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Is anyone here into Medieval Music? I just discovered a real swinging lady who was not mentioned in Grout when I was studying Music History. I thought to start a thread on Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) as a composer in her own write, but it may be more interesting to compare her to others.

Here is a good site to start:

"...When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones. She is the first composer whose biography is known. She founded a vibrant convent, where her musical plays were performed..."

There is a clip in the new Norton Anthology, done really well (more lively than some other recordings) of the "In Principio" from her largely plainchant "Ordo Virtutem" (the Play of the Virtues) for 27 women's voices and one man (the devil). Well, she was mainly surrounded by nuns so the preference for female voices is understandable...


I love pre-baroque early music, although I don't have a particularly great knowledge of it on a technical level.

My favourites are Hildegard, Alfonso X's Cantigas de Santa Maria (I believe it's unsure which are attributed to him, and many are certainly by others, so generally they are all referred to as "his" works, but he just collected and published them), PĂ©rotin, Dunstaple (very late medieval, but he is too wonderful to decide to leave out...) and above all Machaut, who, to me, is the only medieval composer who compares to renaissance era composers in terms of large surviving output, and is one of the rare medieval composers who can be understood sort of as a person rather than an almost anonymous writer of religious music. His music ranges from challenging and spikey (motets), very deep (Messe de Nostre Dame), to highly poetic, and uniquely insightful on non-religious themes (his accompanied poems).

Edit: A perhaps surprising amount of very early composers were female - amongst the ones known by only one name, pre-1000 ad, I believe there are 3 or 4.

71 dB:

--- Quote from: zamyrabyrd on October 06, 2007, 09:31:49 PM ---Is anyone here into Medieval Music?

--- End quote ---

Not really. Too simple for my taste. I like Alfonso X thou.  :D


--- Quote from: 71 dB on October 06, 2007, 11:51:12 PM ---Too simple for my taste.

--- End quote ---

Perhaps try this - it's an isorhythmic motet by Machaut, and audibly technical without any need to analyse (which would no doubt reveal much more).

71 dB:

--- Quote from: Lethe on October 06, 2007, 11:56:54 PM ---Perhaps try this - it's an isorhythmic motet by Machaut, and audibly technical without any need to analyse (which would no doubt reveal much more).

--- End quote ---

Thanks! That wasn't bad. Maybe I explore this Machaut.


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