This preview has been provided by Carolina Pro Musica.

Carolina Pro Musica
Oct 28, 2017 – 8:00 pm
St. Martin’s Episcopal
1510 East 7th Street
Charlotte, NC

It may appear strange to us today but notating music took a long time to develop. Words were written down and the music was “remembered” by hearing others sing. By the 7th to 8th centuries marks were placed above or beside a grouping of words to indicate the rising or lowering of pitch (rather like Greek voice inflections). Some believe these marks were also used as hand gestures by the leader “directing” the other singers. However, this notation was devised to help remember what was already known. A large number of manuscripts date from this time and are housed in St. Gallen (Switzerland) in the library of the former Benedictine monastic community.

By the 9th century the chants were becoming more complicated and extended for special days in the church. The monk Notker Balbulas of St. Gallen wrote mnemonic poems related to the particular feast day for the “Alleluia” extensions as he could not remember the music for the long melisma which was sung on the final syllable “a.” Eventually these texts (sequences) were sung with this additional text. They were placed after the singing of the “Alleluia” and Gospel verse directly before the reading of the Gospel. Between 881 and 887, Notker created Liber Hymnorum, a collection of Sequences from St. Gallen. He is the creator of several of these as indicated in letters he wrote at the time. The program includes a sequence from the Liber Hymnorum which is definitely by Notker.

Within a few centuries reading music offered stability as a musical staff with 4 lines developed. This indicated the intervallic relationship between pitches and used notation called neumes. With this advancement, creativity surged as music from monasteries, churches, and courts was written down.

Carolina Pro Musica’s program includes selections by the German abbess and mystic Hildegard, the Florentine Landini, Machaut from Reims (France), the Franco-Flemish composer Dufay and others. There are anonymous monophonic dances (source British Library manuscript Add. 29987) from 14th c. Milan. Works for three voices (instrumental or vocal) in varying styles, will show composers’ innovations. Famous songs like Machaut’s “Douce Dame” and Dufay’s “Se la Face ay Pale” will be featured. Join Carolina Pro Musica as we explore musical development from the time of Charlemagne to the 15th century.