Emily Zazulia

Emily Zazulia

Assistant Professor
Dept of Music
Research Expertise and Interest
musicology, music theory, history of music theory, history of ideas, Medieval Studies, renaissance and early modern European culture, the renaissance
Research Description

Emily Zazulia's research focuses on Medieval and Renaissance music—in particular, the intersection of musical style, complex notation, and intellectual history. She is currently working on a wide-ranging study of notational aesthetics in polyphonic music, ca. 1350–1520, which has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). In this study, she argues that 15th-century music writing exhibits a poetics of performative realization, resulting in a dynamic interplay between music as it is written and the transformations it undergoes in performance. For fifteenth-century composers, musical notation assumed a significance that would not be matched until the 20th century. In telling this story, she accounts for changes in thinking about music theory that made possible later modes of composition so invested in music’s written form. By reconsidering the role of notation, she engages with questions of performance, transmission, musical ontology, and a late-medieval aesthetics that includes sight as well as sound.

Her first book, Where Sight Meets Sound: The Poetics of Late-Medieval Music Writing, appeared in the AMS Studies in Music series published by Oxford University Press. Recent papers and publications have focused on Du Fay's famous motet Nuper rosarum flores, the L’homme armé tradition, the history of music theory, and ideas about rhythm in the middle ages. Her work has appeared in publications including the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the Journal of Musicology, Early Music, and The Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music.

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