Birthplace of the modern-day musical performance

Piazza di Spagna and its acoustics
Piazza di Spagna has perfect acoustics. Orchestral music as we know it today was born in this very square, in 1687. Here, for the first time in musical history, a large group of musicians performed the same score for a large audience, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, both natural and artificial (fireworks). There were no barriers between the music and the audience, or between the stage and the “parterre”.

The perfect acoustics of Piazza di Spagna are due to its unique shape, which makes it a perfect architectural sounding board.

The birth of the modern-day musical performance
In 1687, Piazza di Spagna hosted two great festivities. One was to celebrate the healing of King Louis XIV from a long illness, the other to celebrate the name day of the Queen of Spain, Maria Luisa of Bourbon. Before this turning point, live music had been a “private affair”, hence the name “chamber music”.

In August 1687, the Spanish ambassador arranged a serenade for 5 voices and 80 instruments for the queen’s name day in Piazza di Spagna.

It was a way to respond to the French, who - in April of that year - had celebrated the healing of their king with a superb serenade in the Trinità dei Monti.

The orchestras were “modern” in several respects: the musicians played as a single body, arranged in tiers, and performed facing the public.

In Piazza di Spagna, the way we listen to music and interact with it was changed forever.

Credits: Story

Exhibition edited by Youth Committee of the Italian Commission for UNESCO - Lazio: Antonio Geracitano, Marco Anzellotti, Vittoria Azzarita, Andrea Bangrazi, Ilaria Cacciotti, Francesca Candelini, Giovanni Cedrone, Carlotta Destro, Caterina Francesca Di Giovanni, Alessandra Feola, Paolo Ianniccari, Marta Lelli, Laura Leopardi, Ginevra Odone, Dario Saltari, Paolo Scipioni.

Photo credits "Arcangelo Corelli leading a serenata at Piazza di Spagna":

Youth Committee of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO

Credits: All media
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