Developing the Medieval Ear: Pythagorean Tuning Workshops I, II & III

| July 17, 2017

Cristina Alís Raurich

Pythagorean Tuning WorkshopA fitting reconstruction of medieval music performance requires what we can call the development of a “period ear.” One of the most crucial elements of this process is the understanding and use of a tuning system that is historically appropriate.

Throughout the Middle Ages music theoreticians taught and recommended a system known as Pythagorean Tuning. This form of tuning has been proven to be the most adequate for the monophonic and polyphonic music composed at least before the fifteenth century.

Pythagorean I “Ad cantum modulandum” (90 min):
Designed for students looking to learn the fundamentals of pythagorean tuning according to the evidence from the music theory sources up to 13th c. We will learn about the relationship between ratios and intervals, experience how to use the monochord, and practice the basics of pythagorean tuning by singing and listening to different musical examples. 

Pythagorean II “Ad usum faciendum” (90 min): Pythagorean tuning into practice.
In this session students will work on specific pieces of the medieval repertoire analysing the effect of applying Pythagorean tuning to them. Furthermore, the notion of how Pythagorean tuning can guide or even determine the performance of monophonic and polyphonic pieces will be discussed in the class.

Pythagorean III “Ad consuetudinem” (90 min): For advanced students.
Participants will focus on details and questions about the use of pythagorean tuning. The class will be composed of a small group of students.

Important:  Students registered in Pythagorean tuning can take part in all 3 sessions (levels I, II, and III) in the following way:

  • Beginners can participate as active students in level I (theory) and level II (practice), and audit level III (just as listeners).
  • Advanced students can participate actively at level II (practice) and level III (advanced). (Level I is optional for these students).

Date: Monday, July 17
Three sessions: I, II & III
Total class time: 3 hours for beginners (2 sessions) / 3 hours for advanced students (2 sessions)
Cost: 40€

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