School of English Literature

An interdisciplinary symposium, Bangor University 24th-25th April 2014

To include the Society for Renaissance Studies 3rd Annual Welsh Lecture, given by Professor Jennifer Richards (Newcastle University) and Professor Richard Wistreich (Royal Northern College of Music)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Professor Tess Knighton (Institució Milá i Fontanals, Barcelona)
Professor Helen Wilcox (Bangor)


The Difficulty of that language is not to bee conceived, and the reasons thereof are especially two:

First, because it hath no affinitie with any other that ever I heard.
Secondly, because it consisteth not so much of words and Letters, as of tunes and uncouth sounds, that no letters can expresse.

For you have few words, but they signifie divers and severall things, and they are distinguished onely by their tunes that are as it were sung in the utterance of them, yet many words there are consisteth of tunes onely, so as if they like they will utter their mindes by tunes without wordes
Francis Godwin, The Man in the Moone (1638)

Early modern culture was awash with sounds.  From psalm singing to tavern songs to the reading of the riot act or town criers announcing noteworthy news, we are presented with an image of oral culture forming the basis of perpetual interaction between individuals and their communities. 

Music, in particular, forms a backdrop to the soundscape, negotiating abstract sounds and speech.  This two-day symposium will interrogate ways of conceiving the early modern soundscape.


Call for papers* :

Contributions are invited from across discipline and methodological approach.

Topics might include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Sounds and space
  • Sounds sacred
  • Sounds profane
  • Civic noise
  • Imagined soundscapes
  • Interaction between sound and speech communities
  • Oral and literate cultures
  • Music and performance culture
  • Sounds and medicine
  • Sounds and the senses
  • The relationship between words and music

We welcome abstracts of not more than 250 words for twenty-minute papers, or proposals for panels comprising three papers, to be sent to Rachel Willie by December 1st 2013.

*Please note that the deadline has now passed.






09.00-10.00: Registration and Coffee

10.00-11.00: Welcome & Plenary 1 (LR4)            Helen Wilcox (Bangor)
‘Tunes without Wordes’ or ‘the planet-like music of Poetry’? Early modern
conceptions of the relationship between words and music
Chair: Rachel Willie

11.00-11.30: Elevenses

11.30-12.30: Session 1

LR1: Recreating Soundscapes                                         Chair: Nicolas Moon (York)
James Kent (Liverpool John Moores), Imagined Immersed and Dissolved Soundscapes

Kathryn Roberts (Sydney),  Modes of Aural Translation: Navigating Soundscapes and Cultural Distance in Hamlet

LR2: Reinventing Performance                                  Chair: John Cunningham (Bangor)
John Bryan (Huddersfield), ‘A Handsom-Smooth-Sweet-Smart-Clear-Stroak’: Re-inventing the Sound of the Viol Consort in Early Modern England

Michaela Kaufmann (Max-Planck-Institute of Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt), Imagined Performances-the Descriptions of Music-Making in Florentine Prefaces c. 1600

LR3: Devotional Change          Chair: Jutta Toelle (Max-Planck-Institute of Empirical Aesthetics,

Matthew Champion (QMUL), The Sounds of Time: Musical Clocks of the Early-Modern Low Countries

Jan-Friedrich Missfelder (Konstanz), Sounds and Silences of Reformation: Zurich, 1524-1598

12.30-13.30: Lunch


13:30-15.00: Session 2

LR1: Sounds and the Body                                           Chair: Marta Napodano (Bangor)
Stefano Mengozzi (Michigan), Sounds Sacred, the Soul, and the Body Social: Rethinking the Theory and Practice of Musical Affect in the Late Middle Ages

Barbara Kennedy (Sussex), ‘Untune that string and hark what discord follows’: Healing Music in the Early Modern Period

Sonia Suman (Leicester), Sweet Sounds and ‘Venom sounds’: Orality in Shakespeare’s Richard II

LR2: Sound and Society                                                 Chair: Emilie Murphy (York)
Paul Faber (Leeds), The Anthem of Everyman: Song and Solidarity in Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holliday

Janine Wiesecke (Max-Planck-Institute of Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt), Music Listening in Early Modern London: Urban Musical Soundscapes from the Perspective of Wood, Evelyn and Pepys

John Gallagher (Cambridge), ‘To heare it by mouth’: Orality in Early Modern Language-Learning

15.00-15.30: Coffee


15:30-17.00: Session 3

LR1: Catholic Soundscapes                                                   Chair: Christian Leitmeir (Bangor)
Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita (Institució Milá i Fontanals, Barcelona), The Role of Female Convents in the Soundscape of Sixteenth-Century Barcelona

Emilie Murphy (York), English Catholic Soundscapes: Neighbours, Networks and Identities, 1580-1640

Daniele V. Filippi (The Jesuit Institute at Boston College), Performing God’s Score Amidst the Noise of the World: The Soundscape of Early Modern Catholicism

