Religious medieval music

Sillería de coro (Astudillo, Palencia) Pulse para ampliar Sillería de coro (Astudillo, Palencia). Sala 24

Choir stalls. Astudillo, Palencia

Choir stalls such as this Mudejar style example from the women´s Santa Clara Convent in Astudillo, were usually laid out in a U-shape. In the center, a giant music stand or lectern held large choir books containing the music to be sung at each point of the liturgy. The celebration of the Divine Office was a daily practice at the monasteries of monks and nuns as well as at cathedral chapters and canonical councils. This spurred the creation of special furniture; choir stalls such as these, which were necessary for the exercise of divine praise. Singing was the central activity that occupied much of the time spent by these people, devoted to a religious life within the confines of their respective communities.

Initially, this music was monadic, meaning that it had only one melodic voice, which was performed by all members of the community. Is it the so-called Gregorian chant, whose roots go back to Jewish synagogues and the earliest Christian communities. As of the 12th century, polyphonic compositions began to make their way to the monasteries, where they embellished the liturgy and were alternated with the earlier songs.