Emily Zazulia

  • Assistant Professor, Music Scholarship

  • Office Location: 222 Morrison
  • email

My research focuses on Medieval and Renaissance music—in particular, the intersection of musical style, complex notation, and intellectual history. I am currently working on a wide-ranging study of notational aesthetics in polyphonic music, ca. 1380–1520. In this study, I argue that 15th-century music writing exhibits a poetics of performative realization, resulting in a dynamic interplay between music as it is written and the transformations it undergoes in performance. For fifteenth-century composers, musical notation assumed a significance that would not be matched until the 20th century. In telling this story, I account for changes in thinking about music theory that made possible later modes of composition so invested in music’s written form. By reconsidering the role of notation, I engage with questions of performance, transmission, the ontology of the musical work, and a late-medieval aesthetics that includes sight as well as sound. Recent papers and publications have focused on the role of obscenity in 15th-century song, the L’homme armé tradition, the history of music theory, and ideas about rhythm in the middle ages.

I received my PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where I was a Dean’s Scholar and a Mellon graduate research fellow with the Penn Humanities Forum. My dissertation was supported by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship and an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellowship. I have also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Villa I Tatti, Harvard University’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. Before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 2016, I taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania, and Haverford College.


“Whatever you do, don’t sing D”: On the notation of Obrecht’s Missa L’homme armé,” in Qui musicam in se habet: Studies in honor of Alejandro Enrique Planchart, ed. Anna Zayaruznaya, Bonnie Blackburn, and Stanley Boorman (American Institute of Musicology, 2015), 731–41.

“The Transformative Impulse,” in The Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music, ed. Anna Maria Busse Berger and Jesse Rodin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 587–601.

“Updating Puyllois’s Missa Sine nomine,” in L’ars nova Italiana del Trecento, vol. VIII, ed. Marco Gozzi, Agostino Ziino, and Francesco Zimei (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 2014), 489–504.

“‘Corps contre corps’, Voix contre voix: Conflicting Codes of Discourse in the Combinative Chanson,” Early Music 38 (2010): 347–60.


Music 70 (History of Music)
Music 128 (Love and Love songs in the Middle Ages)
Music 170A (Singing Early Music)
Music 220 (Motets of the 14th Century)
Music 220 (The L’homme armé Tradition)


B.A. (Music), Harvard University, 2006
Ph.D. (Music), University of Pennsylvania, 2012