Event—Public Programming

Sites and Soundscapes in the Italian Renaissance

Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard

Processione generale fatta in Vinegia, alla publicacione della lega, l'anno M. D. LXXI. Newberry Novacco 2F 147.

Twitter hashtag for the symposium: #NLEM17

How do sounds shape communities? How does noise—manmade and natural, organized and chaotic—intersect with architecture and urban space? What role do hearing and listening play in the understanding of self and one's place in the world? "Sites and Soundscapes in the Italian Renaissance" is a day-long symposium exploring aural experience and the built environment in Renaissance Italy.


8:30 to 9 am Coffee and Continental Breakfast

9 to 10:30 am Readers Meet Author Session

A panel of scholars will deliver critiques of the new book The Noisy Renaissance: Sound, Architecture, and Florentine Urban Life, by Niall Atkinson, University of Chicago, followed by a response from the author and a discussion among the panel and with the audience.

Jesús Escobar, Northwestern University
Alexander Fisher, University of British Columbia
Lia Markey, The Newberry Library

10:30 to 11 am Coffee Break

11 am to 12:30 pm Keynote Address

"The Venetian Soundscape: Inside and Outside"

Deborah Howard, University of Cambridge, Emerita

​Many travellers have remarked on the unusual character of the Venetian soundscape. The absence of wheeled traffic, the expanses of water, the narrow streets, low horizon, and high humidity all influence the propagation of sound — whether speech, music or ambient noise. This talk will consider the cultural impact of the city’s acoustics, both inside and outside the buildings.

12:30 to 2 Lunch Break

2 to 3:15 Italian Song and Dance 1500-1556

Performance with commentary by The Newberry Consort, featuring late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Italian popular secular music by Bartolomeo Tromboncino, Franciscus Bossinensis, and others. See this separate webpage for details of the performance.

Download a PDF flyer for this program to post and distribute, and explore related materials in the Newberry Collection.

We are grateful for generous support for this year's symposium from Christine Sperling of Bloomsburg University.

Related Program

The Newberry Seminar in European Art, featuring Italian Renaissance art historians Lia Markey and Sheryl Reiss, meets the day before this symposium, on Friday, April 28. See this web page for details and instructions to receive the precirculated papers.