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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Research project: Workshop and Performance

Currently Active: 

‘Cantum pulcriorem invenire - Thirteenth-Century Latin Poetry and Music: Workshop, Performance and Impact’ (CPI-III) engages communities with the thirteenth-century polyphonic and monophonic Latin song called conductus. It seeks to achieve this aim through a programme of twelve events, each consisting of a workshop and concert in twelve different venues in Europe and the UK.


Cantum pulcriorem invenire - Thirteenth-Century Latin Poetry and Music: Workshop, Performance and Impact’ (CPI-III) takes the knowledge that has been gained from the AHRC-funded ‘Cantum pulcriorem invenire: Thirteenth-Century Latin Poetry and Music’ (CPI-I) project, and engages with communities on which the original project had little opportunity to make any impact. The original research started from the premise that the long thirteenth century (c1170 to c1320) saw the emergence of three coherent repertories of polyphonic music: settings of liturgical chant called organum, motets that were originally derived from parts of organum and the conductus. Organum and the motet have been the subject of significant musicological study, whereas the conductus - despite its status as the first consistent repertory of newly-composed polyphony - has remained somewhat in the shadows. While the repertory has been catalogued, little work has been built on these bibliographical foundations. The conductus therefore stands at the centre of this project, merging Latin poetry and music in a single genre.


Parts of the original project engaged with performance as a path to impact via CD studio recordings. Using world-class performers with an unrivalled track record in the performance of medieval polyphony, and building on the PI’s experience in this area, CPI-I investigated the questions of rhythm and metre in the conductus by bringing various solutions to the question into a performative arena and creating recordings on CD with a commercial label. Not only was this very successful, but it also engendered a number of live concert bookings coupled to some workshop activity. From this ad hoc work, it became clear that there was real scope for massively enhancing the impact of the project through innovative and creative approaches to interactive workshops. CPI-III proposes twelve events that each consists of an interactive workshop and a formal concert.


The project benefits from twelve partners, five in the UK and three in continental Europe: Brighton, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, York, Barcelona, Nieder-Olm and Radovljica. The workshops will explore various routes to engage with communities that extend beyond those who simply buy the CDs produced by the original research. To do this, the workshops will address questions of notation, performance, poetic and musical composition as well as presenting introductions that characterise lecture recitals and similar sorts of events.


A critical part of the project is the monitoring, evaluation and documentation of the impact that the research makes. Our central tools are the anonymous questionnaire, the one-to-one interview and the video recording; these documents and their analysis will form the lasting legacy of the project, and will be mounted on the project website to serve as materials and a prompt for other ensembles wishing to undertake similar work.




Related research groups

Music Performance Research

Conferences and events associated with this project:

Barcelona - Cicle de Música Històrica I Patrimoni Ars Longa, July 2016


Battle Festival, 2016


Bratislava, 16 March 2015


Bresalú, July 2016


Brighton Early Music Festival, 19 September 2015


Brussels, Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, 6 July 2015


Cambridge Early Music, 14 May 2016


Durham, MUSICON/Durham Experience, 10 June 1015


Edinburgh Georgian Society, Autumn 2016


Musikschule Verbandsgemeinde Nieder-Olm, 11 September 2105


National Centre for Early Music, Beverley Early Music Festival 21 May 2015


Radovljica Early Music Festival, Slovenia, August 2015



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