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Inside Early MusicConversations with Performers$
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Bernard D. Sherman

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169454

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169454.001.0001

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You Can’t Sing a Footnote

You Can’t Sing a Footnote

Chapter:
(p.43) 2 You Can’t Sing a Footnote
Source:
Inside Early Music
Author(s):

Bernard D. Sherman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169454.003.0003

Medieval composers rarely expected their sacred music to be listened to for its own sake. They designed it to accompany church services—events of solemn meaning for medieval worshippers, but not for modern concert audiences. On top of that, they set texts with little appeal or resonance for most modern listeners. For these reasons, their music translates to the modern concert hall with difficulty. Anonymous 4 have been unusually successful in this act of translation. This chapter presents an interview with Susan Hellauer, who discusses how the group approaches it, how the group translates music written for one context to others that are very different, how they deal with objectionable texts, their performance of chant, expressiveness in singing chant, issues of authenticity, and the role of women in performing medieval music.

Keywords:   Susan Hellauer, Anonymous 4, medieval music, performance, chant, authenticity, sacred music, women

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