The Musical World of a Medieval Monk

The Musical World of a Medieval Monk : Ademar de Chabannes in Eleventh-century Aquitaine

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James Grier documents the musical activities of Ademar de Chabannes, eleventh-century monk, historian, homilist and tireless polemicist for the apostolic status of Saint Martial, patron saint of the abbey that bore his name in Limoges. Ademar left behind some 451 folios of music with notation in his autograph hand, a musical resource without equal before the seventeenth century. He introduced, at strategic moments, pieces familiar from the standard liturgy for an apostle and items of his own composition. These reveal Ademar to be a supremely able designer of liturgies and a highly original composer. This study analyses his accomplishments as a musical scribe, compiler of liturgies, editor of existing musical works and composer; it also offers a speculative consideration of his abilities as a singer; and finally, it places Ademar's musical activities in the context of liturgical, musical and political developments at the abbey of Saint Martial in Limoges.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25mm | 770g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521856280
  • 9780521856287

Table of contents

Introduction. Ademar de Chabannes and Saint Martial de Limoges; Music scribe; Compiler; Editor; Composer; Singer; Conclusion. The success of the Apostolic Campaign; Appendix A. Manuscripts with Ademar's music hand; Appendix B. Ademar's original compositions; Bibliography.
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Review quote

Review of the hardback: 'To have identified a substantial body of music composed by and copied in the hand of this eleventh-century monk represents a breathtaking synthesis of research that few medievalists would have deemed possible several decades ago. To be able to date much of the music and its copying to a six-month period in the year 1029 is simply stunning. And to have such a musical oeuvre accessible from someone in the first half of the eleventh century is unprecedented. If anyone doubts that real history can be as captivating as the best fiction, come meet Ademar and read this book.' Journal of the American Musicological Society
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About James Grier

James Grier is Professor of Music History at the University of Western Ontario.
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