ART History and SOund LEcture Series

Architecture and Music in Renaissance Venice

Thursday, 21 November 2013

18.00, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Choir recital in the Frari, Venice
Palestrina, Gloria: Assumpta est Maria, St John’s College choir in concert, Venice, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, 10 April 2007

Speaker(s): Deborah Howard (University of Cambridge)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Irene Noy and Michaela Zoschg with Dr Katie Scott  Contact:

This lecture explores the relationship between innovations in architecture and musical composition in Renaissance Venice. It seeks to show how the soundscape of a church interior was as important as the formal and liturgical aspects of the design. This was the setting for the introduction of coro spezzato (divided choir) polyphony, which anticipated modern stereo sound. How could the intricacies of such complex musical compositions be appreciated in large reverberant churches? The talk will present the results of a recent interdisciplinary research project on the acoustics of Venetian Renaissance churches.

Deborah Howard is Professor of Architectural History at the University of Cambridge, where she is also a Fellow of St John’s College. Her most recent books are Sound and Space in Renaissance Venice (with Laura Moretti) and Venice Disputed: Marc’Antonio Barbaro and Venetian Architecture 1550-1600.

Following the workshop series Art History and Sound: The Listening Art Historian, this lecture series sets out to continue exploring the aural in art history. In three lectures to be held at The Courtauld Institute of Art during the autumn term 2013, art historians working in different areas and media will discuss the topic of sound and art history from a methodological point of view and engage the audience via a relevant expertise they have gained in their particular research field. The lectures will address topics related to both historical and contemporary instances of sound in art history, and present theoretical and methodological inquiries arising from this preoccupation.

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