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“Unpleasant Music: Early Modern Travelers Listen to the Levant”, Carla Zecher (Newberry Library)

October 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

“Unpleasant Music:
Early Modern Travellers Listen to the Levant”

Carla Zecher
Director of the Center for Renaissance Studies and Curator of Music at The Newberry Library

 Zecher - A Moor from le Bruyn's Voyage to the Levant - 1702Early modern European travelers to the Levant did not enjoy all of the music they heard there. Many of their remarks on the subject are notoriously disdainful and reductive: seemingly uninteresting expressions of European ethnocentricity. However, to quote James Johnson, “meaning occurs when sound meets prejudice.” This talk will examine a selection of commentaries on non-Western music by French and English travelers to Ottoman lands, from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, not so much to identify instances of Eurocenteredness as to ascertain what these reports might reveal about the workings of the European ear in this period.

Carla Zecher is director of the Center for Renaissance Studies and curator of music at The Newberry Library. She is the author of Sounding Objects: Musical Instruments, Poetry and Art in Renaissance France (University of Toronto Press, 2008). With Gordon M. Sayre and Shannon Lee Dawdy she has coedited Dumont de Montigny, Regards sur le monde atlantique, 1715-1747 (Septentrion, 2008) and, with Gordon M. Sayre (translator), Jean-François-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny, The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont, 1715-1747: A Sojourner in the Atlantic World (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and University of North Carolina Press, 2012).


October 2, 2013
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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