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Sonic guides to an enfeoffment - The symbolic function of imperial court music in urban space

During the early 16th century an enfeoffment, the solemn awarding of a fiefdom to a prince or a duke, was a key element in the Holy Roman Empire's ceremonial. Based on the printed reports of the imperial heralds, it is possible to reconstruct the importance and sonic magnificence of those rituals.This paper demonstrates the function of music during the enfeoffments of August of Saxony and of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order in 1566 in Augsburg. Examining the long tradition of those ceremonies, argues will argue that the ducal and imperial trumpeters took an important function during an enfeoffment by mapping out the urban space through sound. The Weinmarkt, where most of the Augsburg enfeoffments took place, was the city's most splendid site with the grand mansions of the Fugger family forming the perfect backdrop for imperial rituals of that scale. Through its choreography the music amplified hidden symbolic meanings, projecting them to the imperial dignitaries and to the crowds rallying on the streets. The printed documentation of those ceremonies forms a virtual soundscape that aims to preserve the music's symbolism for posterity: “Vox audita perit, litera scripta manet”.