The course aims to develop students' skill in identifying the musical instruments mentioned in scores and in historical sources of western music. Concurrently, it deals with the issues related to the preservation and conservation of the instruments from the past centuries still preserved in museums and private collections.
Expected learning outcomes
Students are expected to recognize and discuss typical issues of the discipline, such as the synonymity between different musical instruments' names, as well as to deal correctly with related identification methods. Awareness of modern study and conservation techniques for old musical instruments, those of the Western tradition in particular, is expected to be carefully treated.
Lesson period: Second semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
Title of the annual course (2019-20): The Italian edition of the Treatise on Instrumentation by Hector Berlioz
The course is divided into two units (A and B) The first unit deals with the general issues of the organological research. The second unit will focus on the motivations, either musical as well as political, which motivated the publication of this huge editorial enterprise (1846-47). Specific reference will be made to the role of both the publisher Giovanni Ricordi and of the translator Alberto Mazzucato. Furthermore, a brief discussion will be made of the updated re-edition of 1912, edited by Ettore Panizza.
Prerequisites for admission
The course implies a general understanding of the main categories of musical instruments, of the fundamentals of the history of western music, as well as adequate basic musical knowledge.
The course is based on class lectures and takes advantage also by printed, as well as audio and video materials. The Ariel platform is used for sharing materials, handouts and lectures notes.
The course will be accompanied by the supply by lecture notes and one or two texts relating to historical and technological organology (module A), as well as all the musical examples and excerpts, taken from the large instrumentation treatise, which will be discussed during the lessons (module B). A series of examples will be taken into consideration for each of the three instrumental typologies into which the edition of the treatise is divided.
modulo A (shared by attending and non-attending students) - * R. MEUCCI, Organologia: definizione e contenuti di una recente disciplina, in "Rendo lieti in un tempo gli occhi el core". Il museo degli strumenti musicali del Conservatorio "Luigi Cherubini" di Firenze, a cura di Mirella Branca, Livorno, Sillabe, 1999, pp. 108-119 - C. SACHS, Storia degli strumenti musicali, Milano, Mondadori, 1980 (ed. it. di The History of Musical Instruments, New York, 1940), n. ed. 1996, con pref. di Luca Cerchiari, pp. 305-555 only. * this text will be made available on the course's website on Ariel platform
modulo B (attending students only) - R. Meucci, Mazzini, Ricordi, e la strumentazione, "Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana", IV/2010, pp. 495-508 - G. D'Andrea, Mazzucato traducteur de Berlioz: la première versione italienne du Traité, in Berlioz poète et théoricien de l'orchestre, Paris, Champion, 2019, pp. 175-186 - materials made available as hand-outs to attending students and/or on the course's website on Ariel platform
modulo B (non-attending students only) - P. RIGHINI, L'acustica per il musicista. Fondamenti fisici della musica, nuova ed. Milano, Ricordi, 1994, pp. 9-73. - R. MEUCCI, Strumentaio. Il costruttore di strumenti musicali nella tradizione occidentale, 2a ed., Venezia, Marsilio, 2010 - *L. LIBIN, Progress, Adaptation, and the Evolution of Musical Instruments, "Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society", vol. XXVI (2000), pp. 187-214 (in trad. ital.)
* this text will be made available on the course's website on Ariel platform
Assessment methods and Criteria
For all attending and non-attending students the assessment method consists of an oral exam during which the topics covered will be discussed. The oral exam will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria: 1. mastery of acquired knowledge of historical and technological organology 2. ability to frame the knowledge acquired during lectures, and by the bibliography, in a historical and cultural context 3. formal presentation (precision, terminological consistency, coherence and fluency of the parlance) 4. analytical competence and personal interpretative understanding.