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Mellon/NEH Fellowship goes to IDEA Music

July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018

Anne MacNeil has won a Mellon/NEH Fellowship for Digital Publication for the project “Italian Songs from the time of Christopher Columbus: A Critical Edition,” which is part of IDEA Music. This is the first year that the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have offered this fellowship, and only six were awarded.


Since the mid-18th century, scholars have been accustomed to thinking of music as embodied in its notation. The restrictions of print culture on the publication of critical editions has entrenched this line of thinking. But with the resources afforded by digital humanities, I am creating a multi-media critical edition of the repertory of Italian songs from the time of Christopher Columbus (known as frottole) that displaces this notion and relocates the object of study in music as a sounding work of art. These songs offer insight into human expression in an era of intense cultural change – a time of war, a time of scientific discovery and the exploration of the New World. Many frottole speak to these cultural anxieties, and the repertory as a whole represents a rejection of French domination over the Italian peninsula in favor of the Italian language, its ancient poetic forms, and traditional practices of singing and reciting to the lyre. These songs give expression to Italian humanism.


July 1
June 30, 2018


National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation