Eleanor Chan: Postdoctoral Fellow (2018-19)

Dr Eleanor Chan holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge.


Reading in early modern Europe – whether the thing read was composed in words, paint, stitches, warp and weft, etching, engraving, carving, or indeed in musical notation – was a peculiarly patterned exercise. Pattern, and disruptions of pattern captured the imagination across media, evidenced in the popularity of the rhetorical tropes of structure,periodos, parison, epistrophe, antimetabole, in poetry, and in the rise of imitative counterpoint in the music of this period. It allowed for intervention, for creativity: for the reader to adopt the trajectory of their choice, rather than as directed, and to entwine diverse threads of knowledge in performance. The importance of pattern has been explored in single disciplinary contexts, in the work of those such as E.H. Gombrich and Brian Boyd. However, seldom has the cross-media, multisensory nature of pattern’s totalizing influence – and its importance to musical comprehension – been explored. Ellie's project proposes to do so, at precisely the point at which several of these media collide: in the vocal motets, madrigals and psalm settings of the period, where poetic, verbal, aural and visual patterns were styled side by side.