Tess Knighton

Institució Milà i Fontanals


Tess Knighton holds MA and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge and was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, for fifteen years before being appointed an Emeritus Fellow. From May 2011 she has been an ICREA Research Professor at the Institució Milà i Fontanals (CSIC) in Barcelona. In July 2012 she was awarded a Marie Curie Foundation Integration Grant for a research project on the urban musics of early modern Barcelona. Her research interests embrace music and culture in the Iberian world from the 15th to the early 17th centuries, and she has published widely in this field. She was Editor of the OUP journal Early Music from 1993 to 2009 and is Series Editor of the Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music series for The Boydell Press, as well as Secretary to the Editorial Committee of Monumentos de la Música Esañola.

Research interests

My research focuses on four interrelated aspects of music in the Iberian world in the long 16th century: music and ceremony; music in the urban context; the impact of music printing on the diffusion of musical repertory; and music historiography. Analysis of music and ceremony focuses on public display through royal entries and exequies as well as private devotions. Placing music in the context of court ceremonial reveals patterns of self-identity and image-making. Study of the urban musical experience of different social groups highlights the relationship between music and the institutional complex and urban societal interaction. The impact of music printing on the diffusion and accessibility of music is studied through extant inventories to reveal how European editions were transmitted to the centres of the book trade and the extent of musical literacy. Received ideas of Renaissance Iberian music are challenged and historiographical filters analyzed.

Selected publications

- Knighton T & Mazuela-Anguita A (eds) 2018, Hearing the city in early modern Europe, Brépols, Turnhout

- Knighton T 2018, 'Orality and aurality: contexts for the unwritten musics of sixteenth-century Barcelona', in (eds) Tess Knighton & Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita, Hearing the City in Early Modern Europe, Brepols, Turnhout