Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ancient Irish Music: St. Notker Balbulus, the author of this valuable book of hymns, about the year 870, is the inventor of Sequences

St. Notker Balbulus, the author of this valuable book of hymns, about the year 870, is the inventor of Sequences.

Sequences were also called Tropes, just as Tropes, properly so-called, were denominated Proses. Although the original meaning of Sequence was a prolongation of the last syllable of Alleluia by a series of neumes, jubili, or wordless chant, yet the name was more generally given to a melody following the Epistle, before the Gospel.

Quoted in the Book of Lismore for an explanation of the term Sequence: "Notker, Abbot of St. Gall's, made [invented] sequences, and Alleluia after them in the form in which they are."

In process of time a special Sequence was introduced for every Sunday and feast-day, but Pope Pius V. eliminated all but five.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notker_the_Stammerer

The words "In the midst of life we are in death," quoted as Scriptural, but the text is only one of the many contributions to the Sacred Liturgy due to Irish writers and composers.

Not only was it superstitiously supposed to be a preservative against death, but the singing of it was believed by many to cause death; and hence, the Council of Cologne, in the twelfth century, forbade the chanting of "Media Vita" without the express permission of the Ordinary of the diocese.

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