LR2: Urban Soundscapes                                                         Chair: Paul Quinn (Sussex)
Susan Anderson (Leeds Trinity), Music, meaning, and place in street pageantry

Nicholas Hammond  (Cambridge), Parisian soundscapes: singing gossip in the seventeenth century

Moritz Kelber (Augsburg University), Sonic guides to an enfeoffment - The symbolic function of imperial court music in urban space
17.00-17.15: Quick Break

17.15-18.15: Society for Renaissance Studies Annual Welsh Lecture 
                      (Main Arts Lecture Theatre)                                  Chair: Helen Wilcox
Jennifer Richards (Newcastle) and Richard Wistreich (Royal Northern College of Music),
Renaissance Voices

18.30-19.30: Drinks Reception
19.30: Dinner



09.30-10.30: Plenary 2 (LR4)                                                                Chair: TBC
Tess Knighton (Institució Milá i Fontanals, Barcelona), Singing for the Soul: the Requiem Mass and Other Music for the Dead in the Chapels, Churches, Convents and Streets of Sixteenth-Century Barcelona    

10.30-11.00: Coffee

11.00-12.30: Session 1

LR1: Transgressive Soundscapes- Early Modern Music, Placed & Displaced
Presented by Researchers of Bangor’s Centre for Research in Early Music (CREaM)
John Cunningham (Bangor), Art Song vs. Popular Song

Barbara Eichner (Bangor/Oxford Brookes), Enclosed Space vs. Public Space

Christian Leitmeir (Bangor), Sacred vs. Profane

LR2: Poetic Soundscapes                                                             Chair: Helen Wilcox  (Bangor)
Bryony Frost (Exeter), ‘Scars of Thunder’: The Sonic Warzone in Paradise Lost

Simon Jackson (Cambridge), ‘These stones to praise thee may not cease’: The Acoustic Space of Herbert’s Temple

Gwen Saunders Jones (Bangor), The Silent Treatment: The Rising Voice of Women in Welsh Poetry of the Early Modern Period

12.30-13.30: Lunch
13.30-15.00: Session 2
LR1: Hearing the Sacred                                  Chair: Barbara Eichner (Bangor/Oxford Brookes)
Paul Quinn (Sussex), ‘Even the heretics … gave it the title of Little Rome’: Music, the Mass and the Dowager Viscountess Montague’s ‘secret’ chapel at Battle Abbey

Jutta Toelle (Max-Planck-Institute of Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt), Sonic Demons and Contested Sounds: Antonio Ruiz de Montoya’s Conquista Espiritual and Jesuit Soundscapes

Matthew Cheung Salisbury (Oxford), The Performativity of Liturgical Sound

LR2: Ballads, Memory, Transmission              Chair: Pragya Vohra (Aberystwyth)
Florence Hazrat (St Andrew’s), New Wine in Old Bottles – Recycling Sound in Early Modern Music and Poetry

Rachel Willie (Bangor), Restoring Rogues: Tudor Vagabonds and Roundhead Reputations

Nicolas Moon (York), ‘Our King he would a hunting ride’: History and King-Commoner Encounters in Early Modern Ballads

15.00-15.30: Coffee

15.30-16.00: Roundtable/concluding remarks (LR4)                     



A downloadable version of the programme is available here


Registration is now open.  The attendance packages available are as follows:

    • £60 waged
    • £30 postgraduate/ unwaged

Dinner on Thursday 24th April is priced at £32.50.

For registration and payment please complete the following two steps:

Step 1

Complete the registration form and send it to Marta Napodano either at or to
Marta Napodano
‘Soundscapes Conference’
School of English
Bangor University
Bangor, Gwynedd
LL57 2DG
Wales, UK     

Step 2

To make payment for the conference please click here.



Accommodation is available in University Halls on Wednesday 23rd April and Thursday 24th April at a rate of £35 per night.

This accommodation comprises single en-suite rooms (no double rooms) which each have their own shower. They are in 'flats' of eight which share a kitchen. Included in the rate are bed linen, a towel and tea & coffee making facilities in your room. There is also free internet access in the room and guests can pick up their wifi password from reception on check-in.  If you are arriving by car there are parking facilities, and free car parking permits can be collected when you pick up your room key.

Breakfast will be served in Bar Uno which is situated on the residential site and is provided on a self-service basis. For breakfast there will be a full cooked selection or Continental breakfast choice. 

To reserve a room, please complete this booking form and return it to:

Karen Evans
Conference Services
Neuadd Reichel
Bangor University
Ffriddoedd Road
Bangor, Gwynedd
LL57 2TR
Wales, UK



Alternatively, 4-star guest accommodation is available in the Management Centre. 

Travel information and maps of the University are available here.

The organisers are Dr Rachel Willie ( and Marta Napodano (

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