CONF 07.02.2022

Aural Architectures of the Divine (online, 24-26 Feb 22)

online / Florence, 24.–26.02.2022
Anmeldeschluss: 23.02.2022

Tobias Weißmann

Aural Architectures of the Divine.
Sacred Spaces, Sound and Rites in Transcultural Perspectives

International and Interdisciplinary Conference [Hybrid]

Florence, 24–26 February 2022 [on site and virtually]

Research Project “CANTORIA – Music and Sacred Architecture” (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) | Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Storia, Archeologia, Geografia, Arte e Spettacolo (SAGAS)

Conference Venues:
Biblioteca Umanistica dell'Università di Firenze
Sala Comparetti
Piazza Brunelleschi, 4
I-50121 Florence

Basilica di San Lorenzo
Piazza di San Lorenzo, 9
I-50123 Florence

Concept: Klaus Pietschmann and Tobias C. Weißmann (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

Conference Committee: Mila De Santis and Antonella D’Ovidio (Università degli Studi di Firenze), Klaus Pietschmann and Tobias C. Weißmann (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

An interdisciplinary conference to be held in Florence from 24 to 26 February 2022 and virtually via Zoom will focus on the complex interrelation of sacred space, sound and rites in transcultural perspectives from ancient to premodern times. The research project “CANTORIA – Music and Sacred Architecture” (University of Mainz) and the “Dipartimento di Storia, Archeologia, Geografia, Arte e Spettacolo” (University of Florence) invite all interested researchers to participate. The conference will be held in a hybrid format – in Florence on site and virtually.

Since ancient times, religious practices and the perception of the divine have been determined by the intersection of rite, sound and sacred space. Temples, churches and other sacred buildings not only define a holy place as a physical and symbolic expression of a specific faith, but establish the setting for performative and multisensorial religious ceremonies in which music and other sonic manifestations play an important role. The structure, decoration and furnishing of sacred buildings create specific acoustics which influence the soundscape of sacred spaces. Performative rites such as services, processions, sacred plays or other liturgical ceremonies use the potentials of these environments in specific ways. Vice versa, architecture reacts to ritual and musical developments by modifying venerable sanctuaries or in designing and constructing new buildings.
The interdisciplinary conference explores the complex interrelation of sacred space, sound and rites in transcultural perspectives from ancient to premodern times. The sacred space is understood as a historical product, which was determined by a religion’s theological, aesthetic and socio-cultural context and which – conversely – shaped the performative, sonic and aesthetic dimensions of the ritual activities.
The congress is organised by the research project “CANTORIA. Music and Sacred Architecture” (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) in cooperation with the “Dipartimento di Storia, Archeologia, Geografia, Arte e Spettacolo” (University of Florence). A lecture-concert in the basilica of San Lorenzo with polychoral music composed for this church and for the Florentine Cathedral in the 17th century will prove the interrelation of music, architecture and acoustics at an authentic space. A video recording of the lecture concert will be published on the “CANTORIA” project website.

Further information:
The conference will be held in a hybrid format – in Florence and virtually. All participants on site must be vaccinated and tested. For the current Covid 19-regulations please, see the website:

Registration is required:

Klaus Pietschmann:
Tobias C. Weißmann:

Supported by
Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
Gutenberg Forschungskolleg


Thursday, 24 February 2022

14.30: Mila De Santis | Antonella D’Ovidio (Florence): Welcome

14.45: Klaus Pietschmann | Tobias C. Weißmann (Mainz): Introduction

Keynote Lecture

15.00: Jonathan Berger (Stanford): Sound, Space and the Aesthetics of the Sublime

16.00: Coffee Break

I. Antiquity

17.00: Doris Prechel (Mainz) | Giulia Torri (Florence): Stations of the Temple Cult – Set to Music in the Hittite Culture in Central Anatolia 2nd Millenium BC

17.30: Diana Perego (Milan) | Michele Traversi Montani (Lecco): Spazio e suono nel santuario attico di Ikaria

18.00: Jutta Günther (Göttingen) | Florian Leitmeir (Würzburg): Mysterious Noises, Mysterious Space. The Soundscape of the Frieze of the Villa dei Misteri in Pompeii

