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Composing Music for the Feast of Fools: The Case of the Kyrie Asini

February 28, 2011 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Portrait image of Max Harris outdoors wearing a blue shirt and jacket.

Monday Seminar:

Max Harris

Independent Researcher


Over the past thirty years, the Kyrie Asini (Kyrie of the Ass) has become an established part of the repertoire of medieval music supposedly having its origins in the Feast of Fools. Musicologists and historians now confidently describe it as “traditional,” “thirteenth century,” and “French.” I will argue that it is a much more recent composition, inspired by the longstanding myth of a disorderly Feast of Fools.


Max Harris is the author of five books, including Sacred Folly: A New History of the Feast of Fools (Cornell University Press, 2011) and Aztecs, Moors, and Christians: Festivals of Reconquest in Mexico and Spain (University of Texas Press, 2000). He has taught at Yale University and the University of Virginia and has served as executive director of the Wisconsin Humanities Council.


February 28, 2011
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States