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Susan Boynton "The Musical Lives of Medieval Women Religious"

  • Vortragssaal, Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar 27 Petersgraben Basel, BS, 4051 Switzerland (map)

This lecture will present an illustrated overview of current research on the central role of music in the lives of women religious, focusing on the twelfth to the fifteenth century. Whether Augustinian, Benedictine, Bridgettine, Cistercian, Dominican, or Franciscan, nuns spent much of the day singing the divine office in services that corresponded essentially to the hours prescribed by the Rule of Benedict. Many women’s communities had distinctive chant repertories; twelfth-century examples include the music of Hildegard of Bingen and the liturgy of the Paraclete under abbess Heloise. Manuscripts of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries preserve the particular music and liturgy of Bridgettine, Franciscan, and Dominican communities. 

Susan Boynton is Professor of Historical Musicology at Columbia University, writes on medieval Latin liturgy, chant, and monasticism, music and childhood, liturgical drama, troubadour song. She is the author of Silent Music: Medieval Song and the Construc-tion of History in Eighteenth-Century Spain (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Shaping a Monastic Identity: Liturgy and History at the Imperial Abbey of Farfa, 1000-1125 (Cornell University Press, 2006). She has coedited From Dead of Night to End of Day: The Medieval Customs of Cluny with Isabelle Cochelin (Brepols, 2005); Musical Childhoods and the Cultures of Youth with Roe-Min Kok (Wesleyan University Press, 2006); Young Choristers, 650-1700, with Eric Rice (Boydell and Brewer, 2008), and two volumes with Diane J. Reilly: The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity (Columbia University Press, 2011), and Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music, and Sound (Brepols, 2015). Boynton is currently serving as Resident Faculty Director of the Institute for Ideas and Imagination at the Columbia Global Center in Paris.