Andrew Dell'Antonio

in Listening as Spiritual Practice in Early Modern Italy

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520269293
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950108 | DOI:

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Leaders of the post-Tridentine Catholic Reformation understood the role of visual art as entirely bound to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the sacred and placed the ultimate onus of that understanding on the properly disposed recipient. They also set about positing musical experience and most crucially the listener's appropriate parsing of that experience, as a privileged path to union with the divine. A focused approach to musical realization developed primarily in elite roman circles, in the first decades of the seventeenth century. One of the central contentions of this study is that the nonspecificity of musical description in seventeenth-century accounts can be read as a purposeful strategy on the part of some writers to establish a non-technical musical-descriptive frame. The chapter illustrates this elite discourse on listening as a “spiritual practice” because the individuals whose writings are examined describe the phenomenon of listening as an active, carefully applied process that is designed to establish a privileged connection with the divine.

Keywords: listening as spiritual practice; Tridentine Catholic Reformation; musical-descriptive frame; the divine; roman circles

Chapter.  5983 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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