Noise and Sound: QM 18C Reading Group

This semester, Queen Mary’s eighteenth-century Studies reading group is focusing on noise and sound. Meetings take place on Wednesdays from 5.15–7pm in ArtsTwo, Room 2.18, at Mile End.
For further details and precirculated readings contact Megan Kitching ( or Nydia Pineda (

All are welcome.

Wednesday March 27
BYO eighteenth-century noise and sound extract. Texts for discussion will be precirculated; contact Megan or Nydia to send an excerpt or receive the bundle.

Wednesday March 20
John Clare and birdsong. Introduced by Tom Williams.

Wednesday March 6
“Representing,” Chapter Three of Jacques Attali’s Noise: The Political Economy of Music, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press, 1985). Introduced by Nydia Pineda and Megan Kitching.

Wednesday February 6, at the slightly later time of 5.30pm
“Noise,” Chapter Five of Emily Cockayne’s Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England, 1600–1770 (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2007). Introduced by Dr. Chris Reid.

Grantley McDonald: The Life and Trials of Lutheran Musicians at the courts of Wilhelm IV and Ludwig X of Bavaria

Life and Trials of Lutheran Musicians Poster

Wednesday March 13, from 1–2 pm
ArtsTwo, Room 3.20
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road E1 4NS

Abstract: The nature of Ludwig Senfl’s religious sympathies has long been the source of speculation and disagreement. His contacts with Luther, Albrecht of Brandenburg and Sebald Heyden would seem to suggest that he tended towards a reformed position. But how can this be squared with his employment in arch-Catholic Munich? The present paper argues that Senfl, having witnessed the punishment meted out to several people in his immediate environment for infringing the Bavarian Religious Mandates forbidding the promotion of Luther’s teachings (especially the patrician Bernhard Tichtl and the court trumpeter and composer Erhard Gugler) decided that a policy of calculated discretion in religious matters was the only way to survive.

GRANTLEY MCDONALD studied musicology, classics, Germanistik and history at Melbourne, Berlin and Leiden. His first dissertation (University of Melbourne, 2002), which was awarded the McCredie Medal by the Australian Academy of the Humanities, established a link between the practice of metrical song in the sixteenth century (the so-called Humanistenode or musique mesurée à l’antique) and the reception of the work of Marsilio Ficino. His second dissertation (Universiteit Leiden, 2011), dealing with the disputes over the Trinity arising from Erasmus’ edition of the New Testament, was awarded a research prize from the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. McDonald has been awarded postdoctoral fellowships at the Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel), the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (Tours), KU Leuven and Trinity College Dublin. He is now Research Fellow at the Universität Salzburg, where he works on sixteenth-century German music printing and on the work of Paul Hofhaimer.

Donald Preece: Pipe-Organs of London’s East End from 1525

Pipe-Organs of the East End Poster

Following the recent inaugural recital on Queen Mary’s renovated historical Rutt organ to celebrate the reopening of the People’s Palace, join us over lunch for a talk by Donald Preece on the organs of the East End. An Emeritus Professor of Combinatorial Mathematics, composer, and Associate of the Royal College of Organists, Preece has just completed a book on the East End’s pipe-organs and People’s Palaces.

Lunch provided. All welcome.

Thursday March 14, from 1–3pm
ArtsTwo Building, 4th Floor Senior Common Room
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road E1 4NS


The Digital Audiobook Seminar

QM Music & Sound invites you to an upcoming talk by Iben Have and Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen titled “The Digital Audiobook: A New Medium, New Literary Experiences, New Users?”

2pm, Thursday 13 December 2012
Lock Keeper’s Cottage (Mile End campus)
Queen Mary
Mile End Road E1 4NS

The Digital Audiobook: A New Medium, New Literary Experiences, New Users?

During recent years the book as a medium has faced several challenges as a result of technological breakthroughs in digital formats. For instance, with the appearance of the iPod and iPhone, the audiobook is being more frequently used and thereby challenges the concept of reading and the concept of the book as a medium. This paper aims to investigate these challenges from a technological, social and aesthetic point of view in order to gain a better understanding of the epistemological consequences that come along with the changed appearance and use of literature in new media.

