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Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music - The musical chapel of the popes in Avignon during the fourteenth century

Étienne Anheim (Directeur d'études, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris)


Thursday, 7 February - 5:00pm to 7:00pm



The Avignon Court of the popes, during the 14th century, was the birthplace of a new institution that would play a major role in the history of Western music, the chapel. The reform of Benedict XII in 1334 and the creation of the first "Master of the Chapel (magister capelle)" in 1336 marked a break with the tradition of the liturgical chapels inherited from the Carolingian model. The chapel was now a musical curial service provided by specialized musicians, if not “professionals”,  trained in the best cathedrals of the north of France. The rich archives of the Avignon Court allow us to reconstruct this process. We can describe the sociology of the singers, explore the daily functioning of the chapel in the Palais des Papes and question the repertoire in use. We can thus try to understand how Avignon gave a new geographical, aesthetic and symbolic dimension to Ars Nova polyphony in Europe at the end of the Middle Ages.

This seminar will be held in conjunction with the third international study day of the MALMECC project 'Avignon as transcultural hub' on Feb 8th, St Luke's Chapel, Radcliffe Humanities Campus. Confirmed speakers include Anna Alberni, Étienne Anheim, Karen Cook, Sarah Griffin, Karl Kügle, Sofia Lannutti, Christophe Masson, David Murray, and Philipp Nothaft - for further information and to register (free of charge), see