Book Series Epitome musical

Hearing the City in Early Modern Europe

Tess Knighton, Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita (eds)

  • Pages: 428 p.
  • Size:190 x 290 mm
  • Illustrations:65 b/w, 11 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2018

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57959-7
  • Paperback
  • Available

A major new contribution to the study and understanding of the soundscapes of the early modern city.


Hearing the City is thus a major contribution at several levels. It re-addresses existing literature from different perspectives as well as covers cities and material not previously treated. Methodologically it both captures current trends as well as stimulates future research. It is accessibly written and beautifully produced. As such, it should be of major interest to all scholars and students, whatever their discipline, who are concerned with the embedding of sonic phenomena within the urban fabric.” (David J. Burn, in Europe Now, 2/4/2019)

“The volume does not only offer a varied sampling of current approaches to historical soundscapes but also sketches valuable directions in which to take future scholarship. An important contribution to broader scholarly trajectories exploring the multisensorial experiences of early modern worlds, it promises to become essential reading for all those who wish to embark on historical soundscape studies.” (Emanuela Vai, in Renaissance Quarterly, LXXII/3, 2019, p. 1121)

Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita's article "The Contribution of the Requesens Noblewomen to the Soundscape of Sixteenth-Century Barcelona Through the Palau de la Comtessa" was highly commended in the competition of the 2020 Pauline Alderman Awards for Outstanding Scholarship on Women in Music:

"This book chapter is a fascinating look at the inner musical workings of an urban soundscape, examining the influence noblewomen had on musicking activities in 16th-century Barcelona. Adjudicators described it as “original, thoroughly reseached, and very enjoyable to read.”




Tess Knighton is an ICREA Research Professor affiliated to the Institució Milà i Fontanals–CSIC in Barcelona. Her research focuses on court and urban musical culture in the early modern Iberian world. Her most recent publications include 'Els sons de Barcelona a l'edat moderna' (MUHBA, 2016) and 'Companion to Music in the Age of the Catholic Monarchs' (Brill, 2017). Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.. Her research focuses on music books, women and music in urban festivities in the early modern Iberian world, and in Spanish folk music. Her publications include the monograph 'Artes de canto en el mundo ibérico renacentista' (SEdeM, 2014).


Hearing the City is a major new contribution to the field of urban musicology in the early modern period with twenty-one essays by leading figures in the field from Europe, the USA and Australia. The urban soundscape is studied from a range of different interdisciplinary perspectives, and its scope is broad, from the major role of city minstrels in fifteenth-century Viennese urban identity to the civic problems presented by the location of opera houses in Enlightenment Naples. The individual contributions explore themes related to the complex relationships between sound and space within the urban context and between social identity and civic authorities and draw on a wide range of source material from city pay documents and legislation to contemporaneous accounts, correspondence, travel writing, religious and moral tracts, fictional writing and architectural legacy. Aspects of urban soundscapes both specific and common to Naples, Rome, Palermo, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Lisbon, London, Vienna, Hamburg and Zurich are analyzed in their broader socio-cultural contexts, as well as the dynamic networks between cities in Europe and beyond. These case studies are framed by Tim Carter's stimulating introduction to the development of historical urban sound studies and a coda in the form of a discussion as to how the results of urban musicology might be applied through a digital platform to reach beyond academic discourse to involve modern citizens in hearing the soundworlds of the past.



Tim Carter, Hearing and Listening: Some Problems for the Urban Musicologist

Crossing Boundaries

Dinko Fabris, Urban Musicologies
David Irving, Hearing Other Cities: The Role of Seaborne Empires and Colonial Emporia in Early Modern Musical Exchange
Juan José Carreras, Topography, Sound and Music in Eighteenth-Century Madrid
Bruce Smith, Sounding Shakespeare’s London: The Noisy Politics of Ceremonial Entries
Helen Hills, Veiling the Voice of Architecture

 Sounds in Contention: Musical Repertories and Genres in Contested Urban Spaces

Jan-Friedrich Missfelder, Sounds and Silences of Reformation Zurich, 1524-71
Joachim Kremer, Musical Experience in Urban Societies in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries: Communication, Moral Issues and Musical Townscape
Mélanie Traversier, Music as Dangerous Urban Leisure: Safety in and around Public Theatres in Enlightenment Naples
Anna Tedesco, Shaping the Urban Soundscape in Spanish Palermo
Andrea Bombi, Cantaron a no más, or Musical Changes in Eighteenth-Century Spain as Constructed Through Valencian relaciones de fiestas

Soundworlds and Spatial Strategies of the Social Elite

Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita, The Contribution of the Requesens Noblewomen to    the Soundscape of Sixteenth-Century Barcelona Through the Palau de la Comtessa
Anne-Madeleine Goulet, Music in Late Seventeenth-Century Rome: The Palazzo Orsini as a Performance Space
Ferran Escrivà, The Procession of the Relics of São Roque (Lisbon, 1588): A Royal Entry?
Javier Marín, Music Regulations and Sacred Repertories in a Ducal Town Without a Duke: Francisco de los Cobos and the Sacra Capilla of El Salvador in Sixteenth-Century Úbeda

Case Studies in Urban Soundscapes

Reinhard Strohm, On the Soundscape of Fifteenth-Century Vienna
Tess Knighton, Orality and Aurality: Contexts for the Unwritten Musics of Sixteenth-Century Barcelona
Ilaria Grippaudo, Music, Religious Communities and the Urban Dimension: Sound Experiences in Palermo in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
María Gembero, Re-Mapping Urban Music in Spanish Regional Contexts: The Case of Navarre (Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries)
Peter Holman, ‘A Vast Number of Voices and Instruments’: The Performance of Large-Scale Concerted Music in Early Eighteenth-Century London


Juan Ruiz Jiménez & Ignacio José Lizarán Rus, Historical Soundscapes (c. 1200-c. 1800): An On-Line Digital Platform