Medieval Iberian liturgical practice was independent of the Roman liturgy. As such, its sources preserve an unfamiliar and fascinating devotional journey through the liturgical year. However, although Old Hispanic liturgical chant has long been considered one of the most important medieval chant traditions, what musical notation to survive shows only where the melodies rise and fall, not precise intervals or pitches. This lack of pitch-readable notation has prevented scholars from fully engaging with the surviving sources - a gap which this book aims to fill, via a new methodology for analysing the melodies and the relationship between melody and text.
Focussing on three genres of chant sung during the Old Hispanic Lent (the threni, psalmi, and Easter Vigil canticles), the book takes a holistic view of the texts and melodies, setting them in the context of their liturgical and intellectual surroundings, and, for the Easter Vigil, exploring the relationship between different Old Hispanic traditions and other western liturgies. It concludes that the theologically purposeful text selections combine with carefully shaped melodies to guide the devotional practice of their hearers.
Emma Hornby is a Reader in Music , University of Bristol; Rebecca Maloy is Associate Professor of Music, University of Colorado at Boulder.