Giving Form to Fifteenth-Century Music
Jesse Rodin is Associate Professor of Music at Stanford University and co-editor of the Journal of Musicology. He has published widely on fifteenth-century music. He is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the American Musicological Society, and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. He directs the Josquin Research Project (http://josquin.stanford.edu), a digital tool for exploring a large corpus of Renaissance music, and the vocal ensemble Cut Circle (http://cutcircle.org). Cut Circle’s recent album of works by Du Fay (Guillaume Du Fay : Les messes à teneur, 2016) received the Prix Olivier Messiaen from the Académie du Disque Lyrique, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, and a Diapason d’Or.
How does late-medieval music happen in time? My project, titled Giving Form to Fifteenth-Century Music, creates an analytical methodology for understanding musical form. Moving beyond a scholarly tradition rooted too much in abstract formalisms and note counting, I draw on close readings, corpus study (bolstered by digital tools), and performance to explore the music’s moment-to-moment flow. The project takes its inspiration from contemporary discourses about time-bound aesthetic experiences in the literary and visual arts while registering an important shift to a “clock-bound” way of life that occurred during this period. Treating music alongside feasts, jousts, paintings, buildings, and liturgy, I adopt a multidisciplinary, analogic approach that aims to bring us closer than ever before to the experiences of late-medieval musicians and listeners. It also asks us to think harder about our own fragmented, accelerated temporality.