Accountability and music: accounting, emotions and responses to the 1913 concert for Giuseppe Verdi

Elena Giovannoni, Maria Cleofe Giorgino, Roberto Di Pietra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study explores the engagement between accounting and music in the social and relational construction of accountability. We conceive this construction as a dynamic and recursive interplay between the giving of different accounts and the responses that these accounts provoke. We investigate the emotional dimension of this interplay, as it is also triggered by music, feeding back into how accountability is constructed and evolves over time.
Design/methodology/approach: We rely upon a historical analysis of archival and secondary sources about the main music concert organized in 1913 by the founder of ‘Accademia Chigiana’, one of the leading music academies in Italy. The concert celebrated the first centenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, a worldwide famous Italian music composer, and icon of Italian national sentiment.
Findings: Our study shows that music and accounting were profoundly intertwined in the social and relational construction of accountability for the 1913 concert. Accountability evolved through different accounts, also linked to music, and the complex emotional reactions these accounts provoked in the audiences, citizens, media, and institutions, leading to always further responses and accounts in the ongoing construction of accountability.
Originality/value: We extend prior studies on the chameleonic nature of accountability, as well as on its relational and emotional dimensions. We show that accountability is relationally constructed and evolves over time through the giving of accounts and the emotional reaction they provoke from others, feeding into further responses and accounts of the accountable subject. We show how the chameleonic nature of accountability permeates not only the accounts and the relations of accountability but also the subjects giving and demanding the accounts: these subjects change as chameleons through their interactions and emotions, feeding into the dynamic construction of accountability. We also show how arts, like music, can participate in the chameleonic nature of accountability and of its subjects, precisely by engaging with their emotional reactions and responses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023


  • Accountability; music; social construction; account-giving; response-giving; emotions; historical case.

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