Music for a Captured King: Richard the Lionheart and Blondel

Blondel meeting Richard I - Photo by JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD / Wikimedia Commons

Love him or hate him, one thing you can say about England’s Richard the Lionheart is that there are some great stories about him.

Anne Boleyn’s Songbook

Anne Boleyn's Songbook - photo courtesy Heather Teysko

Now for the first time in 500 years much of the music included in Anne Boleyn’s songbook has been recorded by the Alamire Consort, under the direction of Dr. David Skinner of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University.

Horn Iconography as Found in the Grand Medieval Bestiary

animal scene and horn player - British Library Harley 4751   f. 10

Given at the 47th International Horn Symposium, on August 4, 2015

Hildegard’s Cosmos and Its Music: Making a Digital Model for the Modern Planetarium

Margot Fassler lecture

The work reported on in this talk is a collaborative effort involving forces performative, scholarly, and technological. Because of the way Hildegard describes her understanding of the cosmos in the treatise Scivias, the model unfolds in two acts.

Through the Looking Glass Darkly: Medievalism, Satanism, and the Dark Illumination of the Self in the Aesthetics of Black Metal

The basement of Helvete, showing graffiti from the early 1990s - Photo by Marieke Kuijjer

The upside-down world of Satanic black metal is uncanny, both familiar in its use of inverted tropes and schemes and yet completely ‘other’ to those on the outside looking in, including Christians and consumers of mainstream popular culture.

Californication – Medieval cover version by Stary Olsa

medieval californication

The Belarussian band Stary Olsa, whose video of their medieval version of Metallica’s song One was a viral hit last year, have just released a new cover for the song Californication, originally by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Discovering hidden music in the Bestiary of Love

Elizabeth Eva Leach

Elizabeth Eva Leach speaks on ‘Richard de Fournival Across the Disciplines’

Medievalism and Exoticism in the Music of Dead Can Dance

dead can dance

In 1991, the alternative rock band Dead Can Dance released an album that caught the attention of music reviewers by constructing an aural allegiance to the Middle Ages.

The Troubadours, Part I: Sad Songs Say So Much

A Troubadour playing his fiddle

The height of their popularity was in the 12th-13th Centuries, and they wrote songs about people, politics, and religion, but most of all, love. Let’s take five minutes to talk about troubadours.

Earliest known piece of polyphonic music discovered

The music was written around the year 900, and represents the earliest example of polyphonic music intended for practical use.  Credit: British Library

New research has uncovered the earliest known practical piece of polyphonic music, an example of the principles that laid the foundations of European musical tradition.

The Medieval version of Metallica

medieval metallica

The medieval folk band Stary Olsa has made an impressive cover of the Metallica song ‘One’.

A Medieval Scholasticus and Renaissance Choirmaster: A Portrait of John Hothby at Lucca

Rome - music manuscript, 15th c. - polyphonic music

John Hothby’s career as cathedral choirmaster at Lucca is one of the longest, best documented, and most exceptional of any Northern musician active in fifteenth-century Italy.

Natasha Mira finds her voice with Medieval Pop

Natasha Mira

‘I can finally say I feel at home with Medieval Pop as a sound and a brand that is 100% honest with myself.’

Ecstatic Dance: Medieval Dansomania and the Love Parade in Berlin, 1996

A depiction of dancing mania, on the pilgrimage of epileptics to the church at Molenbeek.

While dancing they are oblivious to their surroundings, they shriek, scream, and rave – note the use of ‘rave’ in its older meaning of manic behaviour – and they have visions which ‘according as the religious notions of the age were strangely and variously reflected in their imaginations.

Sumer is Icumen In!

Sumer is Icumen In

One of the most famous pieces of music that has survived is a Middle English song about summer

Music as Text and Music as Image

Music as Text and Music as Image

Danielle Trynoski reports on ‘Music as Text and Music as Image’ by Susan Boynton at the Medieval Academy of America and Medieval Association of the Pacific Conference

‘A great heathen fist from the North’: Vikings, Norse Mythology, and Medievalism in Nordic Extreme Metal Music


Viking metal is a dynamic and popular subgenre of metal music of burgeoning popularity coming primarily from Nordic countries.

The Place of the Organ in the Medieval Parish Church

Church organ

A list of eight hundred existing parish churches with a priori evidence of organs has been drawn up, forming the basis for exploration of medieval churches for physical evidence of liturgical musical arrangements, including organs.

What does a 500-year-old song found on a butt in hell sound like?

butt song from The Garden of Earthly Delights

If one looks closely at the famous painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, created by Hieronymous Bosch around the year 1500, you can find many strange images. This includes a scene in hell where someone has musical notes on their butt. Now, a student has deciphered what this music sounded like.

The Monochord in the Medieval and Modern Classrooms

medieval musician - Detail of a musician playing a viol, representing the second musical mode.  British Library

The monochord was a standard feature of musical pedagogy in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In the modern classroom, it allows our students to experience the pedagogical world of the medieval classroom, bringing a deeper reality to an otherwise abstract series of concepts.

The Music and ‘Scopic’ (Bardic/Skaldic) Elements of our Anglo-Saxon Ancestors

Middle English Music

The life of the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings was probably filled with tunes and music wherever they worked and lived – from the more formal pieces of courtly music to the everyday, when men could be found just singing tunes to the cattle as they milked, or kept rhythm to songs as they sowed the seed in the ploughed fields

In Search of the Secrets of Medieval Organs

Medieval Organ

On Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10, 2012, a concert and workshop focusing on the medieval organ were held at the Basel (Switzerland) Peterskirche. They dealt with concepts, designs, rep- ertoire and the medieval organ used in ensemble.

A fascinating musical instrument

Medieval Ud

A fascinating musical instrument Saadat Abdullayeva IRS Heritage: No.9 (2012) Abstract Among the Eastern musical instruments, the UD has a very interesting history of many centuries, which is proved by archeological finds and manuscripts. Thus, according to  terra cottas (9-10 cm fired statuettes with a flat back and embossed face, most of which date back […]

Charlemagne, Sir Christopher Lee and Heavy Metal Music


Did you know that the famous actor Sir Christopher Lee is also a heavy metal singer? And his songs are based on the life and times of Charlemagne?

The Hidden History of Christmas Carols

Christmas Carols - 19th century image

Apparently early carols could be quite lewd, and they were originally associated with dance as well as song.

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