Research Profile

Karen Desmond

Biography

Karen is a musicologist and medievalist whose research focuses on the intellectual and aesthetic experience of music in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and on contextualizing these experiences through the study of medieval mathematics and science, philosophy and theology. She received her Ph.D. in musicology in 2009 from New York University (advisor, Edward Roesner), and she is now a Research Affiliate at University College Cork Ireland currently funded by a one-year NEH fellowship, which was awarded for her book project - Greedy for New Things: What Novelty Means in Early Fourteenth-Century Music. She was a Lecturer in Musicology at University College Cork from 2011 to 2013, and a researcher at the University of Cologne from 2012-2013, where she worked on a project led by Professor Frank Hentschel titled ‘Gemeinschaftsbegriffe im mittelalterlichen Musikschrifttum’ (‘Concepts of Community in Medieval Music Theory’).

Her work with the material technologies that show evidence for medieval transmission, dissemination and reception (through her interests in paleography, codicology and archival research) intersects with her interests in how digital tools and techniques are now being used for the analysis and dissemination of medieval works. She has published digital editions of fourteenth century music theory treatises (http://www.arsmusicae.org; also see her article just published in Musica disciplina 57 (2013).

Other research includes her translation of the music treatise of the important thirteeth-century music theorist, Magister Lambertus, edited by Christian Meyer (forthcoming, Ashgate 2014). Her most recent article is on Machaut in the 2013 issue of Early Music History (Cambridge University Press) and she has written articles and reviews for the Journal of Musicology, Journal of Plainsong and Medieval Music, Early Music, The Medieval Review, Notes and Speculum. She co-organised an international conference on the Montpellier Codex, with Catherine Bradley (Stony Brook University), which was held at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, on March 20-21, 2014.

Research and Teaching Interests

Ars nova and Ars antiqua music and theory;
Digital humanities;
The concepts of nationes in medieval music theory;
Medieval English Music and Theory;
Expressivity in Schubert's songs;
Popular Music.

Publications

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2013)'Refusal, the Look of Love, and The Beastly Woman of Machaut’s Balades 27 and 38'
Karen Desmond (2013) 'Refusal, the Look of Love, and The Beastly Woman of Machaut’s Balades 27 and 38'. Early Music History, 32 :71-118   [Details]
(2013)'Book review of Emma Dillon, The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 (Oxford University Press, 2012)'
Karen Desmond (2013) 'Book review of Emma Dillon, The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 (Oxford University Press, 2012)'. The Medieval Review,   [Details]
(2012)'Texts in Play: The Ars nova Textual Tradition and its Hypertextual Representation (Including a Digital Edition of the Music Treatise Omni desiderati notitiam)'
Karen Desmond (2012) 'Texts in Play: The Ars nova Textual Tradition and its Hypertextual Representation (Including a Digital Edition of the Music Treatise Omni desiderati notitiam)'. Musica disciplina, [Details]
(2012)'Book review of Florentius de Faxolis: Book on Music, ed. and trans. Bonnie J. Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens (Harvard University Press, 2011)'
Karen Desmond (2012) 'Book review of Florentius de Faxolis: Book on Music, ed. and trans. Bonnie J. Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens (Harvard University Press, 2011)'. Early Music, 40 (3)   [DOI] [Details]
(2012)'Book review of Ars musica septentrionalis: De l’interprétation du patrimoine musical à l’historiographie, ed. Barbara Haggh and Frédéric Billiet (Presses de l’université Paris-Sorbonne, 2011)'
Karen Desmond (2012) 'Book review of Ars musica septentrionalis: De l’interprétation du patrimoine musical à l’historiographie, ed. Barbara Haggh and Frédéric Billiet (Presses de l’université Paris-Sorbonne, 2011)'. Notes (Journal of The Music Library Association), 68 (4):811-814   [Details]
(2000)'New Light on Jacobus, Author of Speculum musicae'
Karen Desmond (2000) 'New Light on Jacobus, Author of Speculum musicae'. Plainsong and Medieval Music, 9 :19-40   [Details]
(1998)'Sicut in grammatica: Analogical Discourse in Chapter 15 of Guido’s Micrologus'
Karen Desmond (1998) 'Sicut in grammatica: Analogical Discourse in Chapter 15 of Guido’s Micrologus'. Journal of Musicology, 16 :467-493   [Details]

