IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 805: Medieval Soundscapes: Orderly and Unruly Sounds and Silences

Tuesday 10 July 2012, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Medieval & Renaissance Drama Society
Organiser:Pamela M. King, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol
Moderator/Chair:Philip Butterworth, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 805-aWhat Did a Medieval Religious Soundscape Look Like?
(Language: English)
Beth Williamson, Department of History of Art, University of Bristol
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Art History - General, Liturgy, Religious Life
Paper 805-bTudor Musical Theatre: The Sounds of Religious Change in Ralph Roister Doister
(Language: English)
Katherine Steele Brokaw, School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts, University of California, Merced
Index terms: Liturgy, Music, Performance Arts - Drama, Religious Life
Paper 805-cThe Employment and Deployment of 'Loud Music' by Kings and Courts as a Weapon of Influence and Domination
(Language: English)
Frances Eustace, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol
Index terms: Music, Social History

Musicologists who have formerly had trouble with non-notated sound, are moving into theorising the ‘soundscape’. Cultural historians from various
disciplinary backgrounds meet them to engage in exchanges which are a theorised thought-experiment; we may know what things looked like but
how did they sound? A range of performance possibilities presents itself: for example the early morning liturgy in the monastery, bells, the sound of pipe and tabor played for dancers, the preaching friar’s sermon at the market cross, a proclamation, even a play. Soundscape includes everything from the highly stylised and musical to ambient noise,with a number of points between, but also with significant absences and silences. What were and/or were considered loud noises? How did people listen?