Charles Burney e l'archeologia musicale dell'antica area vesuviana / Charles Burney and the music archaeology of the ancient Vesuvian area

TitleCharles Burney e l'archeologia musicale dell'antica area vesuviana / Charles Burney and the music archaeology of the ancient Vesuvian area
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMelini, R
EditorRocconi, E
Book TitleLa musica nell'Impero Romano: Testimonianze teoriche e scoperte archeologiche = Music in the Roman Empire: Theoretical Evidence and Archaeological Findings
Pagination85-109
PublisherPavia University Press
CityPavia
ISBN9788896764022
Abstract

During his journey through Europe (which had the aim of obtaining primary sources to be at the basis of his innovative history of music), Charles Burney went to Naples to get in contact with the culture of the city, which was very important at that time. It was 1770, and the musicologist took the opportunity – as many other distinguished travellers before him, among which we should mention Mozart – of visiting the archaeological excavations of the sites buried by the famous Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD. Of those intensive three weeks (during which he was very busy in significant meetings, excursions and reconnaisances on the enormously rich musical heritage of antiquity which had been only recently found at that time), Burney left a detailed report which became then part of the book The present state of the music in France and Italy. Many of the archaeological finds there described (basically artefacts and iconographies, in addiction to the famous Ercolano’s papyri) are nowadays still preserved, together with analogous subsequent findings, in Campanean museums and have become fundamental pieces of evidence for the knowledge of the ancient Roman music culture. In the light of modern perspectives, the rereading of Burney’s material may even today offer very interesting new ideas both to musicologists and archaeologists. Burney’s evidence on what he saw and what he had experience of results to be precious, while his method of analyses may be interpreted as the first authoritative example of modern music archaeology. [p. 85]

Notes

Music in the Roman Empire contains the Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of MOISA, The International Society for the Study of Greek and Roman Music and its Cultural Heritage, Cremona, Aula Magna, Facoltà di Musicologia, Università degli Studi di Pavia, 30-31 ottobre 2008.

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