Composer(s) in the Middle Ages

Conference - Université de Rouen, 23 to 24 May 2019

Organisers: Gaël Saint-Cricq (Université de Rouen, GrHis), Anne-Zoé Rillon-Marne (Université Catholique de l’Ouest, CESM)

Conference Committee: Étienne Anheim (EHESS), Catherine Bradley (University of Oslo) Helen Deeming (Royal Holloway), David Fiala (Université de Tours), Elizabeth Lalou (Université de Rouen), Yolanda Plumley (University of Exeter)

Beyond a few well-known figures, the identity and personality of the composers of medieval music cannot be easily unravelled. The very notion of “composer” remains awkward to deploy, owing to the paucity of source attributions, the dearth of documentation about those who composed music, and the open and collective nature of compositional modes in the Middle Ages. In fact, our approach to medieval music has long stayed clear of the question of the author identity, and has de facto headed more willingly towards the study of the compositional processes and performance practices, or has favoured such notions as genre, register, repertoire, etc. The conference proposes to take stock of this situation and revisit the question of authorship in light of recent scholarship; it invites us to reconsider and expand the notion of composer as an alternative tool of analysis and comprehension of the medieval repertories.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

1. Identified composers: new bibliographical approaches, historiographical criticism, prosopography;

2. Anonymous composers: methods and tools for the identification of composer hands;

3. Hidden composers: recomposition, adaptations, additions, scribal reworkings;

4. Composers as a social and cultural group: anthropological, cultural and social approaches of musical creation;

5. Proclaimed composers: sense and modalities of source attributions, questions of authorship;

6. Composers in a network: encounters and filiations of composers through quotation and citation;

7. Composers as objects of manuscripts: the emergence of single-author collections and manuscripts by the end of the Middle Ages, compendia characterized by an emphasis on author identity and author corpus

Proposals are welcome for individual papers (30 minutes’ duration, to be followed by 10 minutes for discussion). Abstracts (up to 500 words) should be submitted to conference.compositeurs.rouen -at-, and should include the name of the author(s), contact details and affiliation (if any). Abstracts and presentations can be in French or in English.

Submission deadline: October 21st, 2018


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