18:30: Break

21.00: Lecture Concert in the Basilica di San Lorenzo

21.00: Umberto Cerini (Florence): Musiche policorali negli archivi musicali di San Lorenzo e Santa Maria del Fiore. Testimonianze di una pratica diffusa

21.15: Concert by Lilium Cantores & Cappella Musicale di San Lorenzo (Musical Director: Umberto Cerini)
Polychoral Church Music from 17th Century Florence: Ruggiero Giovannelli, Marco da Gagliano, Filippo Vitali and Nicolò Sapiti

Friday, 25 February 2022

II. Middle Ages

9.00: Renzo Chiovelli (Rome) | Enrica Petrucci (Camerino) | Vania Rocchi (Florence): Lo studio delle ‘Trombe d’Eustachio’ nella cripta del Santo Sepolcro di Acquapendente come contributo al paesaggio sonoro della Via Francigena

9.30: Stefan Morent (Tübingen): Sacred Sound – Sacred Space: In Search of Lost Sound. Virtual Acoustic-Visual Reconstruction of Sacred Spaces of the Middle Ages

10.00: Anna Adashinskaya (Moscow): Singing for the Dead in Medieval Serbia. From Lateral Chapels to Additional Monastic Buildings

10.30: Coffee Break

11.30: Galliano Ciliberti (Monopoli): Reims: Spazi sacri, suoni e riti nelle incoronazioni dei re di Francia. San Luigi IX (1226) e Carlo X (1825)

III. Early Modern Period I: Italy

12.00: Vasco Zara (Dijon): The Theory of Architecture. The Renaissance Principles and their Applications

12.30: Stephanie Azzarello (Cambridge): Angels Above, Monks Below. The Use of Images, Sound, and Ritual in Venetian Sacred Spaces

13.00: Lunch Break

15:00 Emanuela Vai (Oxford): Staging Sound, Shaping Space. The Confraternity of the Misericordia Maggiore in the Early Modern Venetian Terraferma

15.30: Maddalena Bonechi (Florence): Musiche negli spazi architettonici di Santa Felicita a Firenze nel primo Seicento

16.00: Umberto Cerini (Florence): Cantori, chierici, organi e strumenti. La dialettica della musica liturgica negli spazi di Santa Maria del Fiore a cavallo tra Sei e Settecento

16.30: Coffee Break

17.30 Elena Abbado (Vienna): Oratorio vs Oratorio. Considerazioni sull'evoluzione del rapporto tra spazio architettonico e genere musicale nella Firenze tra Sei e Settecento

IV. Early Modern Period II: Central and Eastern Europe

18.00: Eugeen Schreurs (Antwerp): Angelic Hymns of Praise. Rood Lofts in Brabant, Flanders and Liège

18.30: Camilla Cavicchi (Tours): The Inner Ear. Watching Painted Music in the Castle of Montreuil-Bellay

Saturday, 26 February 2022

IV. Early Modern Period II: Central and Eastern Europe (continued)

9.00: Jean-Christophe Valière (Poitiers): The Approach of the Archaeoacoustic. The Case of Montivilliers Abbatial Church

9.30: Jana Kratochvílová (Brno): The Relationship of Sacral Architecture and Musical Practise in Royal Cities in Czech Lands (1450–1700)

10.00: Nicholas Smolenski (Durham): Metaphorical Construction of St Paul’s Cathedral in John Blow’s I was glad

10.30: Coffee Break

V. Non-European Cultures

11.30: Patrick Becker-Naydenov (Vienna): From Eastern Plainchant to Qurʾān Recitation? Practical, Aesthetical, and Architectural Implications for Converting Churches into Mosques and Constructing Islamic Sacral Sites in 16th-Century Urban and Rural Ottoman Southeastern Europe

12.00: Janie Cole (Cape Town): Sacred Architecture, Jesuit Missionaries and Performance in the Christian Kingdom of Early Modern Ethiopia

12.30: Gayathri Iyer (New Delhi): She Came, She Sang, She Danced. Interactions Between South Indian Temple Architecture and the Body of the Hereditary Performer as the Foundation of the Hindu Aural Divine

13.00: Concluding Remarks and End of the Conference

CONF: Aural Architectures of the Divine (online, 24-26 Feb 22). In:, 07.02.2022. Letzter Zugriff 18.04.2024. <>.