Musicologie Médiévale

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Notarum figura: music writing and the world of signs in the 9th century/l'écriture musicale et le monde des signes au 9e siècle

Event Details

Notarum figura: music writing and the world of signs in the 9th century/l'écriture musicale et le monde des signes au 9e siècle

Time: June 16, 2011 to June 17, 2011
Location: Centre d'Etudes Medievales - Auxerre
Street: 3, Place du Coche d'Eau - 89000
City/Town: Auxerre
Event Type: atelier
Organized By: Eduardo Henrik Aubert
Latest Activity: Jun 11, 2011

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Event Description

Notarum figura: music writing and the world of signs in the 9th century

(Workshop – Auxerre, Centre d’Etudes Médiévales, 16-17 June 2011)

Organisation: Eduardo Henrik Aubert (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris)

Scientific Committee: David Ganz (King’s College, London), Herbert L. Kessler (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD) and Susan K. Rankin (Cambridge University)


When the author(s) of the treatise De musica disciplina employed the expression notarum figura to refer to music writing in the mid 9th century, he placed notation within the realm of a vast array of written marks which were also referred to by the term of nota: prosodic signs, punctuation marks, among many others. Resorting to the word figura in the same expression – and also forma – further enlarges the field by bringing notation potentially in contact with the entire domain of forms that are made visible.

Such connections have often been acknowledged by scholars, but they have also given rise to problematic explanations – e.g. theories concerning the origins of neumatic notation which hypothesized the strict dependence of notation on other kinds of notae such as accents or punctuation marks. The challenge is to be able to account for connections without resorting to a simple reduction of music writing to other kinds of notae and/or figurae.

The purpose of this workshop is to investigate such dialectical connections in the earliest corpus of music writing in the West, i.e. the notated sources of the 9th and early 10th centuries as well as contemporary texts and images that may shed light on them. Music writing is here to be seen as related to what could be termed “the world of signs” in the 9th and early 10th centuries, the diverse set of visual marks that are given meaning in relation to each other according to specific and historical understandings of what a sign is (be it the more restricted notae or the broader figurae).

The many questions that could give rise to specific papers include: the early terminology of music writing and its philosophical import; early music writing and modern sign theories; the compared evolution of music writing and other sign systems; music writing and the Carolingian debates on images; manuscript studies of the interaction of music writing with other visual marks; music writing and calligraphic ornamentation; music writing and the selection and ordering of information, etc.

Paper proposals must be sent to before 31 October 2010. Each proposal should have between 1200 and 1500 characters (spaces included) and must contain the author’s name, affiliation and email address. The scientific committee will read all proposals and will reply within 30 days after the final deadline. Each speaker will have 40 minutes to talk and the final papers should be submitted one month before the workshop to be read by the other participants. Papers can be submitted in any of the following languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. There is no inscription fee and the Centre d’Etudes Médiévales will provide free accommodation and meals for all participants.

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Comment by Dominique Gatté on April 26, 2010 at 19:43
Comment by Eduardo Henrik Aubert on April 25, 2010 at 19:50
CORRECTION: Par erreur de diffusion, le comité scientifique est incomplet dans le message prédédent. Il est complété par Marie-Noël Colette (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris)

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