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Explore Medieval & Renaissance Music

Published: November 7, 2019

Listen to selections from this section of the Music Humanities syllabus below and the full playlist on the syllabus page.

Hildegard of Bingen

Columba aspexit and O viridissima virga

The 12th-century nun Hildegard, widely considered the most remarkable woman of the Middle Ages, wrote visionary treatises as well as the vivid sacred poetry that she set to melodies both questing and contemplative.


Album cover of recording of Hildegard of Bingen, Columba aspexit
Audio: Hildegard, "Columba aspexit"

Recording: A Feather on the Breath of God, Gothic Voices, Emma Kirkby, Anthony Rooley


Viderunt Omnes

After centuries of plainchant and with the soaring spaces of newly constructed Notre Dame Cathedral to fill, the early 13th-century composer Perotin composed architecturally: he slowed down the chant Viderunt omnes, from the Mass for Christmas Day, until it resembled the base of an edifice, then added three new faster-moving melodies above it, voices that weave around each other “over” the chant, to hypnotic effect.

Album cover of recording of Perotin, Viderunt Omnes
Audio: Perotin, "Viderunt Omnes"

Recording: Perotin, The Hilliard Ensemble

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