Dr Jason Stoessel, Lecturer in Music, School of Arts, UNE, will present in the 2017 School of Arts Research Seminar series on Thursday, 21 September 2017, between 12.00 pm  and 1.00 pm in Arts Lecture Theatre 2 (A2), Arts Building (E11).

Title: Canons in the Musico-Visual Culture of Early Sixteenth-Century Italy

Filippo Mazzola

Filippo Mazzola, Portrait of a Man (Composer-theorist Nicola Burzio?), c. 1505. Parma, Galleria Nazionale. https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filippo_Mazzola#/media/File:Filippo_Mazzola_001.jpg. Public Domain.

In his Le istitutioni harmoniche, Gioseffo Zarlino (1517–1590) frequently celebrates the canonic works of Adrian Willaert (c.1490–1562). This paper interprets Zarlino’s enthusiasm for his teacher’s music in light of earlier sixteenth-century visual culture. In addition to the presence of Willaert and other composers at the culturally vibrant northern Italian court of Ferrara during this time, court painters Dosso Dossi and Titian, as well as artists active in nearby ecclesiastical contexts, depicted musical canons in their artworks. For a musically literate viewer, notated canons at the centre of mythical and theological scenes played a crucial role in the experience of viewing and indeed hearing these paintings through imagined or remembered auditory images. As both visual indices and auditory images, canons served as enduring musico-visual vehicles of symbolic meaning in the following decades. With the intention of progressing the scholarship of H. Colin Slim, Howard Mayer Brown, Lewis Lockwood and most recently Tim Shephard, I will outline a shift in historical understanding that situates canonic techniques at the intersection of changing musical aesthetics and patterns of consumption in the early sixteenth-century.


To see upcoming seminars in 2017, please visit the Seminars & Public Lectures page.