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Project description

Urban Music and Urban Design at the Time of the First Dukes of Habsburg - Vienna in the 14th and 15th Century*

Univ. Prof. Dr. Susana Zapke

The topic intends to contribute to the urban- and cultural history of Vienna in the period from the end oft he 14th to the beginning of the 16th century.

It includes the facts between the first foundation of the University of Vienna in the year 1365 and its decline at the start of the 16th century – among others the denominational disputes, the siege of Vienna and further internal issues. That was the time of crucial historical developments such as the Council of Konstanz, the Council of Basel and the monastic reform of Melk under Duke Albrecht V. Their consequences had a significant impact on the whole of Austria and are closely linked to the central object of this research project.

The signing of the foundation deed by Duke Rudolf IV and his brothers Albrecht III and Leopold III in 1365 and the new foundation by Albrecht III in 1384 marked the beginning of the exciting history of the University of Vienna and of the collegium civium, which was founded a few months later. The tension between the foundation impulse and the claim of power on the part of the founders on one hand and the structures of self -organisation on the other show the unique features of this and other ducal foundations. Each new foundation contributes to the urban design of Vienna and promotes the progressive changes of its social and cultural reality. What is the motivation of the individual foundations? How does the city react to the increasing influence of the educated elites starting in the end of the 14th century and to the new intellectual power of early humanism at the end of  the 15th century?  How is this intellectual diversity reflected in the musical knowledge and practice at that time? Which music spaces can be identified apart from the institutionalised habitats of music practice and teaching in Vienna? Which kind of sonority and of musical identity is connected with the medieval city? [Working title FWF Research Project: Music in the Context of the University and Early Humanism, Vienna in the 14th and 15th Century]

The influential Viennese intellectual elites of the 15th century did not only comprise the urban educated elites but also some distinguished members of the monasteries and churches. The intellectual topography of Vienna shows different centres of music practice such as the Augustinian, the Dominican, the Franciscan, the Benedictine (Schotten Kloster) monasteries and the chantry of St. Stephen's, the collegium civium, the collegium ducale and the bursae but also the circle of private scholars of the civil society and aristocracy.  Music spaces can also be identified outside these clearly defined institutions. There is extensive historical proof for the existence of a musical practice independent of the established normative in public as well as in private spaces. In the streets and squares, in the public taverns and in the private houses music was practised in most diverse ways. The repertoire, which is charged with social energy, contributes to the creation of a common sound space. The music does not only serve as a brand mark for the internal articulation of the institutions and for the collective identity of the respective centres, but also invites the public to participate and to design their own spaces. From this perspective the city of Vienna emerges as a musical score. The social, cultural and intellectual communication systems appear as a noted space.

The main focus of this research project is on the analyses of the theoretical and practical music sources originating in the context of the university and of the connected educational institutions in Vienna. Historical documents such as foundation deeds, donations, institutional invoices, last will and testaments, book catalogues etc. are also thoroughly considered. The reconstruction of the significance of music in the curriculum of the university and in the context of Vienna’s consolidation as a centre of knowledge, as a transfer node of central European education networks, as enclave for a cultural diversity and the musical experience as part of everyday life also constitute substantial objects of this research. The research aims to prove the definition of music and urbanity, as design element of a social space and of sonority as identity-creating factor. The image of the city as a stage scene, as a performance and as a representation space for coexistent music practices, as space of simultaneous events describes Vienna's singularity in the late 14th and 15th century.

The innovative aspect of this research project does not only consist in the fact that it considers a wide range of original sources but also in focussing on the history of medieval Vienna with all its cultural-political and social-historical implications, which has not yet been investigated systematically.

Keywords: Music and cultural history / Intellectual history of the city of Vienna in the 14th-15th century/ History of the University of Vienna / Intellectual elites and international networks: social and cultural profiles, thought patterns, institutions and mentalities, representation, libraries' profiles /Prosopography / Music in the education systems: septem artes liberales – studia humanitatis / Influence of early humanism: scientia musica, ars musica – via antiqua, via moderna / Collective and individual reflection on and practice of music / Urban music and urban design / Soundspaces / Soundscapes.

Susana Zapke, Vienna 12.12.2012

*Working title: Music in the Context of the University and Early Humanism, Vienna in the 14th and 15th Century


The data base is continously being updated (last update Dec. 2013)


Project Structure

The research was funded by the Austrian Science Fund, FWF - M1161-G21

FWF – Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung

Worktitle: Music in the Context of the University and Early Humanism, Vienna in the 14th and 15th Century

 FWF-Zapke Project

Project Director

Univ. Prof. Dr. Susana Zapke

ÖAW - Zapke

Project Team

Mag. Eva Kreuz (geb. Greimler), Vienna University
Mag. Andrea Bottanova, MA, Vienna University


Link Project - Austrian National Library

Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Department of Manuscripts, Autographs and Closed Collections

Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute of History of Art and Musicology 

Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institute for Medieval Research

Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institute for Medieval Research, MIR

Universität Salzburg, Institut für Realienkunde des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit


