08 June 2011

Music Study for Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen was rather unusual for her time. She was the tenth child in her family and her parents dedicated her to the church, as was the custom of the time. At age 8 she went to live in a nearby monastery and began her education. At age 15 she became a nun and eventually founded her own cloister at Bingen. She was a prolific composer and writer. Her works of art were inspired by her visions, which were the result of migraines.

"Plainchant is believed to originate from the 3rd century A.D. Gregorian chant is a variety of plainsong named after Pope Gregory I (6th century A.D.), although Gregory himself did not invent the chant. The tradition linking Gregory I to the development of the chant seems to rest on a possibly mistaken identification of a certain "Gregorius", probably Pope Gregory II, with his more famous predecessor.
For several centuries, different plainchant styles existed concurrently. Standardization on Gregorian chant was not completed, even in Italy, until the 12th century. Plainchant represents the first revival of musical notation after knowledge of the ancient Greek system was lost. Plainsong notation differs from the modern system in having only four lines to the staff and a system of note shapes called neumes."  - Wikipedia

Since we are studying the Middle Ages next year, part of our study will include plainsong, and Hildegard wrote many examples in that genre. Here are some of her songs.

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