The Sounds of Milan, 1585-1650

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In this book, a follow-up to his 1996 monograph Celestial Sirens, Robert Kendrick examines the cultural contexts of music in early-modern Milan. This book describes the churches and palaces that served as performance spaces in Milan, analyses the power structures in the city, discusses the devotional rites of the Milanese, and explores the connections among city-politics, city-scape and music. Milan's music, Kendrick argues, was the best representation of that city's symbolic system. More than a typical patrons and institutions analysis of music's influences, The Sounds of Milan makes use of social anthropological methods to illuminate the roles of composers, performers and audiences. Kendrick traces the rise of polyphony from early appearances in secular music to an important feature of devotional music, all occurring under the careful regulation of the church hierarchy. He illuminates how lay musicians, organised into professional guilds, collaborated on civic festivals and even borrowed from one another's work. Reflecting extensive research into architecture, art, politics, religion, this book offers a complete and interdisciplinary portrait of Milan, one of the most vibrant - and most musical - cities in early-modern Italy.