skip to content

Faculty of Music


Professor Mario Baroni

Università di Bologna

Affective procedures in a musical grammar


This paper will present work developed together with Rossana Dalmonte and Carlo Jacoboni. In 1999 we published a theory of a musical grammar, in which we listed all the structural rules necessary to describe a number of arias by Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-1690), with a computer program designed to check the completeness and consistency of these rules. In our first model of the grammar, we did not include prescriptions of how to use the rules to realise specific expressive intentions, typically studied by the semiotic tradition; we simply formulated the hypothesis that in a grammar there could be ‘meta-rules’ limiting or emphasising the selection of other rules. In the present paper, based on our current research, we give examples of particular meta-rules: the emotional ones present in a repertoire of 18th-century Italian opera seria arias.


Professor Mario Baroni is a former head of the Department of Musicology at the University of Bologna. In the 1990s he founded the Italian association for the analysis and theory of music (Gruppo Analisi e Teoria Musicale) and the Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale. He was one of the promoters of the foundation of ESCOM (European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music), and ESCOM President from 2003 to 2006. His research interests are devoted to music analysis, systematic musicology, music education and 20th-century music (particularly to Bruno Maderna and Giacinto Scelsi). Among his numerous publications is the book Le regole della musica (on the concept of musical grammar), written in collaboration with Rossana Dalmonte and Carlo Jacoboni (Turin: EDT, 1999, English translation, 2003).

Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 - 17:00 to 18:00
Event location: 
5.00pm, Recital Room, Faculty of Music