[MEI-L] Public Lecture and Concert at MEC 2016

Andrew Hankinson andrew.hankinson at mail.mcgill.ca
Thu May 5 12:02:45 CEST 2016

Hi everyone,

I wanted to draw your attention to updated information on the conference website about a special event we will be hosting on the evening of Friday, 20 May, coinciding with the conclusion of MEC 2016. "2000 Years of Seeing Sounds: The Story of Music Notation" is a public lecture and concert, co-hosted by Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Karen Desmond and Montreal-based vocal ensemble VivaVoce, conducted by Peter Schubert.


Attendance is open to the general public, and admittance is free.

We are looking forward to welcoming you all in Montréal in just a few short weeks!



2000 Years of Seeing Sounds: The Story of Music Notation

How do we “see” sound? Digital encoding of music for computers is merely the most recent in a long line of methods for communicating music from one person to another. For centuries the only way people could share music was to transcribe sounds as visual symbols on parchment and paper. The Music Encoding Conference (May 17-20) ends in a whirlwind tour of the early methods of “seeing” sound, featuring discourse by Karen Desmond and musical illustrations by members of VivaVoce, conducted by Peter Schubert.

This live performance and dialogue will explore the earliest forms of notation — which is to say: from none at all; to the little mnemonic signs above words; through to the eleventh century where our present-day notation had in essence developed. The lecture illustrate how notation limited what tunes could be written, while on the other hand made possible crazy, complicated tunes. The examples will be sung and the notation displayed.

Date: May 20, 2016
Place: Redpath Hall, 3461 McTavish, Metro McGill
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Price: Free Admission

About Karen Desmond: Karen Desmond is a musicologist and medievalist whose research focuses on the intellectual and aesthetic experience of music in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. She is currently a Banting Fellow (awarded by the Canadian SSHRC) at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University. Her monograph—Ars nova in Music and Medieval Thought: Making it New, 1300-1350 (under contract with Cambridge University Press)—explores the cultural and intellectual contexts that saw the emergence of new music-theoretical currents in fourteenth-century France. Desmond’s research into music notation employs conceptual models and tools from other disciplines to describe the ways in which music changes over time. http://www.arsmusicae.org/wordpress

About Viva Voce: Each VivaVoce concert is a uniquely captivating experience. The award-winning ensemble seduces listeners with virtuosic performances while conductor Peter Schubert provides a “way in” to the music, revealing its secrets with wit and charm. Critics have praised the angelic purity of VivaVoce’s tone in Renaissance motets and the rigor and intensity of their performances of contemporary repertoire. Whether singing Josquin, Brahms, or Berio, VivaVoce embodies the essence of the composer’s intentions. http://www.vivavoce-montreal.com/

About Peter Schubert: Peter Schubert’s understanding of choral music is informed by his years of study with legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger, conducting study with Helmuth Rilling, and doctoral studies in music theory at Columbia University in New York City. A professor of music theory at McGill University since 1990, Schubert has published two textbooks on counterpoint and numerous articles on Renaissance music. Schubert has an astonishing ability to communicate complex and nuanced ideas about music in a way that charms both musical neophytes and experienced musicians.

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