Sounding Resemblances: Music and Ritual in Late-Medieval Venice and its Maritime Colonies, 1204-1450


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project demonstrates music’s role in refining a theology and politics of the voice in late-medieval Venice and its growing empire in the Greek-speaking world, and shows how the Republic imagined song to effect spiritual change in its leaders and institutions. Vocal performances as diverse as stylized cheering, plainchant, simple polyphony, and the erudite motets of Ciconia and contemporaries all emerge as expressions of the voice’s perceived ability to channel divine powers through political leaders, or to transform sacred objects into agents of government. Examining how these same repertoires were reimagined within the Orthodox rituals of Venice’s Greek communities, this project addresses the function of music within the power structures of an increasingly international and multi-faith Mediterranean.