Fellow 1998-99

John W Hill


Professor of music

Professor Hill joined the UIUC faculty in 1978, became a full professor in 1984, and is currently chair of the Musicology Division of the School of Music. His research has generally been concentrated on Italian music of the Baroque era. His latest book, Roman Monody, Cantata, and Opera from the Circles around Cardinal Montalto (Oxford University Press, 1997) uses ten newly discovered musical manuscripts and a large quantity of archival documentation to demonstrate that the vocal genres that signal the beginning of the Baroque era in Italian music (c. 1600) did not originate solely in Florence, as has been thought, but simultaneously emerged, with significantly different characteristics, in the Rome-Naples orbit as well. During his appointment, Hill will write the major portion of his next book, Baroque Music, under contract from W.W. Norton. The central aim of the book will be to allow the reader to study Baroque music and listen to it with an understanding that reflects that of its original participants—the composers, performers, patrons, and listeners of the period. Style history will be an important connective thread, and the text will be punctuated by musical analyses that reflect period theory and criticism. However, the emphasis will frequently return to the ways in which political, social, economic, and intellectual history and cultural analysis can contribute to an understanding of the music and the activities of music-making. The book will include a brief and clear exposition of rhetorical lore, and several chapters will follow the shift in emphasis from musical declamation, to elocution (the use of figures), and to invention (the affections) during successive stages of the musical Baroque. The treatment of mode, harmony, and tonality will be based on period writings and will constitute another unifying thread throughout the book. Other frequently neglected topics that will be treated are the place of women in musical life; German church music between Schütz and Bach; English theater music before Purcell; instrumental ensemble music from German- and Czech-speaking regions; Italian church music after Monteverdi; and music in Spain, Portugal, and their colonies.