The role of music in the monastic reforms of Bursfelde

The project The Role of Music in the Monastic Reforms of the Bursfelde Congregation has its aim in evaluating sources of music, especially liturgical singing, from monasteries of the Bursfelde congregation which consisted of more than 80 monasteries at the beginning of the 16th century. As part of the monastic reforms, also a chant reform took place which established unified melodies across the monasteries of the congregation.

The project is part of the Department of Musicology of the Göttingen University and is funded by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).

The first project phase started in August 2011 and continued until March 2016. Originally funded for three years, it’s course was extended due to maternal leave. This first project phase focused on the chant reform of the Bursfelde congregation, especially by examining the litugical books and comparing their melodic versions. In addition, text sources from writers of the congregation were examined for remarks about music and chant. A conference about chant reform, "Spätmittelalterlicher Choral und Klosterreform", took place in 17-19 September 2015, in the course of the project. You will find the schedule and abstracts of the conference on this site. The results of this first project phase will be published as a monography: "…mutavimus cantum cum omni melodiam. Die Choralreform der Bursfelder Kongregation" by Karen Thöle (forthcoming 2017 in the "Goettingen Studies" series).

The second project phase started 1 November 2016. It is concerned with the Liber ordinarius of the Bursfelde congregation. The objective is to examine the text and to publish a critical edition, taking in regard its numerous sources.

A "by-product" of the project is the wiki "liturgica notata" that aims to help in the research to medieval liturgical sources with music notation.