures of Musical Il/legibility in the English Renaissance”

20:00: Concert at Istituto Sacro Cuore at Trinità dei Monti in collaboration with Villa Médicis – Académie de France à Rome and Comunità dell’Emmanuele at Trinità dei Monti
Location: Istituto Sacro Cuore Trinità dei Monti. Registration mandatory, please see:

Horizons, for contratenor and trombone quartet (2023)
Commissioned by Radio France
Samir Amarouch
With a text by Laura Vazquez

John Dowland, court arias for lute & voice (XVIe)
Transcription by Samir Amarouch

By with Virigile Pellerin (contratenor), Lucas Ounissi (tenor & alto trombone), Benjamin Gallon (tenor & alto trombone), Pierrick Caboche (tenor trombone), Kévin Roby (bass trombone)

Friday 19th May

Notating Time and Space (Chair: Alejandro Nodarse – Bibliotheca Hertziana)

09:30: Matthew Champion (University of Melbourne): “Musicalising the Clock: Notes on Notating the Sounds of Time”

10:15: Martin Raspe (Bibliotheca Hertziana): “Imitation and Symmetry: Common Design Principles in Roman Vocal Polyphony and Architecture”

11:00: Coffee break

11:30: Sean O’Neil (Hong Kong Baptist University): “Music Notation as Epistemic Justification for Competing Aesthetics of Dance in Eighteenth-Century Europe”

12:15: Closing: Sietske Fransen and Leendert van der Miesen

Scientific Organization: Leendert van der Miesen and Sietske Fransen, as part of the Max Planck Research Group “Visualizing Science in Media Revolutions”

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