Like most people living through the current Covid-19 pandemic, citizens of European cities in the late Middle Ages experienced ongoing fear of disease and death, the most prominent though far from only cause of which was bubonic plague. As Sarah Ann Long states at the beginning of her excellent study, “The disease first appeared in Western Europe in 1347, recurring every ten to fifteen years until well into the eighteenth century, and had a profound effect on the populace” (p. 1). The sprawling effects of bubonic plague on medieval European society are well known, but the impacts of plague and other diseases on musical practice specifically are still coming into focus.1 Long makes an important contribution to this field with a richly documented study of the ways in which confraternities—urban organizations including both professional “trade confraternities,” commonly known as guilds, and purely religious “devotional confraternities”—used liturgical music to beseech...
Music, Liturgy, and Confraternity Devotions in Paris and Tournai, 1300–1550, by Sarah Ann Long
DAVID J. ROTHENBERG is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of The Flower of Paradise: Marian Devotion and Secular Song in Medieval and Renaissance Music (Oxford University Press, 2011) and coeditor of Music and Culture in the Middle Ages and Beyond: Liturgy, Sources, Symbolism (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and the Oxford Anthology of Western Music, vol. 1, The Earliest Notations to the Early Eighteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2013; 3rd ed. in preparation).
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David J. Rothenberg; Music, Liturgy, and Confraternity Devotions in Paris and Tournai, 1300–1550, by Sarah Ann Long. Journal of the American Musicological Society 1 April 2022; 75 (1): 191–195. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2022.75.1.191
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