IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 118: Natural World and Music in Central Europe: Imitation of Sounds and Symbolic Functions

Monday 7 July 2008, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw / Instytut Historii i Archiwistyki, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń
Organiser:Paweł Gancarczyk, Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warszawa
Moderator/Chair:Richard Byrn, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 118-aSongs of Birds in Medieval Gardens of Love: A Cultural Interpretation of Nature
(Language: English)
Sławomira Żerańska-Kominek, Institute of Musicology, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Index terms: Anthropology, Language and Literature - German, Music
Paper 118-bSt Martin, Geese, and Music: Presulem ephebeatum by Petrus Wilhelmi de Grudencz
(Language: English)
Paweł Gancarczyk, Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warszawa
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Music
Paper 118-cNeighing Horses, Cackling Hens, and Czech Ears: On Reception of 15th-Century Polyphony in Bohemia
(Language: English)
Lenka Mráčková, Institute of Musicology, Univerzita Karlova, Praha
Index terms: Manuscripts and Palaeography, Music

Music as an acoustic phenomenon has always been related to the natural world. In the Middle Ages it resounded in the ‘gardens of love’, where one could also hear songs of birds. In their works, composers imitated sounds of animals and listeners tended to associate such musical motives with ‘neighing horses’ or ‘cackling hens’. Not only did the sounds of the natural world inspire musicians, but they also had symbolic functions. The singing of birds symbolized ideal music, whereas gaggling of geese was associated with St Martin.