Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities
2002—2003 Forum on The Book
Associate Professor of Music, Haverford College
Renaissance Music and its Transformation Through Print
Having extensively explored the relationship between 16th century French Protestant Orlando di Lasso's music and the printed sources in which it was made known to its audiences, Dr. Freedman anticipates furthering his investigations. Lasso's musical output totaled some 3500 compositions. With such an expansive corpus at hand, Dr. Freedman explicates many questions and concerns. What sorts of printed books did Lasso use? How did he use the poems contained within these sources? How do his retrospective chanson albums (issued during the last decades of his long career) compare with similarly retrospective 'complete secular works' brought by some of his contemporaries in France and the Low Countries? What can such books reveal about changing relationships among composers, printers, and musical readers during the 16th century? Dr. Freedman's project works to situate Lasso's printed music in the broader history of intellectual property. Thanks to the intervention of French kings and Imperial princes, Lasso was granted an exclusive right to control how and by whom his music would be printed. Operating as he did in a period of profound transformation of music by the relatively new medium of print, Lasso's efforts to exert control over his artistic property in some ways mirrors processes at work today in the rapidly changing world of sound recordings and new media. By knowing more about the changing status and meaning of musical texts, we will come to recognize how our own knowledge of the musical past -whether in musicological editions, in performance, or in sound recordings - is shaped by the means through which we encounter it.