Seachanges brings together original essays examining human and cultural mobility from a musical perspective. Musicians have always been migratory frontrunners, and musical encounters have always generated nodes of cultural complexity. But hearing past musicking that took place in diaspora and foreign lands requires new methodologies designed to center unsettled lives and ephemeral practices in history.
Employing interpretive strategies from musicology, ethnomusicology, historical performance practice, sociolinguistics, and cultural history, the contributors intentionally complicate national and regional accounts of music from 1550 to 1800. Repertorial subjects include Spanish guitar music in Italy, Italian songs in Bohemia, Turkish songs in France, Jewish rituals on Corfu, Jesuit hymns in the Greek Archipelago, and Ottoman court music; further chapters recover the experiences of Indigenous musicians in colonial Latin America, the diaspora of Neapolitan singers, fictional cartographies of Baroque opera, and the careers of enslaved Black musicians in Venice and pre-revolutionary Haiti. They promote a new theoretical vocabulary that coalesces around orality, voice, performers, and performance as matters to foreground in mobility studies.
Seachanges illustrates how musical microhistories can address mobility at the macro level of Mediterranean and Atlantic Studies while respecting the tempo of individual human lives and musical timeframes.