Two RISM Sessions at MedRen 2023

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

In the field of musicology, Europe’s largest annual conference has for some time been the International Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, which is held in a different location each year. The conference once again returns to Germany after last being held here twenty years ago in Jena in 2003. MedRen 2023 will be held in Munich from 24 to 28 July. The program is as rich as usual, so here we can call your attention to two events of particular interest to RISM.

On Thursday (27 July) at 9 AM a themed session entitled “Finding musical sources before 1600: RISM, Handschriftenportal, Cantus et al.” will explore how musical sources of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance can be searched in online databases. While for much of the repertory after 1600 the RISM database has long established itself as the go-to place to start, the MedRen community is left with a patchwork selection of diverse databases for sources before this time, often applying different cataloging standards as a reflection of the varying underlying research interests.

In this session chaired by Balázs Mikusi (RISM Editorial Center), three pairs of papers will demonstrate the problems arising from the present situation and contemplate potential improvements to better serve the needs of the research community. In the first pair, Nicole Schwindt (Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen & RISM Germany) and Nicholas Bleisch (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) will formulate diverse desiderata with respect to vernacular songs both by identifying repertories for which no appropriate research tools seem to be available, and by calling the attention to other fields where one must rely on several tools which, however, happen to offer partially contradicting information.

The second pair of papers will address two crucial problems encountered when searching plainchant databases: first, how the apparently impressive abundance of online search options tends to cover up the rather incomplete coverage of the underlying databases as well as their problematic presentation and arrangement of the data (Irene Holzer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), and second, how the high-tech surface of the search interfaces may mislead users to believe that the scholarly commentary is also cutting edge, so to speak, whereas it has oftentimes been slavishly copied over from age-old and indeed outdated print publications. Finally, we shall receive news about the latest developments of two important projects: Carolin Schreiber (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) will explain the essential goals of the Handschriftenportal and how upcoming new features will improve its usability specifically for music scholars, while Laurent Pugin and Andrew Hankinson (RISM Digital Center Bern) will demonstrate how RISM Online could offer its users relevant hits from beyond the core RISM dataset through integration with DIAMM and the Cantus Database.

The six presentations will no doubt raise numerous questions, thereby giving a kick start to the next event that will follow right after, at 11 AM. Chaired by Klaus Pietschmann (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz & President of RISM), and also including Nicole Schwindt from the previous session, this round table will seek to further elaborate on the difficulties of “Finding musical sources before 1600” by involving a wider circle of experts: Thomas Schmidt (University of Manchester), Manuel Pedro Ferreira (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Konstantin Voigt (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg), Claudia Fabian (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München), and Debra Lacoste (University of Waterloo).

We hope that the discussions will prove fruitful, and RISM can soon expand its coverage of pre-1600 sources by joining a larger network of partners specialized in such early repertories.

Share Tweet Email

Catégorie: Evénements

Browse the news archive by category below or use the search box above.


Top posts

- Joseph Bologne’s “L’Amant Anonyme”
- The Public Domain in 2023
- Scott Joplin and the St. Louis World’s Fair
- The Vienna State Opera in 1955
- Elizaveta, Elisabeth, and Elizabeth

Featured posts

- A Word about RISM
- Chopin Heritage in Open Access
- Sarah Levy
- Discovering Vivaldi Sources
- Finding Unica in RISM

Send us your news

Share your news with RISM and reach an international community of scholars, musicians, librarians, and archivists. Find out more here.


All news posts are by RISM Editorial Center staff unless otherwise noted. Reuse of RISM’s own texts is permitted under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. In all other cases, please contact the individual author.