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Title: Instrument building and musical culture in seventeenth-century Malta : the luthier Mattheo Morales
Author: Borg Cardona, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 1306
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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By the seventeenth century, Malta had become a nucleus of cultural activity. It provides us with totally new perspectives on the production and consumption of music within a Mediterranean context. Though in some ways comparable to other European centres, its society differed in that there was a large presence of multi-national Knights of the Order of St John coming from the aristocracy of Italy, France, Auvergne, Provençe, Aragon, Castille, Léon, Portugal and Germany. Numerous Arab and Turkish slaves added to the cultural mix living in a concentrated area. This thesis uses the example of the Maltese instrument builder Mattheo Morales (1637-1698) as a lens through which to investigate musical culture in seventeenth-century Malta, addressing its connections to wider Mediterranean and European trends and its unique social and cultural circumstances. An affluent society and flourishing cultural atmosphere served as catalyst to foreign singers, instrumentalists, teachers of music and dance, and also to theatrical troupes. Morales was perfectly located in the city of Valletta, managing to carve for himself a very comfortable living, not only through his instrument building, but also by supplementing his earnings with regular investments in traders. Malta’s position in the central Mediterranean placed it at the crossroads of global trade and Morales’ transactions expose the vast web of trade routes with which he was personally connected. A meticulously detailed inventory of his goods drawn up after his death provides us with a very rare description of this craftsman’s home, with details of his furniture, furnishings, paintings, clothing, jewellery and silver items. In his workshop we find a number of different sizes of guitars, violins, sordini violins, bassi di viola, an arch guitar, a lute, a tromba marina, a spinet and also an instrument in the style of a Turkish tambura. Through his inventory and its ramifications, a broader picture of the musical life in Malta and the connectivity of the Island are made apparent. This thesis shapes our understanding of the significant cultural and musical activity taking place within a Mediterranean context.
Supervisor: Brooks, Laura ; De Lucca, Valeria Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available