Terms: Divine Office, Opus Dei or liturgy- sung cycle of prayer (4 or more hours a day) Lauds- Morning; Vespers- Sunset; Compline- Last service before bedtime Monophony- one voice, unaccompanied melody line Polyphony-more than one voice, each with its own melodic line Pedal- repeated sustained note Perfect intervals: fourth, fifth, octave Dissonance- intervals that create a feeling of pain, confusion or agitation Consonance- intervals that create a sense of harmony, rest, beauty and ease
Important Concepts and Historical Figures: Christ as Orpheus Pythagoras and the Harmony of the Spheres St. Benedict and the rise of Western monasticism Gregory the Great Hildegard of Bingen Cathedral Schools Pilgrimage, Codex Calixtinus and Llibre Vermell
Recommended Listening: Orlando di Lassus (1532-1594): Prophetia Sibyllarum (The Sibyls’ Prophecies) and Lagrimae di San Pietro (The Tears of Saint Peter) Hildegard of Bingen: Anything by Anonymous 4 or Sequentia Music for the Black Madonna, Michael Fosch and the Unicorn Ensemble Espana Antigua: Llibre Vermell, Jordi Savall and Hesperion XX Carmina Burana, Oni Wytars Ensemble Allegri: Misere- Tallis Scholars a beautiful illustration of the difference between monophony and polyphony Listen to this haunting masterpiece which was composed for the Sistine Chapel in the youtube segment below
Recommended Viewing: Into the Great Silence- a beautiful documentary about a year in the life of Chartreuse monastery, France Vision- German film about the life of Hildegard of Bingen, stressing the socio-political climate of the age
Below is A Perfect Fifth (Kaamalot)- a hilarious skit about the development of musical theory- though you'll have to overlook a few very crude subtitled translations from the French
Below are two versions of one of my favorite pieces of music ever- "O Maria Maris Stella", an anonymous hymn to the Virgin Mary dating from the 13th century and found in "Codex Las Huelgas", a book f music collected in a monastery in Spain that was renowned as the retreat center for troubadours and pilgrims on the Santiago Compostela. This convent was endowed by the daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the abbess had unprecedented power and authority. She was even authorized to hear confessions! This piece is a marvelous example of the growth of polyphony. Listen to how the single voice line gives way to a two- and then a three- part vocal texture, interweaving together both different melodies AND different poems. Be sure to appreciate the wonderfully juicy juxtaposition of dissonance and consonance. In the second version, the same melodies are transcribed for different instruments with only one singer. Listen to the two different versions and see which one you prefer.