Dr Alexandre Cerveux

I am a historical musicologist whose research is devoted to the epistemology of music during the Middle Ages. In particular, my work centres on the dialogue that exists between music and sciences, and in the elements of music theory that are rooted in philosophical and scientific texts. This touches on the history of ideas and cultural history; within these broader domains, the medieval transmission of texts from East to West and between Arabic, Hebrew and Latin cultures serves as a key focal point. 

My doctorate thesis – which was supervised jointly at Sorbonne Université and École Pratique des Hautes Études – was completed in 2019, and it explores the place of music in Jewish teaching of the sciences in Spain and Southern France between 1147 and 1505. In recognition of my contribution to this field, I was subsequently awarded the PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) Dissertation Prize in Humanities and Social Sciences in 2020. 

Between 2019 and 2020, I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, and I investigated the conception of mimetic arts based on medieval Hebrew texts. During this period, I also participated in the Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies “Between Sacred and Profane – Jewish Musical Cultures in Early Modern Europe” as a Polonsky Visiting Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. After this, from 2020 to 2022, I was a Temporary Teaching and Research Associate at the Music Department of Sorbonne Université, where I taught history and theory of music from the Middle Ages to the Baroque, as well as the analysis of music before 1600. 

Book chapter contributions  

“Relation du féminin à la musique dans les sources juives méditerranéennes,” dans Alban Ramaut and Mélanie Traversier (dir.), La musique a-t-elle un genre ? (Paris: Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2018), pp. 29–43. 

“The Concept of Harmony in Premodern Jewish Literature,” in Tina Frühauf (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Music Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press) (forthcoming). 

“Le chantre dans les communautés juives médiévales,” dans Elsa De Luca, Jean-François Goudesenne, and Ivan Moody (eds.), Scriptor, Cantor & Notator: The Materiality of Sound in Chant Manuscripts (Turnhout: Brepols) (forthcoming). 

Articles in peer-reviewed journals  

“Quatre mariages, un chantre ivre et un enterrement: realia musicales de la Fustat juive médiévale,” Le jardin de musique, 8/2 (2017), pp. 129–151. 

“La place de la musique dans l’enseignement juif médiéval des sciences: l’exemple provençal du cercle de Frat Maïmon (xve siècle),” Le jardin de musique, 8/1 (2018), pp. 123–156. 

“Fonctions théurgique et talismanique de la voix chantée d’après le Sode Razaya d’Éléazar de Worms (v. 1165-v. 1230)” (with Emma Abate), Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes, 39 (2020), pp. 321–346. 

“Quand ciel et mer se mélangent: la versification moderne des Hébreux d’après les Quaestiones celeberrimae in Genesim (1623) de Marin Mersenne,” (with Clément Van-Hamme), Revue des études juives (forthcoming). 


Encyclopedic entry  

s. v. “Music and Musical Instruments | Judaism | Medieval Judaism,” in Constance M. Furey, Joel Marcus LeMon, Brian Matz, Thomas Chr. Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, and Eric Ziolkowski (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR), vol. 20 (De Gruyter: Berlin, 2022), pp. 288–289. 



“Melanie Kleinschmidt – ‘Der hebraïsche Kunstgeschmack.’ Lüge und Wahrhaftigkeit in der deutsch-jüdischen Musikkultur (Böhlau: Köln, 2015),” Revue des études juives, 176/1-2 (2017), pp. 251–254. 

“ Paola Dessì (ed.) – Music in Schools from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age (Turnout: Brepols, 2021),” Sehepunkt 22 (2022), n. 7/8, http://www.sehepunkte.de/2022/07/36599.html  

Epistemology of music during the Middle Ages