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Medieval music of Hildegards time Essay Example

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Medieval music of Hildegards time

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Medieval music of Hildegards time. Actually, plainchant is the form represented by the majority of surviving Medieval manuscripts today, even though polyphony receives far more scholarly attention, due to its role in the development of Western music. However, it should be remembered that plainchant was the foundation for polyphony, in that people began adding creative embellishments to the plainchant and also used troping, inserting melodies and text between plainchant verses. In that sense, Hildegard’s musical style represents earlier musical ancestry than polyphony does. When secular music came into being, it also was at first monophonic. This was represented in the songs of the Troubadours and the equivalent traveling music of Germany.

Furthermore, it mixed secular and sacred themes, featuring the Virgin Mary, for example, without trying to compete with liturgical music. It was, therefore, a kind of in-between monophonic music, a more secular cousin of Hildegard’s compositions. Hildegard composed music in four basic forms: Antiphons (her largest body of work), Responsories (her second largest body of work), Sequences, and Hymns. Antiphons were brief text and melody that was sung before and after a Psalm. Responsories were alternating solos and responses, sung after a scripture lesson. Sequences were dramatic pieces full of imagery, sung between the Alleluia and Gospel. Hymns were devotional pieces. Her music was distinct from other music of her time in that it soared over a large range, leapt by fourths and fifths instead of by seconds and thirds, was more angular in contour, and made ample use of dramatic malismas. Furthermore, she supported the use of instrumental accompaniment, associating the tambourine with inspiring discipline, the flute with the breath of the Spirit, the trumpet with the voice of the prophets, strings with the struggle of the soul toward repentance and light, harp with our holy origins, psaltery with the unity of heaven and earth, and the organ with creating community. Medieval music of Hildegards time.

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Works Cited

Fierro, Nancy. "Hildegard of Bingen: Symphony of the harmony of heaven." 1997. Hildegard.org. Web. 3 February 2012 <http://www.hildegard.org/music/music.html>.

Flanagan, Sabrina. Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179: A visionary life, 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print.

Grant, Barbara and Hildegard von Bingen. "Five liturgical songs by Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)." Signs (198): 5(3) 557-567. Print.

Kreutziger-Herr, Annette. Dreaming the Middle Ages: The rediscovery of Medieval music in modernity. Cologne/Weimar: Bohlau Verlag , 2003. Print.

McComb, Todd M. "Medieval & Renaissance music: A brief survey." 28 August 2001. Medieval.org. Web. 4 February 2012 <http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/beginlst/nocds.html>.

Nancy Phillips (2000). Dieter Torkewitz. Das älteste Dokument zur Entstehung der abendländischen Mehrstimmigkeit: eine Handschrift aus Werden an der Ruhr. Das ‘Düsseldorfer Fragment’. Beihefte zum Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 44. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1999. 131; 8 pls. Plainsong and Medieval Music, 9:59-80. Print.

Singer, Charles. "The visions of Hildegard of Bingen, 1928." Yale Journal of Biological Medicine (2005): 78(1) 57-82. Print.

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preview essay on Medieval music of Hildegards time
  • Pages: 8 (2000 words)
  • Document Type: Term Paper
  • Subject: Music
  • Level: College
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