The Unwritten in Sources of Notated Music: Reconstruction, Editing, Interpretation, and Extrapolations

Paris, June 6 – 7, 2019

Entretiens sur la Musique Ancienne en Sorbonne, Doctoral Days, 16th edition

Institut de Recherche en Musicologie (IReMus) · Sorbonne Université – UFR de Musique et Musicologie · Association Musique Ancienne en Sorbonne · École Doctorale V Concepts et langages

The Call for Papers is available at:

Call for papers

All musical notation is addressed to readers who understand the corresponding reading codes. Beyond the graphic markings, many implicit elements are required to be able to make music from a notated source (play the score). In general, the copyist or the author does not bother to specify what is self-evident in a given time and context, which might not necessarily be evident for the interpreter of today. Early musical notation is generally relatively ‘open’ and allows the performer to adapt the work to the context of its performance. In other words, the opposition between written and unwritten does not entirely cover the questions raised by interpretive objectivity versus subjectivity, or what is fixed versus the improvised.

From these very general observations, numerous questions can be raised:

– potential versatility of the musical source, open instrumentations;

– determination of ensemble sizes and of instrumental combinations from complementary sources (iconography, chronicles, ceremonials, etc.);

– arrangement and related practices(including transcription and adaptation);

– divergent sources and interpretative issues (with or without ornamentation, with or without thoroughbass, handwritten additions on early sources, etc.);

– interests and limits of the instructions given by treatises and instrumental tutors;

– thinking about the ‘authentic’ sound of early music: taking into account historical performance conditions and spaces, history of listening;

– application of intuitive rules and implicit (nonetheless respected) practices, exceptional ‘licenses’ and usual ‘routines’; empirical and / or intuitive practices theorized (sometimes) a posteriori (musical rhetoric, theory of the fundamental bass).

These topics invite us to study and comment on the way in which the interpreter’s liberties can be managed in relation to the written source in a historically informed performance of early music.

Keywords: musical notation, orality, improvisation, empiricism, reconstruction, paratexts, listening, historically informed performance, vocality, musical analysis and rhetoric

Proposals accepted until Monday, April 1, 2019 to

Proposals must include a title, a summary of about 250 words and a biographical note of about 100 words.

Doctoral Days, 16th edition, organized by Jean-Christophe Frisch, Théodora Psychoyou and Anna Schivazappa

Scientific Committee: Catherine Deutsch, Jean-Christophe Frisch, Raphaëlle Legrand, Katarina Livljanić, Theodora Psychoyou and Anna Schivazappa