Voices & Instruments Course

Performing the Music of Parisian Clerics, Trouvères, and Jounglers

July 20-24, 2020

At the University of Lleida

Performing the Music of Parisian Clerics, Trouvères, and Jounglers

Dr. Mauricio Molina and the Medieval Music Besalú Faculty

This course is completely practical in nature. Participants can sing or play a medieval musical instrument while doing intensive work on medieval performance practice conventions and style. The students will study medieval notation,  Pythagorean tuning, learn historical pronunciation of the languages,medieval ensemble techniques and musicological readings of primary and secondary sources.


Chamber Group Sessions

Small groups, work on medieval ensemble techniques, and on putting together one or two pieces for the student concert (at the closing of the course).


Individual Lessons

Individual lessons on medieval singing or on one or two different medieval musical instruments: work on technique, style, and preparation of repertoire: Medieval Singing / Vielle / Portative Organ / Citole / Guittern / Romanesque Lute / Harp / Bagpipe / Pipe & Tabor / Frestel / Frame Drums and Percussion (bells, clappers, nakkara, cymbals)


Medieval Ensemble

Big group with all singers and instrumentalists, work on repertoire and preparation of large pieces for the student concert


Musicology Applied to Performance Class

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.


Introduction to Medieval Notation

Study of square and mensural notation.


Closing Concert

Performance at the end of the course with the Medieval Ensemble and the chamber groups (all students).



University of Lleida

Dates & Duration

July 20-24, 2020
30 hours divided in 5 days


Deposit required to reserve the place (non-refundable): 250€



Group classes: English and Spanish
Individual classes: Language agreed with the teacher

Open to

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

Manuscript to Performance

Class Offering

Musicology Applied to Performance

Dr. Mauricio Molina
Group class in English

1½-hour sessions, Monday-Thursday

In this course participants will learn about the different decisions that can be made in order to perform a medieval piece following historically-informed approaches. The pieces discussed will be those that are being studied in the individual lessons, chamber groups, and the Medieval Ensemble.


  • The musical and social context of the pieces
  • The music notation of the compositions
  • The different medieval and modern theories about rhythm and their application to each piece
  • Indications in the literature about instrumental accompaniment
  • Type of proper performance style based on primary sources

Introduction to Medieval Notation

Cristina Alís Raurich
2 sessions, 1 hour each

Reading medieval notation is crucial for reconstructing the performance of medieval music. The original notation presents performers and musicologists with a wealth of information that is hardly translatable into our modern music writing. Its study also helps us to understand compositional process, performance possibilities, and modes and trends of preservation and dissemination. In this class students will systematically learn to decipher neumes, square chant notation, and mensural notations.


Medieval Ensemble

Dr. Mauricio Molina 
Group Vocal Technique: Jasmina Črnčič
Group class in English

2 hours per day, Tuesday-Saturday

Performance of selected repertoire by all students and work on vocal technique for instrumentalists. One hour performance at the end of the course.

Chamber Music Sessions - Performance of Selected Repertoire in Small Ensembles

Medieval Besalú Faculty
Up to 7 people per group

Work in detail with small groups of students (mixed voice and instruments) organized by level. The focus will be on phrasing, ornamentation, tuning, style, and ensemble communication. 

Voice & Instrument Lessons

One-on-one or in small groups
5 sessions of 50 minutes per class (Monday-Friday)



Alejandro Tonatiuth Hernández

  • Study of the first two tunings of the vielle given by Jerome of Moravia (13th century)
  • Development of appropriate playing techniques and their application to different repertoires.
  • Development of ornamentation, melodic and rhythmic accompaniment, and the elaboration of different types of drones, preludes, and postludes.
  • Reconstruction and study of “solo” pieces based on vocal repertoire.
  • Introduction to the practice of self-accompaniment for singers who want to accompany themselves with the vielle while singing.

Instruments available for rent (consult availability and pricing)

Citole / Guittern

Martí Beltrán

  • Study of different plectrum techniques.
  • Creation of an accompaniment combining melodic, “intervallic,” and rhythmic elements.
  • Study of solo pieces with the application of ornaments developed from medieval data, and the use of improvisation for the creation of preludes and postludes.

Instruments available for rent (consult availability and pricing)


Martí Beltrán

  • Study of tuning and plectrum techniques.
  • Creation of an accompaniment combining melodic, “intervallic,” and rhythmic elements.
  • Study of solo pieces.

Instruments available for rent (consult availability and pricing)


Raúl Lacilla

  • Technical matters such as air-pressure control, fingering, reed setting and tuning by ear according to Pythagorean system either by manipulating the reeds or using wax.
  • Articulation and ornamentation according to the treatises; study of the notation, repercussive ornaments, fifthting, substitution, etc.
  • Preluding and postluding in the most common modes.
  • Use of the drones, key principles of organum.
  • Singing while playing; key pronunciation of medieval languages.

Instruments available for rent (consult availability and pricing)

Pipe and Tabor

Raúl Lacilla

  • Blowing technique and air support
  • Fingering and overblowing
  • Pythagorean tuning
  • Basic drum accompaniment
  • Modal-rhythm drum ornamentation
  • Fifthing over a given melody
  • Stylistic articulation and ornamentation according to the treatises

Instruments available for rent (consult availability and pricing)



Jasmina Črnčič

  • Proper vocal production for medieval repertoires based on the information contained in medieval sources.
  • Diction, articulation, and tuning.
  • Ornamentation as indicated by contemporaneous treatises.
  • Study of vocal exercises from medieval sources.



Claire Piganiol

  • Work based on the study of extant sources about medieval harps (iconography, repertoire, treatises, literary sources).
  • Instrumental repertoire, improvisation and ornamentation techniques.
  • Study of fingerings in melodic and polyphonic playing.
  • Development of several tuning systems and possibilities for producing ficta.
  • Techniques for the accompaniment of monophonic music.

Instruments available for rent (consult availability and pricing)

Portative Organ

Cristina Alís Raurich

  • Finger technique, bellow control and tuning.
  • Tuning with other instruments.
  • Instrumental repertoire, improvisation and ornamentation techniques.
  • Techniques for the accompaniment of monophonic music.

Instruments available for rent (consult availability and pricing)

Medieval Frame Drums and Percussion

Mauricio Molina / Octavio Beltrán

  • Tambourine, square frame drum, tariya.
  • Reconstruction of performance techniques based on both the study of medieval sources.
  • Development of a rhythmic accompaniment following rhythmic theories of the period (Christian and Arabic treatises).
  • Reconstruction of the sound aesthetic based on the physical and functional context of medieval percussion.

Instruments available for loan 

Frestel (Medieval Panpipe) / Albogue (hornpipe)

Raúl Lacilla

  • Proper way of holding the instrument and blowing technique: how to angle the instrument and introduce the right amount of air to achieve the appropriate tuning.
  • Circular breathing for hornpipes
  • Reconstruction of performance techniques based on both the study of medieval musical sources and treatises.

Instruments available for rent (consult availability and pricing)

All instruments offered in the course are available for rental (based on availability)


What Our Students Say

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

Register for 2020

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

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