Sound and Emotion in Urban Ritual in Early Modern Spain
This paper considers how the historian might go beyond the study of urban ritual as representational to assess its impact on participants and spectators through analysis of the social and cultural processes that lay behind that experience, and of the perceptual discourses that gave it meaning and significance for all those present. It takes as a starting-point three basic premises: first, that urban processions were quintessentially performative acts with a dynamic fluidity that generated multiple simultaneous meanings and possible interpretations through their diverse sensory elements and the spaces through which they passed. Edward Muir describes how the senses were stimulated ‘through musical performances, artistic splendour and sumptuous display’ to make processions more attractive and memorable for the populace (Muir 2005 : 254), yet the contribution of sound, and specifically music, to that impact has been little analysed. Second, that in attempting to interrogate the experience of urban ritual in the past, a combined approach to historical contextualisation of the senses and of the emotions is desirable, as recently advocated by Rob Boddice and Mark Smith with regard to historical experience in general, which, in their words: ‘was constructed out of situated feelings, admixtures of situated historical affective categories that do not make sense considered simply as “emotion” or “sense” (Boddice & Smith 2020: 1). Third, that in terms of situating the performative experience of historical processions, I suggest it might be useful to bring together the notion of acoustic communities from Sound Studies with that of emotional communities from History of Emotions. Brief case studies of different types of processions held in early modern Spain with be considered from these perspectives.
Prof. dr. Tess Knighton is an ICREA Research Professor affiliated to the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and an Emeritus Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. She is also founder and co-editor (with Helen Deeming) of the Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music series for The Boydell Press (from 2003). Since her doctoral thesis on music and musicians at the court of Ferdinand of Aragon (1984), she has focused her research on the music and culture of late medieval and early modern Spain, and has published widely in that area. Recent publications include Companion to Music in the Time of the Catholic Monarchs (Brill, 2017) and, with Kenneth Kreitner, The Music of Juan de Anchieta (Routledge, 2021). Since she moved to Barcelona in 2011, she has carried out new archival research relating to daily musical life in the urban context, and co-edited (with Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita) the collection of essays entitled Hearing the City in Early Modern Europe (Brepols, 2018). She is currently PI of an ERC Advanced Grant project (ERC-2021-ADG, no.101054069) entitled: How Processions Moved: Sound and Space in the Performance of Urban Ritual, c.1400-c.1700.
Universidad de Utrecht, Lectura annual de Prof. dr. Tess Knighton
Fecha: El 23/05/2023 a las 17:15
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Lugar: Grote Zaal (Theaterzaal), Kromme Nieuwegracht 20, Utrecht (Países Bajos)
Universiteit Utrecht, Jaarlijkse lezing door Prof. dr. Tess Knighton
Datum: 23/05/2023, 17:15
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Locatie: Grote Zaal (Theaterzaal), Kromme Nieuwegracht 20, Utrecht