Musical philology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course introduces students to the principles of musical philology, and aims in particular to address working methods and problems posed by critical editions of musical texts in the light of textual criticism and modern editing techniques. The subject of study and the repertoire of lessons and practical exercises is the music between the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.
Expected learning outcomes
Students will know the principles of textual criticism, the working methods of musical philology and its editing techniques. They will also know how to apply the techniques learned and how to evaluate the main editorial projects of musical texts currently underway.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
If the health emergency continues, lectures will be delivered live with simultaneous streaming online.
At the beginning of the second semester on the course page on Ariel (, students will be able to find all the information on the lectures and any changes to the programme and its related documents (bibliography etc) in case of lockdown.
Finally, in case it proves impossible to hold the exam face to face (as planned in the Syllabus), the exam will take place remotely, in ways which will be communicated on the course page on Ariel at the end of the course
Course syllabus
Course title: Music Philology: An Introduction
(detailed syllabus at

Unit A (Elements of Musical Philology):
- the relationship between written musical text and interpretation;
- elements of codicology. The manuscript: paper, gathering, watermarks, rastra; the work of copyists;
- elements of ecdotics. Principles of music philology, textual criticism, editing techniques;
- the compositional process. Verbal and musical text in historical techniques of arrangement as well as in professional contributions.

Unit B (The Critical Edition of the Musical Text: Methods, Techniques, Orientation):
- theory and practice of the thorough-bass;
- models of critical apparatus;
- editorial conventions for editing sung texts;
- main editorial projects of musical texts currently underway: critical editions of Opera Omnia and adopted criteria; methodologies and results of the research;
- digital editions: possibilities and limitations for the study and performance;
- practical exercises using examples taken from original sources and aimed at solving specific problems.
Prerequisites for admission
Good knowledge of musical language is needed, as well as the knowledge of musical grammar and notation.
Teaching methods
Theoretical lessons will be accompanied by practical exercises using examples taken from original sources and aimed at solving specific problems.
Teaching Resources
GEORG FEDER, La filologia musicale. Introduzione alla critica del testo, all'ermeneutica e alle tecniche d'edizione, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1992.
MARIA CARACI VELA, La filologia musicale: istituzioni, storia, strumenti critici, vol. I: Fondamenti storici e metodologici della filologia musicale, Lucca, LIM, 2005.
BRUNO BENTIVOGLI - PAOLA VECCHI GALLI, Filologia italiana, Milano, Mondadori, 2002.
ALFREDO STUSSI, Breve avviamento alla filologia italiana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009.
MANFRED HERMANN SCHMID, La scrittura musicale come prerogativa della composizione musicale in Occidente, «Musica docta» II, 2012, pp. 9-29.
FABRIZIO DELLA SETA, Idea-Testo-Esecuzione, in Musicologia come pretesto. Scritti in memoria di Emilia Zanetti, a cura di Tiziana Affortunato, Roma, Istituto Italiano per la Storia della Musica, 2010, pp. 137-146.
GIUSEPPINA LA FACE, Filologia dei testi poetici nella musica vocale italiana, «Acta musicologica» 46, 1994, pp. 1-21.
LORENZO BIANCONI, Hors d'œuvre alla filologia dei libretti, «Il Saggiatore musicale» II/1, 1995, pp. 143-154.
Assessment methods and Criteria
An oral test ensures effective learning of disciplinary principles, theoretical notions and editing techniques taught during the course. Written exercises show the current ability to apply practically the techniques learned.
Unita' didattica A
L-ART/07 - MUSICOLOGY AND HISTORY OF MUSIC - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-ART/07 - MUSICOLOGY AND HISTORY OF MUSIC - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)