Space, Sound, and Spirituality: Thoughts on the Little Ice Age, Polyphony, and the Evolution of Sacred Space

Please note different time and day: Monday 12th November at 18.15

One of the most significant sets of environmental events of the Medieval and Early Modern periods was a collection of climatic changes often known as the “Little Ice Age” lasting roughly from 1200 to 1680. The Little Ice Age changed the soundscape with its own distinctive sounds. It also brought about changes in the appointment and design of interior spaces, including those where worship took place. A secondary impact involved the production of musical instruments, including Stradivari violins. Tapestries, carpet and banners provided warmth and colour during the harsh winters, but also promoted a “drier” acoustic space better suited for polyphony. We will examine these and other factors that contributed to the transformation of sacred song in the fourteenth though sixteenth centuries.