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Women in Conventual Spaces and the Music Networks of Early Modern Barcelona

Sat, March 24, 9:00 to 10:30am, Hilton Riverside Complex, Steering Room


Urban convents in Renaissance Spain were places where, through diverse musics and sounds, the distinction between private and public, and between religious and civic lives, was blurred. It is at these points of overlap that traces of women’s musical practices emerge, challenging the phenomenon of lost women's voices in music history. This paper explores how the convents active in Barcelona in the sixteenth century were involved in the music networks operating in the city and how women contributed to musical life using these spaces. Some of these convents were very centrally located, near the main centers of musical activity in Barcelona, and they were important settings for social networking and meetings between nuns and secular women, who were able to display social status through devotional musical celebrations. The musical symbiosis between convents and their urban surroundings also shows the deep integration of music in the aural experience of Barcelona citizens.


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