Improvisation and Inventio in the Performance of Medieval Music: A Practical Approach is an innovative and groundbreaking approach to medieval music as living repertoire. The book provides philosophical frameworks, primary-source analysis, and clear, actionable practices and exercises aimed at recovering the improvisatory and inventive aspects of medieval music for contemporary musicians. Aimed at both instrumentalists and vocalists, the book explores the utilization of musical models, the inventive implications of medieval notation, and the ways in which memory, mode, rhetoric, and primary source paradigms inform the improvisatory process in both monophonic and polyphonic music of the Middle Ages. Angela Mariani, an experienced performer of both medieval music and folk and traditional musics, rediscovers and explicates the processes of imagination, invention, and improvisation which historically energized both medieval music in its own period and in its revival in our own time. Based on decades of research, university teaching, ensemble direction, collaboration, and performance, Mariani's impassioned stance that "the elusive element of inventio, as the medieval rhetoricians would have called it, must always be provided by the performer in the present," emphasizes medieval music performance practice as a dynamic and still-vital tradition. Students, teachers, directors, and those interested in the wealth of expressive beauty found in the music of the middle ages will likewise find value and meaning in her clear and accessible prose, and in the practical processes and exercises that make this book unique within the literature of medieval performance practice.
One impression that stands out from this collection is the extent to which improvisation was an important factor in all of the arts. As each of the authors assembles a case by ferreting out bits and pieces of information having to do with a single art, the weight of the assembled material lends additional strength to each case. By considering the overall picture that results, as well as that made by each of the individual studies, the reader is able to see much more clearly the role played by improvisation from the late Middle Ages through to the time of Shakespeare and beyond. A careful reading of the essays brings with it the awareness that to ignore improvisation is to distort the art in a major way. In light of the present volume, the very concept of "faithful historical re-creation" takes on a much broader and more complex character.
A group of resourceful kids start "solution-seekers.com," a website where "cybervisitors" can get answers to questions that trouble them. But when one questioner asks the true meaning of Christmas, the kids seek to unravel the mystery by journeying back through the prophecies of the Old Testament. What they find is a series of "S" words that reveal a "spectacular story!" With creative characters, humorous dialogue and great music, The "S" Files is a children's Christmas musical your kids will love performing.