27112 - History of Music I: Middle Ages and Renaissance (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Cesarino Ruini

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/07

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Course Timetable from Jan 29, 2019 to Mar 21, 2019

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will:

- understand the interaction between the historical development of music and the different social and cultural contexts in Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance;

- develop the ability to interpret both direct and indirect examples of musical activity in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and place them in their historical context.

Course contents

A critical examination of the different understandings of the nature of music and the historical development of musical language and technique in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance based on a reading of contemporary material (theoretical treatises, reports, chronicles and letters written by people in the world of music).


- Musica e società, vol. 1: Dall'Alto Medievo al 1640, a cura di P. Fabbri e M. C. Bertieri, Milano, McGraw-Hill, 2012

- Two items to choose from: Atlante storico della musica nel Medioevo, ed. by V. Minazzi & C. Ruini, Milano, Jaca Book, 2011.

Students are required to supplement their preparation by reading one of the following texts:

- D. Hiley, Gregorian chant, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009;

- A.M. Busse Berger, Medieval Music and the Art of Memory, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2005;

- Guido d'Arezzo, Le opere, Introduzione, traduzione e commento a cura di A. Rusconi, Firenze, Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2005;

- F.A. Gallo, Trascrizione di Machaut. Remede de Fortune, Ecu bleu, Remede d'Amour, Ravenna, Longo, 1999;

- F.A. Gallo, Musica nel castello. Trovatori, libri, oratori nelle corti italiane dal XIII al XV secolo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1992;

- F.A. Gallo, Musica e storia tra Medio Evo e Età moderna, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1986;

- J.A. Owens, Composers at Work: The Craft of Musical C omposition, 1450-1600, New York - Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997;

- D. Leech-Wilkinson, The Modern Invention of Medieval Music: Scholarship, Ideology, Performance, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002;

- A. Fiori, Francesco Landini, Palermo, L'Epos, 2004;

- D. Fallows, Dufay, New York, Vintage books, 1988;.

- C. Fiore, Josquin des Prez, Palermo, L'Epos, 2003;

- M. Della Sciucca, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Palermo, L'Epos, 2009;

- P. Misuraca, Carlo Gesualdo Principe di Venosa, Palermo, L'Epos, 2000;

- P. Fabbri, Il madrigale tra Cinque e Seicento, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1988.


Teaching methods

Guided reading of texts about the life and work of musicians or the theory and practice of music in specific social contexts in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. These texts (most of them taken from the introduction of the various chapters of the text book) will be read in their Italian translation and illustrated with reference to musical theory and technique by guided listening to pieces of contemporary music.

Assessment methods

Oral examination. During the oral examination students will be asked to comment on the texts and material studied during the course and their methodological and critical skills will be assessed. Special importance will be given to the students’ comprehension of the course material, starting from the texts about the life and work of the musicians or concerning the theory and practice of music in the Middle Age. It will be assessed as excellent the performance of those students achieving an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, the originality of the reflection as well as the familiarity with the tolls for analysing the digital media panorama.

It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, not articulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of the discipline. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the discipline. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability to analyse the subject.

Teaching tools

Students are required to attend, either as an integrative seminar, or as a supplementary teaching activity included in the computation of credits relating to the “Music Seminar”, the seminar “Guida all'ascolto della musica medievale”. Implementation and attendance procedures will be published as soon as available.

Office hours

See the website of Cesarino Ruini