The Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music

Anna Maria Busse Berger & Jesse Rodin

Language: English

Published: Jul 16, 2015


Through forty-five creative and concise essays by an international team of authors, this Cambridge History brings the fifteenth century to life for both specialists and general readers. Combining the best qualities of survey texts and scholarly literature, the book offers authoritative overviews of central composers, genres, and musical institutions as well as new and provocative reassessments of the work concept, the boundaries between improvisation and composition, the practice of listening, humanism, musical borrowing, and other topics. Multidisciplinary studies of music and architecture, feasting, poetry, politics, liturgy, and religious devotion rub shoulders with studies of compositional techniques, musical notation, music manuscripts, and reception history. Generously illustrated with figures and examples, this volume paints a vibrant picture of musical life in a period characterized by extraordinary innovation and artistic achievement.

Book Description

Through forty-five essays by leading scholars, this Cambridge History brings fifteenth-century music to life for both specialists and general readers.

About the Author

Anna Maria Busse Berger is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Music History and Theory at the University of California, Davis. She has published articles and books on notation, mensuration and proportion signs, mathematics and music, and music and memory. In 1997 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship; in 2005–6 she was the Lehman Visiting Professor at Villa I Tatti, Florence. She won the Alfred Einstein Award for the best article by a young scholar in 1991, and, in 2006, the Wallace Berry Award for the best book from the Society for Music Theory and an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for her book Medieval Music and the Art of Memory (2005; Italian translation, 2008). In 2014 she won the Colin Slim Award from the American Musicological Society and the Bruno Nettl Award from the Society for Ethnomusicology. In 2011–12 she was the Lise Meitner Fellow at the University of Vienna, where she worked on her current project on 'Music in Mission Stations in East Africa'. Currently she is a Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.

Jesse Rodin is Associate Professor of Music at Stanford University. He is the author of Josquin's Rome: Hearing and Composing in the Sistine Chapel (2012) and a volume of L'homme armé masses for the New Josquin Edition (2014). He directs the Josquin Research Project (, a digital search-and-analysis tool for exploring a large corpus of Renaissance music, and Cut Circle (, a vocal ensemble performing fifteenth-century music. His work has been recognized with awards and fellowships by the American Musicological Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Current projects include a monograph on 'form' in fifteenth-century music (Cambridge), and a recording of the four late cyclic masses of Guillaume Du Fay (Cut Circle and Musique en Wallonie).