Univ. Prof. Dr. Margaret Bent, CBE, FBA, All Souls College, Oxford
Dr. Michael Bernhard, Lexicon Musicum Latinum, Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Dr. Friedrich Buchmayr, Bibliothekar Stiftsbibliothek St. Florian
Dr. Regina Czermann, Pächt-Archiv, Universität Wien
Dr. Martin Czernin, olim. Handschriften- und Inkunabelsammlung Schottenstift
Univ. Prof. Marie-Madeleine de Cevins, Université de Rennes
Dr. Annemarie Fenzl, Archiv-Leiterin, Diözesanarchiv Wien
Dr. Andreas Fingernagel, Direktor der Sammlung von Handschriften und alten Drucken, ÖNB
Mag. Sonja Führer, Archiv-Leiterin, Erzabtei Stift St. Peter, Salzburg
HR Univ. Prof. Dr. Ernst Gamillscheg, ÖNB Wien
Dr. Christine Glassner, Kommission für Schrift- und Buchwesen der ÖAW
Univ. Prof. Natasa Golob, Universität Lubljana
em. Univ. Prof. Dr. Helmuth Grössing (i.R.), Präsident der Öst. Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
em. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gernot Gruber, Kommission für Musikforschung, ÖAW
Reinhard H. Gruber, Archiv der Metropolitan- und Domkirche zu St. Stephan
Univ. Prof. Barbara Haggh-Huglo, University of Maryland
Dr. Alois Haidinger, Kommission für Schrift- und Buchwesen der ÖAW
Dr. Martin Haltrich, Archiv- und Bibliotheksleiter Stift Zwettl, Kommission für Schrift- und Buchwesen ÖAW
Dr. Karl Heinz, Monasterium. Das virtuelle Urkundenarchiv Europas, MOM
Dr. Wolfgang Hilger, Universität Wien
Dr. Karl Holuber, Stiftsarchiv Klosterneuburg
Michel Huglo
Mag. Katrin Jilik, Sammlung von Handschriften und alten Drucken, ÖNB
Dr. Wolfgang Katzenschlager, Pfarrarchiv Weitra
Bartholomeus und Christina Khevenhüller
Mag. Christian Kircher, Wien Museum
Univ. Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Klecker, Klassische Philologie, Universität Wien
Mag. Anton Knoll, Sammlung für Inkunabeln, alte und wertvolle Drucke ÖNB
Dr. Michaela Kronberger, Wien Museum
Univ. Prof. Dr. Christian Lackner, Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Dr. Franz Lackner, Kommission für Schrift- und Buchwesen der ÖAW
Assunta und Matthias Leutzendorff von Preysing
Univ. Prof. Christina Lutter, Institut für Österreichische Geschichte, Univ. Wien
HR Mag. Thomas Maisel, Archiv der Universität Wien
Dr. Olivier Marin, Université Paris Nord, Institut Universitaire de France
Christian Meyer, Université de Nancy
Dr. Konstanze Mittendorfer, Inkunabeln, alte und wertvolle Drucke ÖNB
Univ. Doz. Dr. Kurt Mühlberger, Archiv der Universität Wien
Univ. Prof. Dr. Meta Niederkorn, Universität Wien
Dr. Alexander Rausch, Kommission für Musikforschung der ÖAW
Univ. Prof. Dr. Ingomar Rainer, Univ. für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien
Dr. Martin Roland, Pächt-Archiv, Universität Wien
Dr. Arthur Salinger, ehem. Museum Mittelalterlicher Kunst, Orangerie, Unt. Belvedere
Univ. Doz. Dr. Barbara Schedl, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien
Pater Gustav Schörghofer SJ, Jesuiten Wien
Univ. Doz. Dr. Johannes Seidl, Archiv der Universität Wien
Mag. Friedrich Simader, Sammlung von Handschriften und alten Drucken, ÖNB
Dr. Sonja Svoljsak, National and University Library Lubljana
em. Univ. Prof. Dr. Reinhard Strohm, Universität Oxford
Eva und Christoph Trentini
Mag. Maximilian Alexander Trofaier, Handschriften- und Inkunabelsammlung Schottenstift
Pater Peter Van Mejil, Pfarre St. Michael Wien
Univ. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Eric Wagner, Historisches Institut, Universität Münster
Univ. Doz. Martin Wagendorfer, Kommission für Schrift- und Buchwesen, ÖAW
Dr. Johann Weissensteiner, Diözesanarchiv Wien
Univ. Prof. Dr. Peter Wright, Universität Nottingham


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English (United Kingdom)Deutsch (DE-CH-AT)

Die fundamentalen Codes einer Kultur, die ihre Sprache, ihre Wahrnehmungsschemata, ihren Austausch, ihre Techniken, ihre Werte, die Hierarchien ihrer Praktiken beherrschen, fixieren gleich zu Anfang für jeden Menschen die empirischen Ordnungen, mit denen er zu tun haben und in denen er sich wiederfinden wird.

Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses

Paris 1966


The research was funded by the
Austrian Science Fund (FWF): M1161-G21