You Can’t Sing a Footnote

Bernard D. Sherman

in Inside Early Music

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195169454
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865017 | DOI:
You Can’t Sing a Footnote

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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

Chapter.  5231 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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