Mary, Music, and Meditation

Mary, Music, and Meditation

Sacred Conversations in Post-Tridentine Milan
Getz, Christine
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/08/2013
Format: Hardback 19 b&w illus., 15 music exx.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00787-2
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Burdened by famine, the plague, and economic hardship in the 1500s, the troubled citizens of Milan, mindful of their mortality, turned toward the veneration of the Virgin Mary and the creation of evangelical groups in her name. By 1594 the diversity of these lay religious organizations reflected in microcosm the varied expressions of Marian devotion in the Italian peninsula. Using archival documents, meditation and music books, and iconographical sources, Christine Getz examines the role of music in these Marian cults and confraternities in order to better understand the Church's efforts at using music to evangelize outside the confines of court and cathedral through its most popular saint. Getz reveals how the private music making within these cults, particularly among women, became the primary mode through which the Catholic Church propagated its ideals of femininity and motherhood.

Author Bio

Christine Getz is Associate Professor of Musicology and Dean's Scholar at the University of Iowa.


This meticulously researched book investigates popular piety directed toward the Virgin Mary in post-Tridentine Milan. Encouraged by Archbishop Carlo Borromeo and given added impetus by the plague of 1576, Milanese citizens increasingly turned to Mary as miracle worker, font of mercy, protector of humanity and their city, and intercessor with her Son for the practical and spiritual relief of supplicants. Through her imaginative and insightful study of five major cults of the Virgin, Prof. Getz uncovers in these Marian devotions consistent programmatic relationships among theological concepts, their textual and musical expression, and their visual representation in church iconographyMary, Music, and Meditation provides a comprehensive and well-documented view of how Marian devotion worked, socially and sonically, in one important early modern city. By looking at confraternities, church devotion, and little-known music, Getz shows how central this piety was to sacred culture in Milan across several generations, with music being one of its primary conduits.

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Table of Contents

1. Venerating the Veil: The Madonna Of Miracles at Santa Maria presso San Celso
2. The Art of Lamenting: The Cult of the Madonna Addolorata at Santa Maria dei Servi
History of the Cult of the Madonna Addolorata
3. Singing before a Madonna on the Pilaster: The Society of the Ave Maria in Duomo
4. Invoking the Mulier Fortis: The Confraternity of The Rosary
5. Clothed in the Sun and Standing on the Moon: Meditating Motherhood in the Cult of the Madonna del Parto
Epilogue: The Case of Santa Maria Segreta
Appendix A: Documents
Appendix B: Pay records for the singers of the Ave Maria in Duomo
Appendix C: Contents of Selected Collections by Milanese Composers
Appendix D: Musical Examples

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