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The Best of Bristol Lectures

Inside the music of Hildegard von Bingen

Inside the music of Hildegard von Bingen


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Given By: Dr Emma Hornby
Subject Area:
Year: 2012


The 12th-century German nun and mystic Hildegard von Bingen is a modern marketing phenomenon. What makes the Hildegard brand so successful? In this lecture, we dive inside the notes - in a non-technical way - to explore what it is about this music that makes it so satisfying to listen to, 800 years after it was composed. By the end of the lecture, you will have learned how Hildegard uses very small musical ideas as a thread through a whole song, and about how Hildegard uses consonance rather than dissonance to make a calm, serene soundscape. You will also be introduced to the poetry of some of her songs, and to the way that the music works draws attention to certain words, helping you to understand Hildegard's textual meaning as the song progresses.

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