Example of Medieval Song
St. Bernard of Clairvoux wrote thus of liturgical singing:
“It should be sweet and light; it should both enchant the ears and move the heart; it should lighten sad hearts and soften anger; and it should never obscure the sense of the words but enhance them.”
Here we have an example of Medieval Song: 12th Century Ave Maria, Boy Soprano
The music in this video is from the W1 manuscript of the ‘Magnus Liber Organi,’. The manuscript transmits polyphony belonging to the so called ‘Notre Dame’ school.  The text is the Ave Maria.
If one were to take note of the singing technique displayed in the video, perhaps the following elements would come to mind:
- Beautifully sung tone
- Vowel focus and purity
- Rounded relaxed aperture of the mouth
- Disengagement of the muscles of the face, neck and tongue
- Clear and articulate textual communication
- Fluidity of melodic line
From a visual perspective one can also note the similarity of the technique found in this video with that of the paintings and sculpture of singers in Medieval and Renaissance art.
The technique, as demonstrated in the video, has been taught in a manner to best facilitate the acquisition of reflexive habit by drill and repetition of the most basic elements of correct singing. The ‘end‘ or driving concept being beauty of tone. Beauty of tone is the result of vowel purity and balanced registration.
Cornelius L. Reid wrote of vowel purity in his book ‘Bel Canto Principles and Practices:’
“This is where the emphasis in singing should ever be placed, for without vowel purity it is impossible to arrive at a sound basis for producing a beautiful tone.”