Musik vor 1600 - 2014_sose_hild
13. Juni 2014, 16:30 Uhr
Dr. Elaine Hild
(Institut für Musikforschung, Universität Würzburg)

The notation of Office hymn melodies prior to the mid-eleventh century: Observing the mechanics of oral transmission, as evidenced in manuscripts from Sankt Gallen

Scholars have observed that the extensive and systematic notation of Office hymn melodies at most European institutions took place after the mid-eleventh century (Boynton, 2003); yet the understanding of how Office hymns were taught and learned prior to that time remains vague, often insufficiently described solely with the nebulous phrase »oral transmission.« Although the work of Boynton and Gneuss has clearly shown that Office hymns were incorporated into pedagogical instruction, the mechanics of that instruction—the precise skills taught to students, and the role that written hymn texts, punctuation, and musical notation played in a pedagogical context—have not been thoroughly investigated.

By examining St. Gallen’s ninth-, tenth-, and eleventh-century documents containing hymn texts—not only liturgical hymnaries and breviaries, but also literary and pedagogical compilations—this presentation reconstructs the mechanics of the transmission of Office hymn melodies at the abbey of Sankt Gallen. The presentation also considers the scribal use of punctuation to provide musical information and the reasons behind the abbey’s relatively late notation of Office hymn melodies.