The audiobook can be studied as a currently ongoing remediation of the literary experience from the viewpoint of the history of technology. However, we consider it at least as interesting to study the audiobook as part of the culture surrounding mobile sound media, with compact formats and online streaming apparently offering a flexibility that appeals to entirely new user groups. We thus pose an open question regarding the extent to which the use of audiobooks can and should be studied as a new type of literary experience, and/or as an example of mobile listening related to the everyday experience of, for example, commuting or exercising. In our approach to the audiobook, we will involve both research into auditory culture and a literary examination of the voice in relation to narrative discourse.

Iben Have is an associate professor in Media Studies at the Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University. She gained her PhD in 2004 with a thesis in the field of Musicology concerning the use and significance of underscore music in Danish TV documentaries. Since 2005, IH has been employed at Information and Media Studies, first as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor. She teaches in topics that include qualitative reception analysis and media use, and audiovisual culture and communication. IH has published a book entitled Lyt til TV (Listening to television, 2008) and a number of articles, including “The musicalized soundtracks of Armadillo: Emotional realism and real emotions” (2011, forthcoming), “Attitudes towards documentary soundtracks: Between emotional immersion and critical reflection” (2010) and “Aestheticizing politics: Non-verbal political communication in Danish TV documentaries” (2008). She is a member of the organising committee of the Scandinavian network“Sound as Art – Sound in History, Sound as Culture – Sound in Theory”. In addition to the audiobook, IH’s most recent research interest involves a project on Danish music radio, in which she is engaged in a sub-project on the relationship between radio show hosts and music. Throughout her life, IH has been a constant user of audiobooks in different technological formats.

Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen is an assistant professor at Aesthetics and Culture in the Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University. She has written from a phenomenological and basic theory viewpoint and in interdisciplinary contexts on rhythm, the voice, aesthetics, and meaning theory in the interrelationship between literature and music. Among her publications is Lyd, litteratur og musik: Gestus i kunstoplevelsen (Sound, Literature, and Music: Gesture in the Art Experience, 2008), a revised version of her PhD thesis of 2004, in which she studies the phenomenology and mutual relationships between music and literature in a historical and methodologically alternating perspective.  BSP is co-editor of Pluralizing Rhythm (Rodophi, Amsterdam, 2011). Between 2006 and 2009, BSP worked on Danish rap music as part of a research project supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities (FKK)~and entitled “Rytme, groove og gestik – dansk hip hop mellem det lokale og det globale” (Rhythm, groove and gesture – Danish hip hop, between the local and the global),  publishing a number of articles based on her work. She was co-editor with Mads Krogh of Hiphop i Skandinavian (Hip hop in Scandinavia, 2008). As a singer, she has worked with groups that include the professional vocal ensemble Musica Ficta.

Iben Have and Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen are founding editors of the international online journal SoundEffects: Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience.

Contact or with any enquiries.

QM Music and Sound Inaugural Seminar

On Tuesday 20 November 2012, the first QM Music and Sound Seminar was presented at Queen Mary by Michael Marissen.

5.15pm, Tuesday 20 November
ArtsTwo Building, Room 3.16
Queen Mary
Mile End Road E1 4NS

“And he shall purify the Sons of Levi”: A Rereading of Handel’s Messiah. Surprisingly, questions of religious meaning in Handel’s Messiah have been under-explored. This talk will discuss previously unidentified sources for altered readings in the work’s libretto of biblical excerpts, and it will demonstrate how the arrangement of verses and their word choices project Christian schadenfreude toward Judaism. The paper  will go on to show how Handel’s music underscores these tendencies of the libretto and adds to them, reaching a euphoric climax in the Hallelujah chorus.

Michael Marissen is Daniel Underhill Professor of Music at Swathmore College and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations (Woolf Institute, Cambridge). He has published widely on J.S. Bach, and is the author of The Social and Religious Designs of J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos (Princeton) and Lutheranism, anti-Judaism, and Bach’s St. John Passion (Oxford). He is the editor of Creative Responses to Bach from Mozart to Hindemith (Nebraska), and co-author of An Introduction to Bach Studies (Oxford). He is currently working on Handel’s Messiah and Christian triumphalism.