Public Research Seminar: Dr Katie Bank

Public Research Seminar: Dr Katie Bank
Date and time
20 Feb 2024 (3:30pm - 5:00pm)

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - Workshop 2

200 Jennens Road, B4 7XR


Free - booking required

Our Public Research Seminars are held simultaneously at RBC and online via Zoom. A link to view the seminar online will be sent to you once a ticket is booked, should you wish to join the virtual session.

Booking Information

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Dr Katie Bank

Dr Katie Bank (University of Birmingham)

William Byrd, Orpheus and ‘motion’ as visual and musical affect: what’s next?

Looking at William Byrd's consort song 'Come, Woeful Orpheus' (1611) and the Orpheus overmantel at Haddon Hall (Derbyshire), this talk imagines how music and visual culture provided reciprocal somatic and symbolic cues within the domestic sphere.

Using Richard Haydock's A tracte containing the artes of curious paintinge (1598), it considers how the Orpheus trope, cogitated and embodied through visual and musical media, worked to produced 'fellow-feeling' and affect through 'motion'. 'Motion' was not only fundamental to early modern theory within both art and music but was thought to provide the ‘spark of life’ that aided interpersonal connection.

I explore the shared language between the theoretical and affective aspects of music and art in early modern England to provide a more nuanced understanding of what this can tell us about contemporary experiences of recreational music making. 

I argue that the physical, visual contributions of the performers are crucial to understanding Byrd's song, as early modern approaches to motion and affect relied upon body and voice and was best communicated through sight and sound.

Subsequently, I consider the next steps for this research project and how methodologies adapted from this case study might be transferrable to other multimedial tropes, such as ‘Susanna and the Elders’.

Katie Bank is Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Birmingham in the Department of History. Her work reflects an interdisciplinary attention to the role of recreational song and visual culture within the intellectual history of early modern England, particularly music's intersection with natural philosophy, the passions, and concepts of sense perception.

Publications include a monograph, Knowledge Building in Early Modern English Music (Routledge, 2021) as well as articles in journals such as Early Music, Arts Journal, and Renaissance Studies. She is co-editor of Byrd Studies in the Twenty-First Century (Clemson, 2023), creator of and has recently discussed her work as a guest on podcasts/radio, including BBC Radio 4.

She has been awarded grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities/Newberry Library, Arts Council England, the Leverhulme Trust, AHRC, and the British Academy. Katie is also an avid choral singer and enjoys frequent collaboration with professional and amateur ensembles alike.