Clare Bokulich

​Assistant Professor of Musicology
research interests:
  • late-medieval and early Renaissance music
  • genre and genre theory
  • silence

contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1032
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899
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​Clare Bokulich’s research focuses on the interconnectivity of music genres in the fifteenth century, particularly the ways in which musicians systematically crossed generic boundaries.

Clare Bokulich’s research focuses on the interconnectivity of music genres in the fifteenth century, particularly the ways in which musicians systematically crossed generic boundaries by quoting secular songs in masses, subsuming liturgical chant into the context of forme fixe chansons, and organizing motets into substitute mass cycles. Her work interrogates contemporary discussions of genre and genre hierarchy in addition to engaging with modern genre theory and historiography. 

She is also interested in the expressive potential of silence and has presented work on the use of silence in Miles Davis’s canonic album Kind of Blue and the intersection of silence and non-musical articulations in Wagner’s Parsifal.

Clare’s work on Josquin’s Ave Maria…virgo serena is forthcoming in The Journal of Musicology. She has presented research at the national and chapter meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, and the Society for American Music. Clare is the recipient of a Whiting Foundation Dissertation Completion Fellowship and the Lieberman Fellowship at Stanford University, where she also received the University’s Centennial Teaching Award and the Chair’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Publications

“Meter and the Motetti Missales,” in Motet Cycles between Devotion and Liturgy, ed. Daniele V. Filippi and Agnese Pavanello (Basel, Switzerland: Schwabe, forthcoming).

"Contextualizing Josquin's Ave Maria...virgo serenaJournal of Musicology 34 (2017).

Review of The Cultural Life of the Early Polyphonic Mass: Medieval Context to Modern Revival by Andrew Kirkman, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 63 (2012): 611-613. 

Awards

2018 AMS Award - Roland Jackson Award for Outstanding Work in Music Analysis for "Contextualizing Josquin's Ave Maria...virgo serena" (Journal of Musicology, 2017)

"Reconsidering Josquin's Ave Maria…virgo serena." Journal of Musicology, 34

"Reconsidering Josquin's Ave Maria…virgo serena." Journal of Musicology, 34

Notwithstanding the reputation of Josquin’s Ave Maria…virgo serena as a touchstone of late–fifteenth-century musical style, little is known about the context in which the piece emerged. Just over a decade ago, Joshua Rifkin placed the motet in Milan ca. 1484; more recently, Theodor Dumitrescu has uncovered stylistic affinities with Johannes Regis’s Ave Maria that reopen the debate about the provenance of Josquin's setting. Stipulating that the issues of provenance and dating are for the moment unsolvable, I argue that the most promising way forward is to contextualize this work to the fullest extent possible. Using the twin lenses of genre and musical style, I investigate the motet’s apparently innovative procedures (e.g., paired duos, periodic entries, and block chords) in order to refine our understanding of how Josquin’s setting relates to that of Regis and to the Milanese motet cycles (motetti missales). I also uncover connections between Josquin’s motet and the music of earlier generations, above all the cantilena and the forme fixe chanson, that offer new insights into the development of musical style in the fifteenth century. The essay concludes by positioning the types of analyses explored here within a growing body of research that enables a revitalized approach to longstanding questions about compositional development and musical style.