Fall 2024 Online

Study medieval music history, notations, genres, repertoires, sources, performance practice, research techniques, musical iconography, singing, and musical instruments techniques and practices.

Starts September 16, 2024

Medieval Notation

Modal Notation

Modal notation is the key to the music of the School of Notre Dame. Explore this notation through the study of treaties, music manuscripts, and genres. Learn to transcribe it and sight read it directly from the original sources.

Mensural and Franconian Notations

Learn to read Mensural and Franconian notations directly from the original sources following the instructions given by Franco of Cologne and other medieval writers. These notations give access to the monophonic and polyphonic repertoires of the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Earliest Medieval Music Notations (850-1200)

Learn to identify, decipher, and read the neumatic, alphabetic, and staff musical notations used before the development of modal notation. Explore the monophonic and polyphonic repertoires recorded by these notations.

Medieval Music History

Medieval Music History and Performance I (800-1150)

Study the composition, notations, musical and poetic frameworks, genres, performance practices, and social/cultural contexts of the central repertoires composed between 800 and 1150.

Medieval Music History and Performance II (1150-1300)

Explore Western European monophonic and polyphonic religious and secular music composed between 1150 and 1300. Learn about  its principal sources, repertoires, notations, compositional techniques, and performance practices.

Performance Practice and Repertoires

The Cantigas of Santa Maria of Alfonso X: Context, Notation, Performance

Learn about the sources, music notation, poetic and melodic composition, and context of the Cantigas de Santa Maria. Explore their possible performance practice following medieval conventions and musicological theories. 

The Trouvère Chanson and its Performance

Examine the principal composers and musical sources of the trouvère chanson. Learn about its main poetic-musical structures, genres, historical/cultural context, and performance practice.

The Monophonic Music of Medieval Paris

Explore and learn to perform the vibrant monophonic repertoires of medieval Paris: the conductus, trouvère chanson, The Miracles of Notre Dame of Gautier de Coinci, the Roman de Fauvel, and the Estampies royales.

The Art of the Troubadour Song

Explore the troubadour song repertoire through an in-depth practical study of its composers, sources, music notations, genres, social/historical context, and performance practice (from primary and secondary sources).

Melodic Ornamentation

Learn how to ornament a medieval vocal or instrumental melody by following the ornamentation procedures recorded in medieval sources: pitch inflection, repercussive and tremulous sounds, passing and neighboring tones, and pitch transposition.

Melodic Improvisation (Vocal and Instrumental)

Learn how to improvise vocal and instrumental melodies in different medieval styles following medieval musical and rhetorical compositional techniques, melodic modal practice, and performance conventions.

The Estampies and Danses Royales of the Manuscript du Roi

 Study the composition, notation, context, and possible performance practice of the eleven instrumental pieces contained in the Manuscrit du Roi. Create your own performance edition of the whole collection. 

Applied Musicology and Performance

Research Techniques and Applied Musicology

Explore a collection of research techniques and musicological approaches that can be utilized to conduct in-depth research on medieval sources. Learn to construct solid historically-informed theories about medieval music and its performance.

Medieval Musical Iconography

Learn to utilize musical subjects depicted in medieval art as sources of information about medieval music’s aesthetics, performers, audiences, physical environments, contexts, musical instruments, performers, and performance practices.

Voice & Musical Instruments in Context

These courses will help you develop historically-informed vocal or instrumental playing techniques, realize and use appropriate medieval performance conventions, and build a relevant performance repertoire. 

Medieval Singing

Medieval Singing I: Carmina Burana - An Entry into Medieval Monophonic Song

The Carmina Burana manuscript covers almost every imaginable subject and  a variety of musical and poetic genres. For this reason, it is an ideal starting point for any singer wishing to enter the world of medieval monophonic song.

Medieval Singing II: Hildegard von Bingen - The Voice of Divine Inspiration

Learn about Hildegard’s life and her cultural environment, and perform several pieces from her Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum. This course will give you the tools to sing Hildegard’s songs and make your own decisions about performing her compositions.

Medieval Singing III: Dit du chancelier Philippe - A Story of Notre Dame’s most Glorious Chancellor

Study Philippe le Chancelier’s songs while developing an advanced vocal technique while acquiring practical tools for the understanding and performance of any medieval song repertoire.

Frame Drums & Percussion

Frame Drums I: Basic Technique and Repertoires

Learn to play round and square frame drums in medieval style by studying strokes and techniques recorded in medieval sources. You will also discover how to apply medieval rhythmic modes and their ornamentation to the accompany of vocal and instrumental pieces.

Frame Drums II: Rhythmic Accompaniment, Ornamentation, and Improvisation

Learn to accompany songs and to improvise applying different hand, finger, and wrist techniques. Relative medieval Arabic rhythms will be studied and their possible application in medieval European repertoires will be discussed.

Frame Drums III: Accompanying Dance and Women’s Song Repertoires

Explore the performance of frame drums in connection with different dance and women’s song repertoires.


Vielle I: Basic Technique, Repertoires and Performance Practice

Develop your vielle playing technique as you work with medieval tunings, improvise preludes and postludes, and perform different northern French repertoires: trouvère and clerical lyrical songs, dance pieces, and instrumental repertoires.

