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Monday, February 11, 2019 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library


We will be welcoming Kate van Orden for a talk entitled: “Cutting Class: Music in Renaissance Schoolbooks.” Kate writes:

This talk takes two little riff-raff books as the starting point for a discussion of music-making by students at collège. Both are octavo schoolbooks that were interfoliated with blank pages designed for note-taking, one of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (Paris, 1576) and the other of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Frankfurt, 1563). The students who owned these books apparently preferred music to their official studies, for they filled the pages with intabulations for lute and cittern, songs of various sorts, and love letters. I discuss the material logic of format and genre that governed these motley pairings of scholarly texts and music, the failure of modern catalogues to render these books discoverable as musical manuscripts, and their disproportionate quantities of music for cittern, a sort of Renaissance banjo that seems to have been more popular than music historians have realized. 

A musicologist and musician, Kate van Orden is Dwight P. Robinson Jr. Professor of Music at Harvard University. Her books include Music, Discipline, and Arms in Early Modern France (2005), which won the Lewis Lockwood Award from the American Musicological Society, and a series of books on print culture, including (ed.) Music and the Cultures of Print (2000), with an afterword by Roger Chartier; Music, Authorship, and the Book in the First Century of Print (2014); and Materialities: Books, Readers, and the Chanson in Sixteenth-Century Europe (2015), which won the bi-annual book prize from the Society for Renaissance Studies. As a professional performer on the baroque and classical bassoon, she can be heard on over 60 recordings on labels such as Sony, Virgin Classics, Teldec, and Harmonia Mundi.


All are welcome! Those who do not hold University of Pennsylvania ID cards should bring another form of photo identification in order to enter the library building.