Tag Archives: Speculum Musicae

Thinking back on this year’s AMS/SMT/SEM meeting

It’s been a week since the New Orleans conference. It definitely was a bit of a blur – I was getting over a horrible cold and as a result waded through the three-day crush in somewhat of a foggy-headed stupor. I had one very pleasant interview, met several colleagues whose acquaintances I was quite anxious to make, saw some old friends, mentors, and colleagues, and enjoyed some decent local cuisine. Never enough time to catch up with everyone you’d like, though!

A few thoughts on the papers and panels that stuck out to me the most:

1) Margaret Bent’s paper on Jacobus of Liège – or is he from “Hispania?” This, to me, was one of the more intriguing papers of the conference, since she succinctly summarized the history of what knowledge we have about Jacobus (not much, to be sure) but added a new piece of evidence. A new source refers to him as “de Hispania,” which means that our former association of him “de montibus” must not refer to Liège but to another mountainous region either in Spain proper (the Pyrenees?) or, as I asked afterward, perhaps even the Franco-Italian border. I’m really looking forward to this article (as I hope/assume that it will be published) or to hearing more about any findings on the matter …

2) Karen Desmond’s paper on the collection of treatises with the incipit “Omni desideranti notitiam” – formerly associated with the Vitryan Ars Nova, but we now know (or think we know) that there is no such thing. However, she proposes that it has particular ties to the Speculum Musicae, and suggests that it was this treatise, not an “Ars Nova,” that may have been by Vitry – lots of work to be done here. A little wistful/saddened that she didn’t wade into the waters of dating and offer a reassessment, but I’m not sure I want to open that can of worms just yet either! Her online critical edition is superb! — http://arsmusicae.org/home.html

3) the Soul Music panel – a conglomeration of speakers and a group discussion on the historiography of and current research on soul music. Fascinating looks at the unsung (pun intended) participants in the burgeoning soul music phenomenon, the history of the use of the word ‘soul,’ and some incredibly intriguing look at who has access to certain types of study. The group discussion revealed continuing senses of white guilt, issues of patriarchy, colonialism, gender dichotomies, and the current state of the field of musicology – unfortunately, I had to leave this discussion early, but I had to pull myself away. I’m going to be chasing down the Blossoms, Merry Clayton, and Clydie King over the next few weeks!

Already looking forward to next year …


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