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Emily Zazulia (UC Berkeley): “The Fifteenth-Century Song-Mass: Pros and Cons”

This talk is free and open to the public.

Emily Zazulia is Associate Professor in the Department of Music at UC-Berkeley. Her research focuses on Medieval and Renaissance music-in particular, the intersection of musical style, complex notation, and intellectual history. Her first book, "Where Sight Meets Sound: The Poetics of Late-Medieval Music Writing" (Oxford, 2021), is a wide-ranging study of notational aesthetics in polyphonic music, ca. 1340-1510. For fifteenth-century composers, musical notation assumed a significance that would not be matched until the 20th century. In telling this story, she accounts for changes in thinking about music theory that made possible later modes of composition so invested in music's written form. By reconsidering the role of notation, she engages with questions of performance, transmission, ontology, and a late-medieval aesthetics that includes sight as well as sound.

Some of her current projects include the nature and meaning of difficulty in fifteenth-century music, repertories that cross the boundaries of the "sacred" and "secular", "courtly" and "popular", and in particular the ways they unsettle those categories. Her past publications publications have focused on the role of obscenity in 15th-century song, the L'homme armé tradition, the history of music theory, and Du Fay's Nuper rosarum flores.

In addition to teaching in the music department, Zazulia serves on the advisory board of Berkeley's program in Medieval Studies and is affiliated with the program in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies. Before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 2016, she taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania, and Haverford College.