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Journal > Volumes > 37 (2006) / 4 (Winter)
Holy Restraint: Religious Reform and Nuns’ Music in Early Modern Rome
Kimberlyn Montford
Trinity University, San Antonio

Suspicion of nuns’ music during the early modern period reflected both the Tridentine preoccupation with religious celibacy and traditional distrust of female religious autonomy. Church officials prohibited certain types of liturgical and musical expression in Roman convents as well as interaction between the sisters and male musicians. The authorities were well aware of the attraction of nuns’ music, an attraction comprised not only of the skill and virtuosity of the singers, but also the allure of the forbidden. To counteract some of that attraction, officials severely limited the use of any music but Gregorian chant in the convent churches. Archival documents reveal that enforcing enclosure in Roman convents occupied religious authorities throughout the post-Tridentine period. Yet, nuns continued to perform in the monastic churches, often with many of the members of the curial hierarchy present. This article explores those religious, financial, and societal forces that resisted enclosure in Roman convents.

Pages: 1 007 - 1 026