10 July: Frédéric Billiet: The Musiconis Project

The University of Sydney Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections proudly present:


Professor Frédéric Billiet’s talk on

The MUSICONIS project: Representations of sound & music in the Middle AgesFrederic Billiet


When: 10th July; 10:00 – 11:00 am

Where: Fisher Library, Seminar Room Level 2

Introduction by Dr. Jane Hardie (Director, International Musicological Society)

The Musiconis project (University Paris-Sorbonne, French National Research Agency – ANR) is dedicated to the study of sound within the Medieval image. Besides regular seminars (reported in a dedicated blog), a specific bibliography and a lexicon in Latin, Langue d’Oïl and Langue d’Oc, the heart of this project has been the development of database using a new model of iconographic indexation (musiconis.paris-sorbonne.fr).

RB Add.Ms. 373. 17th century. Handwritten Gregorian gradual on vellum. Spain.This model includes historical and organological information, as well as a description of the sound features in each image, and an interpretation of iconographic analogies.

The presentation focuses on the letter B of the first psalm depicting King David tuning his harp (ms. 246 D, fol. 1, BM of Charleville-Mézières). Thanks to the detailed observations regarding the proportions and the organization of the performer and his instrument on the page, as well as the reference to the commentaries of St Augustine, the research team discovered that David may actually refer to the figure of Christ, sitting on a foliage, as a metaphor of the divine Verb (musical of course, but not audible to the human ears).

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Contact: Julie Price julie.price@sydney.edu.au  +61 2 9114 2321


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