Tuesday, 15 September 2009

CFP: Symposium on British Museum Citole - New Perspectives (British Museum)


The British Museum is pleased to host a symposium to highlight recent research related to the medieval citole in its collection. This is the first international symposium on this unique instrument, and celebrates recent work done by scientists at the British Museum as well as significant new research by scholars in many fields.

The British Museum citole (formerly known as the ‘Warwick Castle gittern’) is one of a small handful of medieval stringed musical instruments to have survived, providing an invaluable link between iconography and reality. Equally, it is important as one of the most extraordinary examples of craftsmanship and decorative arts from the fourteenth century, prominently displayed in the newly renovated medieval gallery of the Museum.

A rich post-medieval existence is indicated by an engraved silver plate which links the instrument to Queen Elizabeth I and her favourite, Robert Dudley. The instrument was modified into a violin, receiving a new soundboard, fingerboard, tailpiece, peg arrangement, and other fittings. The history of these later accretions yield valuable insights into the violin and violin making in Britain.

By taking as its focus the single extant instrument, it is hoped that this symposium will promote research and discussion about a number of diverse topics. We invite participants to submit paper proposals relating to any aspect of the British Museum citole. The following list of topics, which is neither prescriptive nor exhaustive, may serve as an inspiration:
  • Iconography and morphology of citoles
  • Citoles in documents and literature
  • Citole performance practices
  • The artwork on the British Museum citole
  • The craft of the medieval instrument builder
  • Stringed instruments in the medieval period: performers, producers, and patrons
  • The violin fittings on the British Museum citole
  • Music and musical instruments of Elizabeth I

Papers should be 20 minutes in length, and the symposium will feature time for questions as well as roundtable discussions with researchers, makers, and players of this instrument type. It is intended that the conference proceedings will be published.

Abstracts of 300-400 words and a brief CV should be submitted by 15 January 2010, as Word attachments to an email to the address below. For further information, please contact Naomi Speakman, Project Curator of Medieval Collections, Department of Prehistory and Europe, British Museum, London, WC1B 3DG, 44-(0)20-7323-8467 (phone), 44-(0)20-7323-8496 (fax) or email: nspeakman at britishmuseum.org.

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