Bet­ween Court and Ci­ty:

Soundscapes of Power in East and West (15th – 17th Centuries)

Online workshop


22.01.2021 | In ritual and in everyday life, sound is an essential means of representing power. Sound has a special potency, and rulers like the Habsburg emperors, the Ottoman sultans and the dukes of Burgundy knew how to exploit it. Music, as well as various other acoustic expressions, served as a status symbol, casting a special spell on the listeners, whose aim was to win them over to the rulers and convince them of their distinctive positions. With this musical accompaniment, they announced their sacred, political, and military power, incorporating the audience into the performance.

The workshop “Between Court and City: Soundscapes of Power in East and West (15th – 17th Centuries)” focuses on these soundscapes of power. The workshop, organized by the SNSF project “The Sound of Power: Sounding as Intermedial Category of 15th to 17th Century Court Festivity Rituals in an Intercultural Perspective” (University of Bern), will take place on 5 February 2021. The first workshop “Sonic Rituals: Ottoman, Habsburg & Burgundian Festivities (15th – 17th Centuries) From an Intermedial Perspective” held on 4 – 5 September 2020 emphasized the interplay of intermediality and ritual with particular attention to Ottoman court culture. The second workshop examines the relationship between sound and politics in Habsburg-Burgundian cultures, as well as some of the interim stations on the way to Istanbul. The workshop will explore selected centres of power in and outside urban spaces. The power of sound, in courts and cities, will be the focus of our studies. Lecturers from Istanbul, Bern, Basel and Long Beach (CA) will approach the topic from a wide range of different disciplinary and time perspectives.

The workshop will take place via video conference, and thus offers the possibility to engage in conversations across many different locations. Interested persons who would like to join the workshop as listeners and discussants are welcome.

Prior registration is required to attend this online workshop. If you are interested, please register via shared link ( or QR code by 31 January 2021 (Sunday) at the latest. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. For technical reasons, the number of participants is limited.

For queries, please contact or


Chair: Prof. Dr Cristina Urchueguía & M.A. Tül Demirbaş
11:00 Welcome: Prof. Dr Cristina Urchueguía (University of Bern)
11:15 Prof. Dr Jan-Friedrich Missfelder (University of Basel):
Acoustic Agencies in the Early Modern European City. A Conceptual Approach.
11:45 Dr Margret Scharrer (University of Bern):
Courts in Motion – The Sound of Power Between Everyday Life and Celebration.
12:15 Coffee break
12:45 Dr Moritz Kelber (University of Bern):
Rituals, Celebrations and Excess – The Imperial Diet in the Age of Emperor Maximilian I, and the
Festive Culture of the Holy Roman Empire.
13:15 Lunch break

Chair: Prof. Dr Cristina Urchueguía & M.A. Tül Demirbaş
15:00 M.A. Tin Cugelj (University of Bern):
“Ad sonum campanæ et tubæ”: Power-Reflecting Sonic Elements of Renaissance Dubrovnik.
15:30 PD Dr Judith Haug (Orient-Institut Istanbul):
“… quando il Gran Signore vuole la musica”: Music and the Ottoman State in the 17th Century.
16:00 Dr Nina Macaraig (Long Beach, CA):
The soundscape of Istanbul in the 15th-16th Centuries.
16:30 Coffee break
17:00 Closing discussion