“Listen, Daughters of Light”: The Epithalamium and Musical Innovation in Twelfth-Century Germany

  • Catherine Jeffreys
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


This chapter examines the Epithalamium or Bridal Song that concludes the Speculum virginum in the earliest manuscripts of the treatise. Its text and music, integrally related to the Speculum as a whole, provide the vehicle through which “the daughters of light” can obtain a foretaste of ultimate union with Christ. The structure of the Epithalamium parallels that of the Proper for the Office of Lauds in its alternation of antiphon and response. The Epithalamium provides a sung response to the text of the Speculum virginum. The musical settings adhere to contemporary theoretical norms, such as promoted in the treatises of Berno of Reichenau and William of Hirsau, as well as in the preface to the Cistercian antiphonary (ca. 1147). The songs illustrate a tendency, defended by Anselm of Havelberg in the mid-twelfth century, for religious communities to develop “new ways of psalmody” so as to better express their own liturgical identity.


Twelfth Century British Library Early Source Sixth Mode Musical Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    Jutta Seyfarth, ed., Speculum Virginum CCCM 5 (1990): 60–62.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    See John Harper, The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century: A Historical Introduction and Guide for Students and Musicians (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 97–98.Google Scholar
  3. 29.
    Chrysogonus Waddell, “The Early Cistercian Experience of Liturgy,” Rule and Life: An Interdisciplinary Symposium ed. Basil M. Pennington, Cistercian Studies Series 12 (Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971), p. 97.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Constant J. Mews 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Jeffreys

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations