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Publication - Professor Emma Hornby

    Musical Values and Practice in Old Hispanic Chant


    Hornby, EC, 2016, ‘Musical Values and Practice in Old Hispanic Chant’. Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol 69., pp. 595-650


    Augustine’s judgement in Confessions of music’s moral value, as selectively abbreviated by Isidore of Seville, provides a conceptual framework for understanding early-medieval Iberian musical values. Augustine advocates a devotional focus primarily on text, expressing anxiety about elaborate liturgical music. For Isidore, by contrast, diverse melody leads both faithful and unfaithful towards a transcendent anticipation of heaven, beyond reason-based concentration on text. Examples are drawn from Old Hispanic (“Mozarabic”) chant, whose texts (preserved before 732) are closer to the late-antique context than any other western liturgy. Old Hispanic melodies are preserved in unpitched notation ca. 900. Here, I test the hypothesis that Isidore’s musical values shaped the extant Old Hispanic chant texts and melodies, leading to a new appraisal of how Old Hispanic musical values and practice relate. The methodology developed here has the potential to be applied to other ritual traditions.

    Full details in the University publications repository