Sound, image and body: Multisensual relations in late Medieval song

Project period: 2021-01-01 till 2023-12-31
Project director: Mikhail Lopatin
Financier: Swedish Research Council

This project delves into the relationships between sound, image, and body in late medieval song in order to assess various forms of intermediality and intersensoriality and examine their ways of challenging the song’s meaning and perception. It adresses those pieces that reference in their texts the lyric persona´s auditory and visual perceptions and show their bodily awareness: the sounds, noises, and phantasms that they hear, see, or enact with their own bodies.The first three years of the project cover three main areas. First, the sonic dimension of song texts. Informed by medieval classifications of sound, I will look at how different types are elaborated throughout poetic texts. I will then focus on how musical settings transfer the resulting panoply of sounds into the sonic medium. The second area covers medieval dreams, visions, and apparitions, which often intensify audio-visual perceptions of the lyric persona and bring into sharper focus the issue of representation. My aim here is to ask how dreams and their audio-visual excesses are played out in musical settings and to uncover the mechanisms of audio-visual linking in this culture. Finally, I will move to the perceptive body itself, with an eye on understanding how the bodily awareness we find in song texts (fiction) is converted into, and interacts with, the real performative situation. The results of this examination will then be assembled and published as a monograph during the final year of the project.

Last modified: 2022-03-25