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Title: Review of 'Music and Riddle Culture in the Renaissance'. By Katelijne Schiltz: pp. xxx + 513. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 2015. 84.99 ($135). ISBN 978-1-107-44284-9.
Contributor(s): Stoessel, Jason  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1093/ml/gcw030
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Abstract: This book is about musical riddles, the verbal and visual brainteasers scattered through Renaissance musical sources and collected by such music theorists as Pietro Cerone, Heinrich Glarean, and Ludovico Zacconi, that need to be solved to arrive at an adequate performance (or edition) of a musical composition. Spread over four long chapters, bookended by an introduction and brief conclusion, Schiltz's second monograph moves from a historical and critical overview of European riddle culture (ch. 1) to an examination of different types of musical riddles (ch. 2), and the reception of musical riddles by music theorists from the fifteenth to early seventeenth centuries (ch. 3), concluding with case studies of musical riddles that rely heavily upon visual images (ch. 4). While this reader sometimes felt that the author circles around a small number of representative compositions such as Obrecht's 'Missa Fortuna desperata', an index of over two hundred incipits towards the back of this book indicates otherwise. The first of two appendices usefully provides the unaccustomed or rusty reader with an overview of the principles of mensural notation. Bonnie J. Blackburn's indexed catalogue of enigmatic canonic inscriptions appears in the second appendix (accounting for a fifth of the book's pages), not merely to complete this book's near comprehensive treatment of this topic, but as a nod to the effective collaboration between Schiltz and Blackburn that has produced other gems including the proceedings from the canon and canonic techniques conference at Leuven (Peeters, 2007).
Publication Type: Review
Grant Details: ARC/DP150102135
Source of Publication: Music and Letters, 97(2), p. 327-329
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1477-4631
Field of Research (FOR): 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 950101 Music
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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Appears in Collections:Review
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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