Susan Forscher Weiss, Darwin Scott, and Carla Bond, Teaching the Materiality of Music: A Unique Alliance between Professors, Librarians, and Students

Susan Forscher Weiss, Ph.D  holds joint appointments in Musicology at the Peabody Institute, and in the Department of Modern Languages at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, at the Johns Hopkins University. Publications include articles and reviews in national and international journals such as Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music, Renaissance Quarterly, etc. Among her book publications are Bologna Q 18:An Introduction and Facsimile Edition (1999) and Music Education in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (2010, co-edited with Russell E. Murray, Jr. and Cynthia J. Cyrus). In 2016, Weiss, along with Don Randel and Matthew Shaftel published A Cole Porter Companion. Her current research involves images and memory, history and technology of musical instruments, as well as the Arabic contribution to music. Weiss is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards from the ACLS, NEH, Harvard University, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and from the Johns Hopkins University for innovations in teaching and technology and music cognition. In 2018, she was awarded an inaugural DELTA grant (Digital Education & Learning Technology Acceleration). She has served on a number of boards including the Executive board of the Renaissance Society of America, the Sheridan Libraries Advisory Board, and as a delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies.  In Fall 2014 she was the Robert Lehman Visiting Professor at The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa i Tatti, in Florence and in Spring 2019, a Visiting Professor at Princeton University.

Darwin Scott became Princeton University Library’s Music Librarian in 2009 and attained the rank of senior librarian in 2016. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is an active member of the Music Library Association, the International Association of Music Libraries, and the American Musicological Society. His scholarly interests include medieval and Renaissance music, music publishing from 1500 to 1800, music bibliography, digital humanities in the performing arts, and interdisciplinary studies. Before coming to Princeton, Darwin held positions at Brandeis University as Creative Arts Librarian and at UCLA’s music library. He plays the oboe, recorder, crumhorn, and piano. 

Carla Bond is currently in her final semester of course work for her Masters’ degree in Musicology at Rutgers University at Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick, New Jersey. As a liturgical choral musician, Ms. Bond continues with her busy performance schedule in and around New York City, but has now turned her attention to the scholarly study of the repertoire in which she specializes, that of the Renaissance. She is a member of the professional octet at St. Joseph’s in Greenwich Village, and performs regularly with Canticum Scholare, an Early Music ensemble based in Manhattan. She is also currently on staff at Congregation Habonim as a member of their professional quartet. Past performances include appearances with Early Music New York, Parthenia, and the New York Choral Artists. She has recorded with Vox, CRI, and Prospect Classics.

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Saturday Program
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The planned and spontaneous collaboration that rocked my guest residency at Princeton University in 2019 was a truly memorable union of faculty, Princeton’s music librarian, other library staff, the spectacular holdings in the library’s rare book collection, and an impressive cadre of dedicated students. This presentation recounts why this seminar was a stunning learning experience and how the partnership offers a model for similar outcomes elsewhere Centered around new musicological currents addressing music’s materiality, the seminar concentrated on select manuscript and printed Renaissance music texts. Students documented textual changes affected by philosophical, theological, political, educational, and societal events and ideologies. They mined primary sources acquired over recent years and a number of fortuitous purchases made just before the course began. An undated print of Rore’s first book of madrigals inspired an entire class led by Jessie Ann Owens on partbook production in 16th-century Venice and how subtle differences between varying imprints of identical pieces inform scholarly discourse. Darwin Scott addressed how librarians acquire rare materials, form relationships with antiquarian vendors, and the vicissitudes of auction bids. Expanding perspectives beyond musical sources, a joint session with a course led by historian Anthony Grafton studying non-music manuscripts and prints exposed the material interconnections between both traditions during the Renaissance. The resulting archeology revealed patterns and influences stemming from earlier traditions, sister disciplines, and non-European cultures. The students recounted how the first-hand interaction with the actual sources opened their eyes to nuances impossible to detect in digital reproductions. Before the semester ended, they uncovered material that allowed for a breathtaking discovery.

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