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The Christian West and Its Singers: The First Thousand Years
Yale University Press / 2010 / Hardcover
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Likely to become a standard work. The founder of the acclaimed ensemble Gothic Voices surveys developments in early Christian music from ritual singing in the New Testament through Gregorian chant to the invention of the musical staff, showing a remarkable command of primary and secondary sources. 400 pages, hardcover.
A renowned scholar and musician presents a new and innovative exploration of the beginnings of Western musical art. Beginning in the time of the New Testament, when Christians began to develop an art of ritual singing with an African and Asian background, Christopher Page traces the history of music in Europe through the development of Gregorian chant—a music that has profoundly influenced the way Westerners hear—to the invention of the musical staff, regarded as the fundamental technology of Western music. Page places the history of the singers who performed this music against the social, political and economic life of a Western Europe slowly being remade after the collapse of Roman power. His book will be of interest to historians, musicologists, performing musicians, and general readers who are keen to explore the beginnings of Western musical art.
Christopher Page is reader in medieval music and literature in the University of Cambridge, Vice-Master of Sidney Sussex College, and founder of the acclaimed ensemble Gothic Voices.
"Shrewd and perceptive. . . . Virtually every sentence bristles with detail and the meticulous care required to negotiate such complex and contested territory."--Jeremy Begbie, Books and Culture
"[This] is a magnificent book, brimming with fresh insights and with unexpected pieces of information drawn from little known sources and unpublished manuscripts."--Robert L. Wilken, First Things
“Once or twice in a generation a book comes along that crosses disciplinary boundaries to make unexpected connections, open up new imaginative vistas, and refocus what had seemed familiar historical landscapes. Christopher Page’s musician’s-eye view of the evolution of Western Christendom is one of those books.”—Eamon Duffy, The New York Review of Books
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