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(1999)'“Notre Dame Polyphony” & “Ockeghem”'
Karen Desmond (1999) '“Notre Dame Polyphony” & “Ockeghem”' In: Reader’s Guide to Music History, Theory and Criticism edited by Murray Steib. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. [Details]

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2013)International Symposium on Medieval and Early Renaissance Music,
Karen Desmond (2013) The Ars nova theory complex. [Invited Oral Presentation], International Symposium on Medieval and Early Renaissance Music, Kloster Neustift/Novacella (Italy) , 24-JUN-13 - 29-JUN-13. [Details]
(2013)Seminar Series in Musicology,
Karen Desmond (2013) Machaut's Animals. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Seminar Series in Musicology, University College Dublin , 03-OCT-13 - 03-OCT-13. [Details]
(2013)Invited Talk for Panel Presentation at Rethinking Liveness: Music, Performance and Media Technology, an Interdisciplinary Symposium,
Karen Desmond (2013) Digitized Medieval Manuscripts and ‘Real Live Books!. Invited Talk for Panel Presentation at Rethinking Liveness: Music, Performance and Media Technology, an Interdisciplinary Symposium, University College Cork , 06-SEP-13 - 06-SEP-13. [Details]
(2013)2013 Music Encoding Conference,
Karen Desmond (2013) Towards an MEI neumes-module. [Chair Sessions at Symposia], 2013 Music Encoding Conference, University of Mainz (Germany) , 22-MAY-13 - 24-MAY-13. [Details]
(2013)Society of Musicology Ireland/Royal Musical Association Annual Conference,
Karen Desmond (2013) Woman/Snake and the Beasts of Machaut’s Balades 27 and 38. [Oral Presentation], Society of Musicology Ireland/Royal Musical Association Annual Conference, NUI Maynooth , 21-JUN-13 - 22-JUN-13. [Details]
(2012)Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society,
Karen Desmond (2012) Texts in Play: The Ars Nova and its Hypertexts. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, New Orleans , 01-NOV-12 - 04-NOV-12. [Details]
(2013)Centre for Medieval Studies Seminar Series,
Desmond, Karen (2013) The Beastly Woman of Machaut’s Balades 27 and 38. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Centre for Medieval Studies Seminar Series, University of Bristol , 31-JAN-13 - 31-JAN-13. [Details]
(2012)Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music, All Souls College, Oxford University,
Karen Desmond (2012) The Omni desideranti treatise and the Ars nova textual tradition. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music, All Souls College, Oxford University, Oxford University , 25-OCT-12 - 25-OCT-12. [Details]
(2012)FUAIM Lecture Series,
Karen Desmond (2012) Glossing Music Theory: Representing the Web of Allusions, References and Quotations in Medieval Texts. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], FUAIM Lecture Series, University College Cork , 23-FEB-12 - 23-FEB-12. [Details]
(2010)Fall Meeting of the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society,
Karen Desmond (2010) Jacobus’s Witness to the Text of the Ars nova. [Oral Presentation], Fall Meeting of the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society, Amherst, MA , 30-OCT-10 - 30-OCT-10. [Details]
(2009)Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society,
Karen Desmond (2009) From Trees to Degrees: Mensural Theory and Metaphysical Questions of Being. [Oral Presentation], Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Philadelphia , 05-NOV-09 - 08-NOV-09. [Details]
(2009)Society of Musicology Ireland/Royal Musical Association Annual Conference,
Karen Desmond (2009) A Witness to the Exemplar of the Ars nova? The Evidence from Jacobus’s Speculum musicae. [Oral Presentation], Society of Musicology Ireland/Royal Musical Association Annual Conference, Dublin , 02-JUL-09 - 04-JUL-09. [Details]
(1999)Death and the Hope of Life in the Middle Ages,
Karen Desmond (1999) Musica caelestis and the Beatific Vision. [Oral Presentation], Death and the Hope of Life in the Middle Ages, Princeton University , 27-MAR-99 - 27-MAR-99. [Details]
(1999)Capital Meeting of the American Musicological Society,
Karen Desmond (1999) The Songs of Angels. [Oral Presentation], Capital Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Goucher College, Baltimore , 30-JAN-99 - 30-JAN-99. [Details]

