Erika Supria Honisch deposited Music 547 Spring 2018—Sound, Music, Conflict, 1570–1750 in the group Music and Sound on Humanities Commons 6 months ago
What were the sounds of war in the early modern period? What were the sounds of peace? The period between 1570 and 1750—roughly coincident with the cultural era known in Western contexts as “the Baroque”—was characterized by almost continual conflict in Europe. Whether caught up in the French Wars of Religion, the English Civil War, the Thirty Years War, or the War of the Austrian Succession, Europe’s diverse citizens must have feared, with the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, that their lives were bound to be “poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Leviathan, 1651). Music written during this period was shaped by the depredations of war. It gave voice to hopes for peace, to joy at survival or victory, to grief at loss and devastation. But music, and sound more generally, did not merely reflect the tumultuous world around it. Trumpet blasts, motets, anthems, hymns, bells, artillery salvos—all of these sounds induced people to act: to take up arms, to pray, to give thanks for being spared, to celebrate a victory and, sometimes, to accommodate dissent.
his course focuses on the sounds and music of conflict during the Baroque period. Together, we’ll ask: What kinds of musical sounds represented conflict? What kinds of musical sounds promoted peace? How was music thought to work on its listeners? How can historically informed analysis illuminate music’s intended effects? Readings will include relevant primary source excerpts (e.g. Monteverdi, Kircher, Hobbes, Louis XIV, Schütz), sonically oriented musicological texts (Fisher, Leppert), and foundational work on music, power, conflict, and trauma (Daughtry, Van Orden, Fenlon, Weaver).