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Author: Joseph Knowles

Don Carlo Gesualdo

A Jargon Free Explanation of my PhD Research

Don Carlo Gesualdo was an Italian Prince in the Renaissance. He was born into one of the richest families in Naples and married the most beautiful woman in the south of Italy. Unlike most aristocrats of his day, he was a virtuoso musician and composed beautiful and expressive music, but there was also a darker side to his character. Catching his wife and her lover red-handed, he brutally murdered them both before fleeing to his hilltop castle. There, in the courtyard, he had his youngest son whose parentage he now doubted, rocked to death whilst a choir sang songs about…

SMA Theory and Analysis Graduate Students’ Conference 2012

On Saturday 21st, at the University of Southampton I shall be presenting my paper Mercè grido piangendo – A Set Theory Analysis. The abstract for the paper is below: The music of Don Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, (1566 – 1613) is often violently chromatic and, although conceived modally, regularly disregards strict modal theory in a manner typical of his time. Yet, one aspect of his music that links this modal ambiguity with modal theory, and indeed to even his most chromatic passages, is his use of interval structure. Composing using patterns of intervals originating in modal theory and the…