ABSTRACT

1Space, music and sound in the early modern world shaped each other in profound ways, and this is particularly apparent when considering Rome, a city that was considered as the “grande teatro del mondo.” Early modern Rome’s diverse musical practices, between national and international patronage, secular and devotional music, resonated in its highly theatrical urban space, which comprised aristocratic palaces, churches, gardens, streets and squares. 1 This fragmented territory reflected the city’s unique socio-political situation: the central religious and political power, detained by the pope and Church hierarchy, coexisted with the interests of several aristocratic families, religious congregations, embassies and large international communities that used music, but also sounds and noises, to define their identity within the city and on the international scene. Rome’s distinctive status among the cities of Europe, therefore, offers a privileged lens through which to explore the relation between music, sound, theater and space and the ways in which they influenced the performance of identity in the early modern period.