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Great Lovers of Compendia: The Study of Music in Mid-Fifteenth-Century Ferrara

Thu, March 26, 10:15 to 11:45am, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, Floor: Second Floor, 3059


The re-opening of the Ferrarese Studio in the 1440s brought hundreds of students to Ferrara from afar for lectures by Guarino of Verona, his son Battista Guarini, Lodovico Carbone, and Theodore Gaza. This talk will explore the prose and poetry of these and other humanistic scholars working in Ferrara for their discussions of musicians and the history and theory of music. Modeling themselves on ancient scholars like Aulus Gellius, Pliny the Elder, and Macrobius, humanistic scholars treasured their notebooks, which were often either summaries of one’s reading or an anthology of relevant or remarkable excerpts. The methods of proper reading and note-taking promoted by contemporary educational treatises will be appraised, showing how these practices influenced the copying and circulation of at least four surviving sources of music theory produced in Ferrara, including two manuscript sources that were originally one volume and only later unbound and separated.