So many people asked for this course on Early Sacred Music, it became a special mission for us. As we were planning how to film it, I found an interesting little email in my spam box. It was an invitation to become a speaker on a cruise ship (my first such invitation) to the Holy Land. Suddenly, filming in Jerusalem, Rome, and Athens was within easy reach.
And yes, when we talk about “early sacred music,” we don’t mean the hymns your grandmother taught you (marvelous as they are). We are talking about Old Testament times, music in the Temple, music of early Christianity in ancient Greece and Rome, and Gregorian chant as it developed throughout the Middle Ages and shaped the wondrous complexity of Western music in all its forms.
If you’re studying Ancient or Medieval history, this is your companion. We focus on music and architecture, language and philosophy, economics and conquests. We look at how Greek and Jewish traditions formed Christian liturgy, the rise of monasticism, the development of music notation, and the hand-copied manuscript that was the most technologically advanced and prized creation of its time.
I do not recommend that you start with this course simply because it precedes Discovering Music in historical chronology. It is not a prerequisite, but in most cases students will benefit from having studied later periods of music before tackling the unfamiliar sounds of the ancient and medieval worlds.
The music for this course is integrated into the video with performances primarily by the Ring Around Quartet (from Genoa, Italy) and Synaulia (providers of music for the film Gladiator).