41894 - History of Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Music

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Cultural Heritage (cod. 9076)

Learning outcomes

The course provides an overview of the main events and problems of music history from antiquity to Renaissance, supplemented by commented readings and guided listening.

Once the bibliographic reference tools have been acquired, at the end of the course the student is able to understand the historical dynamics and to orient himself among the main musical genres and contexts.


Course contents

The course will be organized in two sections.

1. Events and questions of Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance history of music.

The first part of the course will include some general framing lessons introducting to the main events, authors and contexts of musical production and execution from Antiquity to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

2. Musical images, sounds and representations in the Italian Courts during the Renaissance.

The monographic section of the course will be devoted to the varied musical production promoted in Italy by the Italian courts during the Fifteenth and early-Sixteenth centuries. The affirmation of new professional figures (such as the professional composer and the dance teacher), the progressive definition of 'Nordic' and humanistic repertoires, the retrieval of performance practices inspired by the ancient myths and the diffusion of the dance in the courtly feasts and representations, will be exemplified through examples of musical and theatrical performances relating to the Courts of Urbino, Pesaro, Naples, Ferrara, Mantua and Milan.

 Both the general and the specialized part will be integrated by reading of texts, projection of images and guided listening of medieval and Renaissance music.

The course will be held in the first semester.


1. General section

M. CARROZZO-C. CIMAGALLI, Storia della musica occidentale, vol.1, Roma, Armando editore, 1998, cap. 11 (pp.191-206), 14 (pp. 243-256), 15 (pp. 257-271);

F.A. GALLO, Music of the Middle Ages II, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1985, p. 29-51; 53-76; 77-107.

2. Monographic section

N. PIRROTTA, Music and Cultural Tendencies in 15th-century Italy, 'Journal of the American Musicological Society' XIX (1966), pp. 127-161;

N. GUIDOBALDI, La musica di Federico. Immagini e suoni alla corte di Urbino, Firenze, Olschki, 1995, pp.75-98;

B. SPARTI, Dancing in Fifteenth-century Italian Society, in Guglielmo Ebreo da Pesaro. De Pratica seu arte tripudi. On the practice or art of dancing, Barbara Sparti ed., Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1993, pp. 47-63.

Suggested readings:

G. COMOTTI, La musica nella cultura greca e romana, Corriere della Sera / EDT,2018;

G. CATTIN, La monodia nel medioevo, Corriere della Sera/EDT, 2018;

F. A. GALLO, Dal Duecento al Quattrocento (§ 3 : I letterati e l' immaginario musicale : idee e suoni), in Teatro, Musica, Tradizione dei Classici, Torino, Einaudi, 1986, pp. 245-263 (Letteratura italiana, VI);

F. A. GALLO, Musica e storia tra Medioevo e età moderna, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1986;

L. LOCKWOOD, Music in Renaissance Ferrara 1400-1505, Oxford University Press, 1984;

I. FENLON, Music and Patronage in sixteenth-century Mantua, Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Teaching methods

Readings and seminars; the course will also include guided listening to antique, medieval and Renaissance music.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview aimed at assessing the critical and methodological skills and knowledge acquired by the student, who will be invited to confront the texts, the themes and the methodological issues faced during the course and during the seminars.

Attending students will be required to elaborate an individual job, to be agreed with the teacher and presented in seminar form during the last lessons of the course.

Non-attending students are required to read the texts listed in  the bibliography (sections 1 and 2), and are invited to contact the teacher to agree a personalized work program for the examination.

The assessment of the exam will take into account, in particular, the student's ability to use readings, sources, and exam bibliography to illustrate contents and issues, and to establish links between them .

The examinator will therefore assess the mastery of the content and the ability to synthesize and analyze the concepts, and the ability to express themselves in a language appropriated to the subject matter.

The student’s achievement of an organic vision of the themes dealt with in the lesson together with their critical use, good expressive mastery and specific language will be evaluated with excellence marks; the absence of a minimum acquisition of the course subject, combined with inadequate verbal expression and logical skills, will be evaluated with insufficient points. 

Teaching tools

PC, video projector, CD player.

Specific supports will be made available to students with DSA

Office hours

See the website of Nicoletta Guidobaldi


Quality education Gender equality

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.