Manuscript to Performance

Materializing the Medieval Parisian Repertoires

July 13-17, 2020

In the town of Besalú

Manuscript to Performance

Course Details

Materializing the Medieval Parisian Repertoires

Dr. Mauricio Molina and the 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, of intricate polyphonic and polytextual motets composed by intellectuals for their own entertainment, of passionate monophonic lyrical songs and lively dances in Latin (clerical) and French (trouvère) with religious and secular subjects, of joyful dance songs performed within the church and in the fields outside of the walls (rondelli, rondeaux, virelais), and of instrumental music (dutias and estampies).

In this course:


We will survey all these repertoires, and learn to apply the performance conventions of the time utilizing medieval theory, notation, and other types of literary and iconographic data


We will learn to conduct vocal and instrumental improvisation in the Parisian style following information contained in music treatises and written music


We will discuss medieval vocal technique, and the types of musical instruments that were common in Parisian music


Survey of the repertoire and technical explanation of how to arrange pieces and perform them in a historically-informed style following the information from medieval musical treatises, medieval music notation, and literary and iconographical sources.


This course is theoretical-practical. Study of the sources is used as a platform to reach performance. Every class will present the students with the opportunity to sing or play the repertoires discussed. All participants will also sing the Viderunt omnes of Perotin.



Town of Besalú

Dates & Duration

July 13-17, 2020
30 hours


Reservation deposit required (non-refundable): 200€



Group classes: English / Spanish

Open to

Instrumentalists and Singers (with or without experience playing medieval musical instruments)

Manuscript to Performance

Class Offering

The Monophonic Repertoires of Medieval Paris

Dr. Mauricio Molina
1½-hour sessions, Monday-Friday

Survey, study and performance of the following repertoires from its original sources


  • Religious and secular clerical songs by Peter Abelard, Phillip the Chancellor, Peter of Blois, and Adam de la Halle
  • Trouvère songs by Moniot de Paris, Gace Brulé, Thibaut de Champagne, and Gautier de Dargies.
  • Religious and Secular Dance Songs in Latin and French (rondellus, rondeaux, virelais)
  • The Miracles of Notre Dame of Gautier de Coincy
  • Jonglers’ instrumental repertoire (ductias and estampies)

The Polyphonic Repertoires of Medieval Paris: The Motet and the Conductus

Cristina Alís Raurich
1½-hour sessions, Monday-Friday

Study and performance of polyphonic motets and conductus of the Ars antiqua from the original notation and utilizing historical tuning.

Pieces to be studied and performed

  • Clamans in deserto / Johanne (Pluteo 29)
  • Crucifigat omnes (Pluteo 29)
  • Chançonete / Ainc voir / A la cheminee / Par vérité  (Montpellier codex)
  • Amours / En Mai / Flos filius (Montpellier codex)
  • Mout me fu / Robin m’aime / Portare (Montpellier codex)

Perotin’s Viderunt Omnes

Raúl Lacilla and Jasmina Črnčič
1 1/2-hour sessions, Monday-Friday


Study and performance of the famous 4-voice organum Viderunt Omnes composed by Perotin (including its monophonic chant sections).

Reading from a transcription of the original, a group of students will perform together the chant and tenor sections of the piece (Gradual from Christmas) while selected soloists will perform the polyphonic solo sections (the other 3 voices). This class is a great opportunity to experience one of the greatest music monuments of the Middle Ages.

There will be a public 20-minute performance of the piece at the end of the course.

Vocal and Instrumental Improvisation in Parisian Style

Dr. Mauricio Molina 
1½-hour sessions, Monday-Thursday

Improvisation was a very important feature of medieval vocal and instrumental music performance. While this is an art lost in time, information about how it was conducted can be extrapolated from the treatises on organum and on ornamentation, from the written music itself, and even from non-musical literature.

In this class we will examine different examples of improvisation from treatises and the music literature, and combine this information with theories of accompaniment and ornamentation. With this we will be able to create our own improvised preludes, postludes, interludes for written songs, and compose complete pieces of music (rondeaux, estampie, lyrical song).



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.

With the support of: