Cristle Collins Judd

Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities

20022003 Forum on The Book

Cristle Collins Judd

Associate Professor, Music

The Diffusion of Musical Knowledge: Studies in the History of Music Theory

Dr. Judd's proposes a new approach to the history of western musical theory. Dialogue in music sits most directly in the realm of the history of the book. The decision to write musical texts in dialogue had an extraordinary impact on resulting works. Usually the fact that a musical treatise is in dialogue form is dispensed with in a single sentence or two along the lines that it "is in accordance with classical taste of the day." but this begs a host of related questions: What classical taste? What does it mean when an author chooses this rather than some other format? What can dialogue tell us about one's theorizing? And perhaps more to the point, what can music and writing about music tell us about the nature of the Renaissance dialogue? Writing about music is almost invisible in the larger studies of the genre of dialogue. Rather than merely filling an iconic role, notation in musical treatises, in fact, reopens, the question of orality and reader participation in fundamentally new ways. Non-discursive examples display an inborn resistance to the frame of the text, to textuality, to utterance, perhaps more so than music. There are times when such notation does serve a purely iconic function - when we are meant to see notation, but not hear it. At other times, the notation serves as a generalized reminder of music as sounding phenomenon, and at still other times, the notation is meant to be "read" and hard, although the reading and hearing may take many forms. Thus, music examples function simultaneously as visual image and aural trace. What is implicit in a dialogue and particularly complicated in a dialogue about music is the attempt to disguise the rupture of words and notation beneath a mask of verisimilitude, accomplished both through the mode of exposition, but also through the physical placement of words and music.