Emma Dillon

in The Sense of Sound

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732951
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932061 | DOI:

Series: The New Cultural History of Music Series


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This chapter contrasts the sound of the everyday city with one of the more radical occurrences that could take place in that environment: the noisy ritual of charivari. The chapter begins with exploration of documentary records of charivari in synodal statutes, comparing them to records of permitted civic rituals, with particular attention to sonic prohibitions. It contrasts the ecclesiastical record with the highly contrived representation of charivari in the Roman de Fauvel, exposing the gap between charivaric sound and its written record. In illustrating how such transgressive sounds were translated into durable archive, it demonstrates how music itself was one surprising medium for representing charivari, and how there was an affinity between certain kinds of musical sounds and the unruly sonority of the living ritual.

Keywords: Charivari; Roman de Fauvel; motet; sottes chansons; fatras

Chapter.  13231 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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