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Laboratoire italien. Politique et société, n°20/2017

Musique italienne et sciences médicales au XIXe siècle

Edited by Céline Frigau Manning

Laboratoire italien

How are we to understand the attention that nineteenth-century medical sciences paid to Italian music, and to some of its emblematic figures? To what extent were such disciplines less interested in specific works than in the musical phenomenon itself, including its effects on the body and the imagination? How did Italian music feed into original medical approaches, or take hold of them? These are some of the questions which are raised in this issue, which thus embarks on a terrain little explored by both the history of medicine and the history of music, by way of three main sections. The first, entitled "Healing With Music", examines the therapeutic experiments conducted in Aversa and Palermo in the first half of the nineteenth century. The second, “Anatomies of the Voice”, focuses on the singer's body, poised between virtuosity and medical knowledge. Finally, the third section explores the question of musical genius as it comes to be medicalised in the eyes of phrenologists or of Cesare Lombroso.