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The Music RoadCoherence and Diversity in Music from the Mediterranean to India$
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Reinhard Strohm

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266564

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266564.001.0001

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Listening between the Lines: Alexander’s Musical Legacy in Italy (13th–15th Centuries)

Listening between the Lines: Alexander’s Musical Legacy in Italy (13th–15th Centuries)

(p.87) 5 Listening between the Lines: Alexander’s Musical Legacy in Italy (13th–15th Centuries)
The Music Road

Donatel Restani

British Academy

This chapter consists of three examples of sound and music tales in Alexander’s life as transmitted in Italian medieval literature, and a coda pertaining to the early modern era. It deals with the Italian segment of Alexander’s musical legacy in medieval European literature, elaborated from vulgarisations and adaptations of the so-called Alexander Romance. Three main topics are focused on: human voice vs non-human voice, music education for a king and sonorous mirabilia. Two features are introduced: the significant role of music in shaping Alexander’s knowledge and his image as a chivalric king; the impact of the literature on Alexander upon 13th–14th century travellers by Europeans in Asia. The coda concerns the possibility that Alexander was imitated as idealised patron of the sciences and arts in the musical performance (intermedi) organised for the 1589 Florentine wedding of Ferdinand I de’ Medici and Christina of Lorraine.

Keywords:   Alexander Romance, sound events, medieval travellers’ tales, medieval voice, sonorous mirabilia

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