Option 1: Manuscript to Performance

Materializing the Medieval Parisian Repertoires

Wednesday, July 1 - July 31, 2020


Course Details

Materializing the Medieval Parisian Repertoires

Medieval Music Besalú Faculty

The musical landscape of medieval Paris (1100-1300) was rich, exquisite, and complex. It was composed of great polyphonic music (organum, conductus) created to embellish the mass, passionate monophonic lyrical songs and lively dances in Latin (clerical) and French (trouvère), and instrumental music (dutias and estampies).

This course, composed of three different modules and a lecture, concentrates on the study of the medieval Parisian monophonic and polyphonic repertoire and their performance. The study is based on the examination of medieval sources in conjunction with modern musicological theories. 



Sessions will be conducted once a week to give the students enough time to absorb the information, research, and produce their transcriptions and performance reconstructions. Please look at the schedule to find when these classes will be posted.



Students will receive a certificate from the University of Lleida specifying the amount of hours conducted in the course. The number of hours is calculated based on the time that the student will spend in the actual online classes and doing work by themselves. For this specific course the total of hours is 25. 



Course Methodology

Video lessons and tutorials


Downloadable resources


Practice assignments


Community forums


Instructors Assistance


1 Online Performance Project: Singing the Viderunt omnes of Perotin


Singing instructions for the performance project

    • Broadband Internet connection
    • External or internal webcam
    • External or internal Microphone
    • Speakers or headphones
    • Possibility of printing downloaded materials
    • Possibility of scanning your assignments




Dates & Duration

July 1-31, 2020


Reservation deposit required (non-refundable): 150€




Open to

Musicians, musicologists, and people interested in Medieval music and the Middle Ages in general (with or without experience playing medieval musical instruments)

Course Modules

Module 1: The Monophonic Repertoires of Medieval Paris

5 sessions
Instructor: Dr. Mauricio Molina

This module explores five different Parisian monophonic repertoires and reconstructs their performance conventions. This is conducted through the study of their composers and sources, poetic-music features and particularities, music notation, and social and performative contexts. Medieval data that makes reference to Parisian performance conventions will be studied and combined with modern musicological studies on the subject.

By the end of the five sessions students will be able to:

    • Identify the most important medieval Parisian monophonic repertoires and place them in historical and performative contexts
    • Conduct a poetic and musical analysis of medieval compositions for performance purposes
    • Make decisions about the application of rhythm, rhetorical delivery, and instrumental accompaniment to pieces following Parisian style and performance conventions.


Teaching Methodology

In this course the instructor will: make use of instructional videos and recorded lectures produced for each session, assign reading materials, study the pieces directly from their manuscripts, request the students to create their own editions (diplomatic and modernized), generate discussion, present short performance demonstrations, and request the students to conduct their own performances of the pieces.  



Session 1: Religious and Secular Dance Songs
The clerical rondellus and the secular rondeau

Session 2: Trouvéres in Paris
Moniot de Paris, Richard de Semilli, Blanche de Castille, and Thibaut de Champagne

Session 3: Latin Songs by Parisian Clerics
Peter Abelard, Philip the Chancellor, Perotin

Session 4: Instrumental Music
Estampie and ductia

Session 5: Songs for Notre Dame
Miracles of Notre Dame of Gautier de Coincy (sources and recompositions) and trouvère religious songs


Module 2: Medieval Parisian Improvisation

5 sessions
Instructor: Dr. Mauricio Molina

The goal of this class is to learn to improvise vocal and instrumental melodies in a medieval Parisian style. This will be conducted by exploring the concept of improvisation in medieval music, analysing theoretical and musical sources that record the practice, studying modal constructions and melodic formulas and “families”, surveying rhetorical conventions, and compiling and memorizing ornamental melodic figures. Differences between preludes, interludes, and postludes will also be discussed.

At the end of the five sessions singers and instrumentalists will be able to improvise melodies appropriate for preludes, interludes, and postludes in the modes of G and D.


Teaching Methodology

In this course the instructor will: make use of instructional videos and recorded lectures produced for each session, assign reading materials, study the examples of ornamentation directly from their sources, request the students to create their own improvisations (written and orally), and present short demonstrations (both the instructor and the students).



Session 1: Medieval Improvisation and Discourse
Musical and literary evidence of improvisation
Oral discourse, ductus (flow) and rhetorical figures (Vinsauf and Garlandia).
Composition of a melodic line emulating grammatical and rhetorical precepts

Session 2: Modes and Melodic Families
Modes and their principal features
Melodic “families” in chant and trouvère repertoires
Composition of a melodic line emulating modal characteristics

Session 3: Preludes, Postludes, and Interludes
The caudae of Parisian monophonic conductus (Ms. Pluteo 29) and other repertoires
Preludes, postludes, and interludes in the sources
Composition of a prelude and postlude for a monophonic conductus

Session 4: Examples from the Music Literature and ornamentation
Organum treatises and the organum repertoire
Examples of ornamentation from Parisian music treatises

Session 5: Application of Ornamentation to Different Repertoires
Different repertoires and discussion about improvisation in each of them


Module 3: Perotin’s Viderunt Omnes

5 sessions
Instructors: Raúl Lacilla and Jasmina Črnčič

This class is dedicated to the study and performance of one of the most important polyphonic pieces of the Middle Ages: the 4-voice organum Viderunt Omnes composed by Magister Perotinus (Perotin). Participants will explore the piece’s historical and performative contexts, analyse its musical construction, learn to read its modal notation, prepare transcriptions of different sections, and sing its tenor and polyphonic sections (group and soloists).

By the end of the five sessions, students will:

    • Understand how four-part organum was composed
    • Recognize the basic features of modal notation
    • Learn to make a transcription
    • Experience its performance process


Teaching Methodology

In this course the instructor will: make use of instructional videos and recorded lectures produced for each session, assign reading materials, study the modal notation of the piece, and learn to create their own transcriptions. Since the piece will be put together for the Online Performance Project: Singing the Viderunt Omnes, our singing specialist will also give technical explanations of how to sing its parts through recorded and one-on-one video sessions. For the preparation of the piece and its online performance the instructor will assign the parts based on singing skills of each participant.



Session 1:
Perotin and the School of Notre Dame
Compositional features of the piece

Session 2:
Decoding the notation
Preparing an edition

Session 3:
How to perform the tenor parts of the Viderunt Omnes: explanation and singing lesson for the tenor singers (video and live session)

Session 4:
How to perform the soloist’s parts of the Viderunt Omnes: explanation and video singing lesson for soloists (video and live session)
Study of articulation and ornamentation

Session 5:
Phrasing and articulation
Putting the piece together: explanation and video singing lesson for the whole group
Work with recorded sections


Lecture: The Polyphony of Medieval Paris

1 session
Instructor: Raúl Lacilla

This lecture introduces three different Parisian polyphonic repertoires focusing on their sources, their poetic-music features, their notation, and medieval data that refers to Parisian music performance. 



What Our Students Say

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

Register for 2020

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

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