Sound in Prayer Books

Emma Dillon

in The Sense of Sound

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732951
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932061 | DOI:

Series: The New Cultural History of Music Series

Sound in Prayer Books

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This chapter examines the evidence of sound in prayer via the large corpus of prayerbooks, especially the new genre of Books of Hours and Psalters. Largely the province of art historians, it argues that through their verbal and visual programs, these books have much to say about the complicated role of sound in prayer. It begins by exploring the written discourse for the role of sound, especially the voice, in prayer acts, via several contemporary writers. It then offers a detailed analysis of the variety of signs for sound in prayerbooks, suggesting that these sights of sound functioned as positive instruction, and also as warning about sonic distraction, for those who prayed from them.

Keywords: Books of Hours; Psalters; Bernard of Clairvaux, Aelred of Rievaulx; Vie d Saint Louis; Caesarius of Heisterbach; marginalia

Chapter.  17859 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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