By Tess Knighton
30 June 2014, Sala de Musicología, IMF-CSIC, 10am-2pm
The second of the cultural history workshops at the Institució Milà i Fontanals (CSIC) dealt with the subject of the creations of funerary chapels and chaplaincies and the private and institutional endowments of Masses. The key-note talk was given by Juan Ruiz Jiménez who presented a fascinating paper based on his recent research in the archive of Seville Cathedral. The sheer number of foundations, many of which from at least the first half of the fifteenth century involved polyphony, and the level of detail in the charters of foundation copied into the Libros blancos of the cathedral reveal the overwhelming importance of this type of patronage for the cultivation of music there. Juan’s article on the subject has just been published in the Revista de Musicología (vol.37/1 (2014), pp.53-88 with the title: ‘Música tras la muerte: dotaciones privadas y espacios rituales en la Catedral de Sevilla (siglos XIII-XVI)’.
The rapid increase in spaces connected with the ritual of death was the subject of art historian Eduardo Carrero Santa María’s contribution, which provided a fascinating insight into how private chapels were added to the main structure of the Gothic cathedrals of Europe and the increase in the amount of activity, liturgical and musical that resulted. One aspect that certainly I hadn’t realized previously related to how the carved stone tombs of the deceased might serve as altars for the celebration of the Masses and other liturgical offices they had endowed.
Carles Vela, based on his research in the AHPN into the fourteenth-century wills of apothecaries and candle-makers, traced how certain patterns of devotion changed and developed over the course of the century, with a marked tendency towards the institutionalization of such devotions, reflected in a decrease in detailed instructions and an increased reliance on convention. Economic historian Jordi Morelló demonstrated how the funding of chaplaincies developed from the thirteenth century and how this related to the system of ecclesiastical benefices. He also demonstrated the importance of consulting a wide range of sources, including synods, which, even from the thirteenth century, had a good deal to say about the potential difficulties arising from the proliferation of chaplaincies and the need for constant good practice and reform.
As with the first interdiscplinary workshop on the Inquisition, the debate was lively and the informal Exchange of ideas made for an absorbing morning.