Talks and Demonstrations

Music In Art

Music is our oldest social activity. It crosses divides of age, race, gender, class, religion and is inherently social: A birthday isn’t properly marked without the communal singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ and music underscores our traditions and music identifies us culturally. Surviving historical manuscripts give us a really good overview of what music was played at any given period in history, but it is through works of art that we can see how music affected people’s lives – how they would have enjoyed it, who would have played it. Music in Art looks at how the depiction of musical instruments from the Middle Ages to the 18th century evolves, focusing on instruments that Sophie plays, so as well as looking at images by artists such as Bruegel, Bosch and Hogarth she gives musical demonstrations on replicas of the instruments depicted.

The Devil, The Book and My Uncle’s Bagpipe

This lecture looks at the story of a remarkable book published in 1539 called In Chaldaicam Lingua. It was published by Theseo Ambrogio who had been the Pope’s enforcer of doctrine, with the Lord’s Prayer and selected psalms translated into multiple languages for missionaries to use. However Ambrogio also had an eccentric uncle who was an inventor and had invented a brand-new kind of bagpipe….that no one wanted to make, so he died with his vision mostly unrealised. Feeling that his uncle’s legacy shouldn’t be forgotten, Ambrogio included the designs for his uncle’s bagpipe in his new book of prayers. As well as the details of a seance he held with the devil…complete with the devil’s reply!

 Sophie Matthews is a musician and her interest in this book came through the musical side. As part of the lecture she has a reconstruction of the uncle’s bagpipe to play for you, as well as an original copy of the book.