Salva nos, Domine: A study of chanted confraternity liturgies and their social contexts in the Southern Low Countries, 1300-1550

Musical Life in the Low Countries
January 2011 - December 2012

This project is a multidisciplinary study of the music and religious practices of lay communities in the Southern Low Countries in the late Middle ages and early Renaissance. Such communities, which include trade guilds, devotional confraternities, and selected chivalric orders, formed a central part of daily medieval life, especially for tradespeople and merchants. Very little is known about the role of music, in particular Gregorian chant, in the devotional practices of these communities, or the extent to which their members actively participated in the creation and performance of them. The present study will result in the first multidisciplinary monograph on chant and liturgical practices of confraternities in the Southern Low Countries, and will provide unique insight into the construction of their devotions through the application of musicological, literary (philological), and historical methods. The use of these methods together creates a new perspective on the liturgy, which views chant as cultural production, inextricably linked to traditions in devotional practices and local belief systems. This perspective is vital to our modern understanding of the worldview of the medieval laity.