“Musical Life” goes online

The research project led by Prof. Dr. Birgit Lodes (Vienna University) with Prof. em. Reinhard Strohm (Oxford University) and Prof. Marc Lewon (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis) went online several months ago: Musical Life of the Late Middle Ages in the Austrian Region (ca. 1340–ca. 1520)


Initial „T“ (Introitus Terribilis est locus iste). Gradual of the Premonstratensian monastery Geras (NÖ), Stiftsbibliothek, “Passau” Gradual (before 1485), fol. 112r

The online presentation of the research results has since been presented at several occasions, including MedRen 2017 in Prague with presentations by the three main contributors. The publication also increasingly receives media coverage such as a radio interview with Birgit Lodes on Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (Radio Eins, Sendung „Die Profis“ am 5th August 2017), an interview with Birgit Lodes and Reinhard Strohm on scilog, an item by the news agency APA, the ORF, the “Standard“, and an article in the “Salzburger Nachrichten“. The news was also picked outside Austria by the “business press 24“, the “Internet-Nachrichtenagentur inar” (including an English version), and the “firmenpresse” (the latter also with an English version). The WDR just released another radio interview with Birgit Lodes.

The project researches and presents new insights in the musical culture of the Austrian region from ca. 1340 to ca. 1520. The editors are Birgit Lodes, Reinhard Strohm, and Marc Lewon. The online presentation developed by Mag. Mirjam Kluger and Mag. Martin Gasteiner is now supervised by Mag. Imke Oldewurtel and Mag. Konstantin Hirschmann. The project is supported by 25 international advisors from various fields; 35 authors have contributed their essays up to date. 112 sound samples were specifically produced for the porject by four specialised ensembles (Ensemble Leones, Basel; Ensemble Stimmwerck, Regensburg; Ensemble Les haulz et les bas, Freiburg/Breisgau; Virgilschola, Salzburg). The essays, depictions, and recordings are published as open access on the website.

The project is a scholarly investigation of the cultural significance of music, based on transmitted documents such as musical scores, archival records, literary sources, images of art, architecture, and material remains, which it embeds in a new historiography of musical life in the region. The surviving music is placed in the context of the “musical life” of the people from the time: their materiality and spirituality, daily life, artistic practices, popular and courtly cultures, ceremonial and intellectual traditions. Musical Life emphasises spatial aspects and regional differentiations, but also reevaluates the cultural relations of music in the Austrian region with that of the rest of Europe. Thus, Musical Life aims to reveal the applicability of cultural studies to music history of this period and to reevaluate the significance of the music of this region in an historical European context.