The Vision of Music in Saint Hildegard’s Scivias: Synthesizing Image, Text, Notation, and Theory
Publication Date : 31 January 2013
This essay, published in print and as a web app, presents images, song texts, and music from the final vision in St. Hildegard of Bingen’s prophetic work, Scivias (c1151).
The manuscript for this “Vision of Music” provides lyrics and images for a celebration of music’s power. Claire Fontijn’s essay combines these materials with music notation and audio from her famous proto-“opera,” Ordo Virtutum, for which the Scivias vision seems to be a prototype.
The publication contains:
- 6 contemporary images with detailed explanations
- parallel texts in Latin and English for each of the songs
- audio playlists with samples of each song, with buy links to full versions on iTunes
- complete dialogue in English for a morality play in the manuscript
- fully-reconstructed performing edition, in Latin and English, of the Scivias musical drama
- scholarly commentary with interactive reference notes.
- explains Hildegard’s images of her visions with captions and extracts from her own writings that describe the characters and events they depict
- presents the seven groups among the “ranks of heaven” to which each pair of songs is inscribed
- describes their place in the cosmos with reference to Hildegard’s ten-stringed psaltery (presented in interactive graphics with audio and glossary) on which each note and each musical mode corresponds to a moral virtue and a member of the heavenly host.
Hildegard received her visions with all of her senses; now this app allows us to examine the Vision of Music as she intended with all parts of her musical visions, or “symphonia,” brought together in a unified experience.
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