Music, Imagination and Experience in the Medieval World

Music, Imagination and Experience in the Medieval World (Gresham College). By Professor Christopher Page. A series of lectures concerned with the place of musical sound and art in medieval imagination and experience: its relation to patterns of fear, delight and awe. The setting for the lectures will be one of the few medieval churches of London to survive the Great Fire of 1666: St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, Holborn.

Christopher Page is Professor of Medieval Music and Literature, a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge. (from

Music, Imagination and Experience in the Medieval World

Medieval Music: The Stations of the Breath
At the heart of virtually all the medieval music that survives, is the human voice. This is an ancient heritage. The early Christians under the Roman Empire believed themselves to be engaged in a pilgrimage through a transitory world, where they were strangers, to their true home and an eternal liturgy.

Medieval Music: Chant as Cure and Miracle
As the monks were singing in a French abbey of the twelfth century, a cripple, who had crawled into the church suddenly, began to cry aloud and to extend his contorted limbs, 'and thus he that came into the church on four legs departed on two'.

Medieval Music: To Sing and Dance
During the eighteenth century, Western Europe gradually relinquished a form of musical experience that had been vital to the life of royal courts, town squares and streets for the best part of a thousand years.

Medieval Music: To Chant in a Vale of Tears
According to one early-medieval author, 'there are many who are moved by the sweetness of singing to bewail their sins, and who are readily brought to tears by the sweet sounds of a singer'.

Medieval Music: The Mystery of Women
During the last thirty years, the name of Hildegard of Bingen (d. 1179) composer, abbess and naturalist, has been gradually rescued from obscurity, notably by recordings of her works.

Medieval Music: The Lands of the Bell Tower
Many thousands of visitors to London each year return home thinking that Big Ben is the name of the great clock tower at Westminster. Londoners know that this is the name of the bell.

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