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Emily Zazulia

Assistant Professor

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. 1350–1520. 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, ontology, and a late-medieval aesthetics that includes sight as well as sound. I am currently in the early stages a project on the nature and meaning of difficulty in fifteenth-century music. 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 Du Fay’s Nuper rosarum flores.

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 (2012) and an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellowship (2012). I also had the pleasure of spending a semester at Villa I Tatti as a graduate reader (2010). My current book project has been made possible by a fellowship from the the National Endowment for the Humanities (2015) and an ACLS fellowship, with the additional distinction of being named the first McClary-Walser fellow in music studies (2019). In addition to teaching in the music department, I serve on the advisory board of Berkeley’s program in Medieval Studies. Before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 2016, I taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania, and Haverford College.


“Out of Proportion: Nuper rosarum flores and the Danger of False Exceptionalism.” Journal of Musicology 36 (2019): 131–66. link

“Composing in Theory: Busnoys, Tinctoris, and the L’homme armé Tradition.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 71 (2018): 1–73. link

“A Motet Ahead of Its Time? The Curious Case of Portio nature/Ida capillorum.” In A Critical Companion to Medieval Motets, ed. Jared Hartt, 341–54. Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, 2018.

“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, 731–41. American Institute of Musicology, 2015.

“The Transformative Impulse.” In The Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music, ed. Anna Maria Busse Berger and Jesse Rodin, 587–60. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. link

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

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


Music 70 (History of Music)
Music 128 (Love and Love songs in the Middle Ages)
Music 170 (Josquin)
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