Exploring the soundscape of early modern Rome through Uberti’s Contrasto musico
This chapter provides a journey of discovery of the soundscapes of early modern Rome, considering in particular the ways in which sound, noise, and music defined space, and how space in turn shaped the production and perception of sound. Sounds and music have both inclusive and exclusive powers: they can signal an event and gather the avid listeners, but they can also make the music haters take to their heels, just as the unbearable noise of a brawl can chase people away, delimiting a dangerous space, which will be avoided by passers-by. Limiting the visibility of women performers by confining the sounds of their voices and the sight of their bodies to enclosed spaces defined the nature of a serenata as “private” and made the event an exclusive prerogative of the few who could participate. Severo points out that some people argue that in the church “music causes uproar, disturbs the devotion, distracts the mind and interrupts pra.