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Teaching the Middle Ages in the 21st Century

May 3, 2001 -- Scholars and fans of the Middle Ages are gathering Thursday for the world's largest conference on medieval studies. Thousands of medievalists will converge on Western Michigan University to gorge themselves on talks about Vikings and Celts, Dante and Chaucer, and Sir Gawain and Guinevere.

One of the biggest problems facing medieval professors is how teach a slow era in the speedy times of the 21st century. During a talk called Music History at 10 Years a Minute, Ithaca College music professor Arthur Samplaski will explain how to collapse 600 years of music history into one hour. Hear his 6-minute medieval music marathon Morning Edition asked Samplaski if it was possible to cover 600 years in 6 minutes. He said yes. Hear his 6-minute medieval music marathon from Morning Edition.

Music History: 100 Years a Minute
Discography of Examples

1. Plainchant (Gregorian chant) "Alma redemptoris mater," performed by the Cambridge Singers, John Rutter, dir. From the CD Ave gracia plena: Music in honour of the Virgin Mary. Collegium Records, 1992, cat. #COLCD 116.Alma redemptoris mater

2. Troubadour song by Jaufre Rudel, ca. mid-12th c. "Non sap chanter," performed by the Martin Best Medieval Ensemble. From the CD Songs of Chivalry. Nimbus Records, 1983, cat. # NI 5006.Non sap chanter

3. Anonymous 13th c. conductus (processional song): "Alle Psallite Cum Luya," performed by the Early Music Consort of London, the late David Munrow, dir. from Music of the Gothic Era, reissued on CD by the Musical Heritage Society, 1997, cat. # 524643F (2 CDs).Alle Psallite Cum Luya

4. Late 14th c. rhythmically-complex song by Anthonello de Caserta: "Amour m'a le cuer mis en tel martire," performed by Gothic Voices, Christopher Page, dir. From the CD The Garden of Zephirus: Courtly Songs of the Early Fifteenth Century. Hyperion Records, 1996, cat. #CDA66144.Amour m'a le cuer mis en tel martire

5. Late Renaissance motet by William Byrd: "Alleluia, Ave Maria," from the same CD as item #1.Alleluia, Ave Maria

6. Late Renaissance madrigal by Adriano Banchieri: "Danza di pastorelle" (Dance of the Shepherdesses), performed by the Choir of Radio Svizzera, Lugano, and the Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca, Treviso, Diego Fasolis, dir. From the CD Il Zabaione musicale, Naxos, 1995, cat. # 8.553785.Danza di pastorelle

For more, check out the 36th International Congress on Medieval Studies' Web site.

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