Thesis/Dissertation

 YearPublication
(2009)Behind the Mirror: Revealing the contexts of Jacobus's Speculum musicae.
Karen Desmond (2009) Behind the Mirror: Revealing the contexts of Jacobus's Speculum musicae. New York University, Ph.D. diss: Thesis/Dissertation   [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2012UCC School of Music and Theatre Research Grant School of Music and Theatre, University College Cork
2013CACSSS Research Grant College of Celtic Studies, Arts and Social Sciences, University College Cork
2013NUI Publication Subvention National University of Ireland
2012AMS Membership and Professional Development Committee Travel Grant American Musicological Society
2009AMS Membership and Professional Development Committee Travel Grant American Musicological Society
1994NYU Graduate Assistantship and Tuition Fellowship New York University
1995NYU Graduate Assistantship and Tuition Fellowship New York University
1996NYU Graduate Assistantship and Tuition Fellowship New York University
1993NYU Langley Fellowship New York University
1996CUNY Christina M. Dunkle Scholarship The Latin-Greek Institute, City University of New York
1995FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies - German) Summer Fellowship United States Department of Education
1988John & Katherine Donnelly Scholarship Donnelly Mirrors, Inc.
1997NYU Lane Cooper Research Fellowship New York University

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
American Musicological Society Member/
The Medieval Academy of America Member/
The Society of Musicology Ireland Member/
Early Music America Member/
The Viola da Gamba Society of America Member/

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Departmental Board Member2011 /
Thesaurus Musicarum Latinum Advisory Board Member2012 /
Teaching and Learning Committee Member2012 /

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
Charles County Community College Adjunct Professor01-SEP-00 / 01-JAN-00
New York University Teaching Assistant01-SEP-94 / 30-JUN-97
Conservation International Senior Systems Analyst01-JAN-01 / 01-JAN-06
University College Cork Lecturer in Musicology05-DEC-11 / 31-DEC-13

Education

 YearInstituionQualificationSubject
2009New York University PHDMusicology
1995New York University Master of ArtsMusicology
1992University College Cork BMusMusic

Languages

 LanguageReadingWritingSpeaking
Latin Fluent
French
German
Gaeilge

Other Activities

 Description

Reader of manuscripts for for Plainsong and Medieval Music, Musica disciplina, and Viator.

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

What is Musicology (undergraduate lecture course), Spring 2013, Fall 2013
Introduces all first-year music majors to the discipline of musicology; surveys the tools and methods of the musicological approach; and covers the practical aspects of conducting and presenting research as a student of music in a university. Topics covered include: music and the academy, the ‘-olgies’ of musicology; historical reconstructions and authenticity; music theory v. analysis; music and the body in performance. Teaching syllabus at http://www.arsmusicae.org/wordpress/musicandideas.
Silly Love Songs: Voicing Love in Western Music (undergraduate lecture course), Fall 2012, Fall 2013
Through a focus on two case studies - medieval song and the courtly love ethos, and the songs of Doris Day and post-war America – this course examine how ideologies of love and relationships are propagated through love song repertories. We analyse didactic texts such as Andreas Capellanus’s The Art of Courtly Love; the dream-vision The Romance of the Rose; Machaut's narrative dits; 1950s home economics books, and various magazines, movies and TV shows from the 1950s. Course work includes staging in-class debates on the values of love, performing or composing love songs, and individual research projects. Teaching syllabus at http://www.arsmusicae.org/wordpress/silly.

Difference and Otherness (undergraduate lecture course), Spring 2012
Investigates the role music plays in articulating divisions and distinctions between peoples, and examines whether music reinforces or transcends notions of difference and otherness. Focuses on three case studies (Early Modern Opera; Schubert; Animals and Monsters in Medieval Music) in an exploration of  the role of identity (gender, sexuality, nationality) in the performance and consumption of music.

Musicology and Text (postgraduate seminar), Spring 2012, Spring 2013
Introduces the field of musicology; focuses on the tools and methodologies musicologists use to interpret, contextualize and critically evaluate their primary sources (bibliography, codiocology, analysis, critical theory).

Senior Research Forum (undergraduate final-year seminar), Spring 2012 
Investigates the nature and variety of work done by composers, performers and music scholars through exposure to active professionals in these fields who make presentations to the class. Students develop and articulate their own professional aspirations and goals.

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School of Music and Theatre

Scoil an Cheoil agus na hAmharclainne

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh, College Road, Cork, T12 K8AF,

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