Middle Ages

Let’s briefly watch the following video of the score and performance of the plainchant Kyrie Rex Virginum

Although this course will not focus on scores, nor will these be the central component to our learning method, this particular video is useful in many ways.


This is the original text & translation:

Rex virginum amator deus Mariae decus. Eleison.
Christe Deus de Patre homo natus
Maria Matre. Eleison.
O paraclite obumbrans corpus Mariae. Eleison.


King, lover of virgins, God, Mary’s glory: have mercy.
Christ, God of the Father, born as man of the
mother Mary: have mercy.
O Paraclete, sheltering the body of Mary: have mercy.

Reflect on the following questions:

1. Notation

Q1.1 What is the relevance of musical notation in general?

Q1.2 Is this piece metered?

Q1.3 What aspects of music cannot be notated?

2. Texture

Q2.1 What is the texture of this chant?

Q2.2 Can you hear the drone?

Q2.3 Can you recognize melisma in some passages?

3. Text

Q3.1 What is the relationship between the text and the form of the piece?

Q3.2 Judging by the sound alone, where was this piece recorded?


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