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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