Since the mid-18th century, scholars have been accustomed to thinking of musical works of art as embodied in their notation. The restrictions of print culture on the publication of critical editions has perpetuated and entrenched this line of thinking. But with the vastly increased resources afforded by digital humanities, Italian songs from the time of Christopher Columbus aims to create a critical edition of the late-15th- and early-16th-century repertory of Italian and Latin songs known as frottole that displaces this notion and relocates the object of study in music as a sounding work of art.
While members of the research team for this project are rigorously evaluating, analyzing, and critiquing the materials and resources in this new edition, thereby providing users with expert editorial perspective,
our goal is not to establish a single authoritative version of a given sounding text, nor to render texts in modern notation, but rather to provide users with experiences and tools to make sense of the music, poetry, and sources for themselves. Our unique perspective provides scholarly information to a wide audience of users who may or may not be able to read music notation.