Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Wednesday 01 February |
Saint of the Day: St. Brigid of Ireland
Aleteia logo
Art & Culture
separateurCreated with Sketch.

After 1,000 Years, Ancient Philosopher’s Song Comes Back to Life


Public Domain via WikiMedia

Daniel Esparza - published on 05/09/16

Boetius’ “Consolation of Philosophy” was once a song to be played

You can get Aleteia inspiration and news in your inbox. Our specially curated newsletter is sent each morning. The best part? It's free.

Sign up here

Boetius wrote his “Consolation of Philosophy” in the sixth century. It has been considered the latest great work of Classical Antiquity and the most important text ever to influence medieval Christianity and the early Renaissance humanists. But in spite of its relevance, what is not so well known is that it was once intended to be played, sung and accompanied by lyres and flutes.

As read in OpenCulture, professor Sam Barrett, from Cambridge University, committed himself to the painstaking work of rebuilding, rewriting, studying and deciphering a more than a thousand year old system of musical notation, which — to make matters even more difficult — only gives the musicians a few general indications. Back then, musical notation only indicated certain melodic patterns, trusting everything else to both tradition and the musician’s memory.

In these videos, Benjamin Bagby, Hanna Marti y Norbert Rodernkirchen, members of the Sequentia medieval music ensemble, play some fragments of Boetius’ Consolation of Philosophy, as reconstructed by professor Barrett.

Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here. It's Free!