Vielle II: Performing Trouvère and Parisian Repertoires

Develop your vielle playing technique as you work with medieval tunings, learn how to improvise preludes and postludes, and perform different northern French repertoires: trouvère and clerical lyrical songs, dance pieces, and instrumental repertoires.

Vielle III: The Vielle and Jerome of Moravia

Strengthen your vielle technique while studying the tunings, repertoires, and performance practice precepts (ornamentation, phrasing, rhythm) given by Jerome of Moravia in his Tractatus de music (c. 1280).


Citole/Gittern I: Basic Technique and Repertoire

Study the basic playing techniques of the citole or the gittern as you learn to accompany monophonic songs. Explore and perform repertoires appropriate for these instruments.

Citole/Gittern/Psaltery II: Secular and Religious Dance Songs

Develop different plectrum techniques, study numerous ways to accompany monophonic songs and dances, learn to arrange vocal music for the instrument, and perform pieces from the instrumental repertoire. 

Citole/Gittern/Psaltery III: The Citole/Psaltery and the Clerical Music Repertoire

Strengthen your citole or psaltery technique and performance practice while exploring a collection of clerical compositions (Latin songs and instrumental pieces) associated to these instruments in medieval literature and art.

Portative Organ

Portative Organ I: Discovering the Portative Organ

Learn the basics of portative organ technique and performance practice while immersing yourself in the world of medieval music and its repertoires.

Portative Organ II: Towards expressivity and flexibility

Expand your repertoire and gain in expressivity and flexibility in your performance practice by developing a strong bellow technique and by learning a variety of articulation practices.

Portative Organ III: The Organ in the Medieval Clerical Universe

Develop a high-level technique (bellows subtle control, precise tuning, expressiveness) as you explore an array of repertoires related to the instrument. Learn about the organ’s function and symbolism in its medieval context.


Medieval Harp I: Basic Technique and Repertoires

Develop a healthy medieval harp playing technique while you learn about the different types of medieval harps, explore melodic playing and intervallic accompaniment, and perform different medieval music repertoires.

Medieval Harp II: The Harp in 13th-Century France

Continue developing your medieval harp technique, playing style, and improvisation skills (solo or in ensemble) as you explore harp-specific pieces based on French repertoires (trouvères, polyphony, estampies). 

Medieval Harp III: The Harp and Anglo-Norman Repertoire

Develop a varied playing style on the medieval harp while exploring the fascinating sounds of the Anglo-Norman repertoire.

Bagpipe/Pipe & Tabor

Bagpipe/Pipe & Tabor: A grant piperie - dance music for wind instruments

Advance your bagpipe (musa) or Pipe and Tabor playing technique while reconstructing a collection of pieces for these instruments based on the pastourelle, dance song, and instrumental music repertoires connected to them in medieval sources.


Enroll Now

Places are limited for each section, so sign up early.

What Our Students Say

The Online Course was amazing. The content was very well organized, very didactic, with a lot of information distributed weekly. I had the opportunity to go deeper into the subject and was able to organize the course according to own pace and time. Highly recommended for everyone who loves medieval music and its context, and who also wants to go deeper in the subject.

Marcelo Miranda – Brazil

This was the best summer course I did so far. It is very complete, well structured, all teachers have the highest quality and the ambience is always constructive and friendly. I truly recommend this course to everyone that is passionate about medieval music and to curious that want to learn more.

Jorge Luís Castro

The online summer course was a fantastic experience! The fact that we had a week to comprehend everything, practice and work on it, gave us the opportunity to go much deeper than in regular an onsite course. The course was challenging and of great interest for beginners as well as for more advanced and professional musicians. Where other courses and institutions teach you about Medieval Music, the Online Music Course of Besalú gives you the real Middle Ages.

Marjolein van Amers - The Netherlands

I enjoyed the course a lot and learned many new useful things about everything from historical context to performance practice. It opened my eyes to some new repertoires and added perspectives on some of the ones I already knew. I especially enjoyed the Improvisation class, because I think it made me understand medieval composition in a much better way. I’d recommend the course to anyone interested in understanding medieval music better and who want to work from the sources.

Gustav Olai - Sweden

Last year I had the opportunity to attend the Manuscript to Performance sessions and I can only say good things. The depth, the rigor and the care with which each subject is treated are unique, the first-class teachers and of course the good atmosphere, make this course an unforgettable experience.

Fabiana Sans

This music program is excellent because it combines all relevant disciplines in a multi-disciplinary format that medievalists do not typically receive in graduate school: music performance, music theory, religious and philosophical study, and study in chant and liturgy that underlies other musical innovations. This ethno-musicological approach is an exciting way to bring the study of the Middle Ages to life.

Karmen Lenz

I have been attending the Besalú program for four years and I have yet to attend another summer school which surpasses it. I work professionally as a musicologist (albeit specializing on a different era) and I can only say that I wish my colleagues in academic musicology worldwide displayed the same amount of rigor, excellence, seriousness and enthusiasm in their research as staff at Besalú systematically do.

Eva M. Rodriguez

The International Course of Medieval Music Besalú offers singers and instrumentalists the possibility of studying the repertoires of monodic and polyphonic music composed between the 11th and 13th centuries.

With the support of: