Recent Articles and Talks


Eleanor Selfridge-Field

Consulting Professor, Music and Symbolic Systems

esfield (at)


See also Books

Time and Calendars

Music Theory, Cognition, and Technology

Music Copyright

Early Journalism and Music Criticism

Early Music

Italian Culture and History


Time and Calendars

“From Carnival Opera to Lenten Opera: The Politics of Theatrical Time,” Passages: Congress of the International Musicological Society, Zurich , 10-15 July 2007.

This carries the argument of Song and Season forward into the nineteenth century.

“Dating Venetian Operas: Implications and Quandries for Vivaldi Studies,” Convegno Internationale Vivaldiano, Venice , 11-16 June 2007.

This traces some correlates of Vivaldi's operas as they are described in The New Chronology of Venetian Opera.

 “Night and Theatrical Time in Early Modern Venice ,” Renaissance Society of America , Miami , 22-25 March 2007.

This material is partially covered in Song and Season.

 “Ritual, Liturgy, and the Venetian Theatrical Calendar,” L’opéra italien en Europe à l’époque de Haendel: Transmission, circulation et réception d’un genre international,  ed. Alessandro di Profio. Paris [2007].  

This gives an overview of Part Three of Song and Season.

"Dramaturgical Hours: How Lunar and Solar Cycles influenced the Length and Character of Venetian Operas," Twelfth Biannual Baroque Studies Conference, Manchester (UK), July 14-18, 2004.

This argument connects various method of timekeeping with cultural practices and shows their implications for understanding the structure of the theatrical year. I was not able to include the descriptive images in either book of the series called The Calendar of Venetian Opera, but I do plan to put some of them on the web. 

"Zarlino and Calendar Refor." [in progress]

I'm still trying to unravel the complexity of Zarlino's thinking about astronomy and timekeeping. He initially objected to Gregorian calendar reform, then capitulated.   

"Rites of Autumn, Winter, and Spring: Decoding the Calendar of Venetian Opera," Ninth Biennial Conference on Baroque Music, Trinity College Dublin, 13 July 2000.  

This talk has been given at least a dozen times since 1999. The information is largely superseded by Song and Season.

 Music Theory, Cognition, and Technology


“Algorithms for Music Information Retrieval: The Hausdorff Metric and Geometric Hashing” [lead author: Christian André Romming], ISMIR 2007.

“Social Dimensions of Melodic Identity, Cognition, and Association,” Musicae Scientiae: European Journal for the Sciences of Music (2007), 77-97.

“Social Cognition and Melodic Persistence: Where Metadata and Content Diverge,” ISMIR2006 ( Victoria , BC ) Proceedings, ed. Roger Dannenberg and Kjell Lemstrom . ISMIR0625_Paper.pdf

“Towards a Measure of Cognitive Distance in Melodic Similarity,” Music Query: Methods, Models, and User Studies (Computing in Musicology, 13 [2004]), 93-112.

“Search Effectiveness Measures for Symbolic Music Queries in Very Large Databases,” [with Craig Stuart Sapp and Yi-Wen Liu ], ISMIR2004: Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Music Information Retrieval. See

“Is Implicit Information Retrievable in Music Queries?”, Invited talk, Dagstuhl (DE) Seminar No. 04021. 8 January 2004.

“The Temperament, Scale, and Mode of Koto Music” [with Sachiko Deguchi and Katsuhiko Shirai] in Music and Globalization [in Japanese] ( Tokyo , 2004), 434-48.

“Base-40 Arithmetic: Implications for Notation-Based Applications,” Invited talk, WEDEL 2003/Interactive Music Network. Leeds University ( UK ). 11-14 September 2003.

“Composition, Combinatorics, and Simulation: A Historical and Philosophical Enquiry” in David Cope (ed.), Virtual Music: Computer Synthesis of Musical Style ( Cambridge : The MIT Press, 2001), pp. 187-220.

“The Electronic Dissemination of Notated Music: An Overview” [with Don Anthony and Charles Cronin], The Virtual Score (Computing in Musicology, 12, 2001), 135-166. See

“Data Models for Virtual Distribution of Musical Scores” (with Walter B. Hewlett and Craig Stuart Sapp), First International Congress on Web Delivery of Music ( Florence , 2001), ( Los Alamos , NM : IEEE Computer Society), 62-70.

“Domain Relationships in Man-Machine Interactions in Music” in Machines and History: Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of the German Association for Semiotic Studies (Dresden, 3-6 October 1999), forthcoming.

“Conceptual and Representational Issues in Melodic Comparison” in Melodic Similarity, (Computing in Musicology, 11, 1998), 3-64.

“Experiments with Melody and Meter, or The Effects of Music: The Edison-Bingham Music Research,” The Musical Quarterly 81/2 (1997), 291-310.

Music Copyright

“Copyright Issues in Scholarly Editions of Music,” American Musicological Society, Washington , DC , 26-29 October 2005.

Organizer and Chair, “Musical Data as Intellectual Property” [panel], ISMIR2004, Barcelona (ES). Participants: Charles Cronin, Enric Enrich, Masataka Goto. October 13, 2004.

“Fixed Form, Fluid Content: Musical Data as Intellectual Property,” Invited talk, Conference on Virtual Scores, Kernochan Center for Law and the Arts, Law School, Columbia University, 5 May 2003.

“Music Copyright, Music Technology, and Music Archiving: Issues and Interpretations,” Fourth Conference on Digital Resources in the Humanities.  King’s College, London, September 14, 1999.

“Copyright and Fair Use in Electronic Scholarship,” Joint Annual Meeting, Society for Music Theory and the American Musicological Society, New York , NY, November 1, 1995.

Early Journalism and Music Criticism

"Venetian Opera, French Criticism, and English Travels: The Case of Le Mercure de France and Joseph Addison," Revue de musicologie, 83/2 (1997), pp. 185-201. Draft. 

Few people who quote from early periodicals seem to realize that the rate of plagiarism among early journals was, by modern standards, shockingly  high. In this case, the venerable Mercure appropriates material from Addison's Travel Diary and thus offers as a "recent report" material written more than two decades earlier. This article has a forthcoming sequel dealing with a plagiarism of greater scope stretching over more decades but presented in a in a manner that might be described as polyphonic.

Early Music; Italian Culture and History

“Scuole della musica a Venezia da 1500 al 1797,” Recercare, 2007 [completion, with Loris Stella, of posthumous work of Gastone Vio].

"The Invention of the Fortepiano as Intellectual History," Early Music  29 (2005), 81-94.

"Messalina: Context and Content" in the facs. edn. Francesco Maria Piccioli—Carlo Pallavicino, Messalina (Drammaturgia musicale veneta, viii), Milan: Ricordi, 2003, pp. ix-lxxiv.

"La Guerra dei Comici: Mantuan Comedy and Venetian Opera in c. 1700," Recercare, X (1998, In memoriam Nino Pirrotta), 209-248.

"His, Hers, Theirs: Wedding Pageants, Wedding Operas, and the Musical Politics of Match-Making," American Musicological Society, UCLA, 28 April 2001.

"Horse Ballets in Baroque Italy," Berkeley Early Music Festival, 7 June 2000. 

This brief talk is superseded by Supplement 5e of The New Chronology of Venetian Opera.

"Celebrations of Power: The Performing Arts in Baroque Venice." 

Originally written for the  National Gallery of Art ( Washington, DC) symposium for the Glories of Venice exhibition (1995), this talk has been given more than a dozen times, inter alia at the Boston Handel and Haydn Society (2000)

"Expanding Violin Technique in Vivaldi's Time," lecture-demo with Stanley Ritchie (Baroque violin), Boston Handel and Haydn Society, 2000.

"La guerra de' comici: Mantuan Comedy and Venetian Opera in c.1700," Recercare X (1998), 209-248.

"Rovetta's Music for Holy Week," La Basilica di San Marco nell'età moderna, ed. Francesco Passadore e Franco Rossi (talk, 1994; book, Venice: Fondazione Levi, 1998), pp. 401-441. Draft version of article. Score for mass.  

"Venice: Musical Expression in an Era of Political Decline" in Music and Man (gen. ed. Stanley Sadie), 4: The Late Baroque Era from the 1680s to 1740, ed. George J. Buelow (London: Macmillan, 1993), pp. 66-93.

"Genre and Instrumentation in Italian Music, 1600-1670," Early Music, XIX/1 (1991), pp. 61-7

"The Baroque Era: Introduction" in Performance Practice (The New Grove Handbooks in Music), II: Music after 1600, ed. Howard Mayer Brown and Stanley Sadie, 2 vols. (London: The Macmillan Press and New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Ltd., 1989), II, pp. 3-19.