Intersections Study Day

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14:00–15:50 Session 4. Digital encounters

Ana Llorens, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,

Álvaro Torrente, Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales,

Keynote 2: The DIDONE project: Between musicology, music theory, and data science

In this keynote lecture we present the main objectives and tasks of the research project ‘DIDONE: The Sources of Absolute Music’, Funded with an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. We discuss the diverse disciplines that converge in it, from musical edition to music and statistical analysis. In this regard teamwork is particularly relevant, as it converts DIDONE into a true musicological laboratory. More specifically, firstly we focus on our method to emotionally label the corpus of digital scores that we are building on five drammi per musica on texts by Pietro Metastasio. Secondly, we explore the theoretical relation between the emotions, as expressed in the aria texts, and the composers’ use of specific keys throughout the 18th century. To that, aim we have compiled a dataset with more than 10,000 pieces, which are analysed computationally at the intersection between musicology, music theory, and statistics. Ultimately, we suggest that extra-musical, production-related factors were more critical than the emotions themselves in this respect. Similarly, we l show how a given emotion was set to music in varying, sometimes opposing, ways and, conversely, how dissimilar passions received similar compositional treatment.

Ana Llorens holds a PhD in Music from the University of Cambridge. She is Lecturer in Music Theory and Analysis at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the scientific director of the ERC ‘DIDONE’ project. She is specialised in the analysis of large corpora and, since 2019, board member of the Spanish Society of Musicology. Currently, she is Principal Investigator of the project ‘The Sound of Pau Casals’, funded by Spain’s Ministry of Science and Innovation, as well as co-editor of the volume The Cambridge Companion to Music in Spain (CUP, to appear). Her work has been published in Music Theory OnlineEmpirical Musicology Review, Routledge, and Brepols.

Álvaro Torrente is Professor in Musicology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Head of the Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales. He is the principal investigator of the ERC ‘DIDONE’ project. His research focuses on the sacred villancico and Italian opera from the 17th and 18th centuries. He is associate editor of The Operas of Francesco Cavalli (Bärenreiter), and his editions have been performed in Munich, London, and Amsterdam.


The Didone Project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC)
under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme,
Grant agreement No. 788986.