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Restoring Lost Songs: Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy


The following materials have been prepared as an educational resource suitable for students in Year 12 (age 16) and above. Students are given the opportunity to reconstruct for themselves a 1000-year-old song: the worksheet explains how to read the earliest form of medieval notation known as ‘neumes’ and how to create a melody based on a set of simple principles. Once they have their own reconstructed melody, students can compare their results with a version proposed by experts and performed by professional musicians. The experience of reconstructing a melody also provides an opportunity for critical reflection: at the end of the task students are led through a series of questions about the status of historical reconstructions. For those wishing to find out more about any of the topics, further reading recommendations are provided.

The materials are designed for use either in the classroom or in self-study.  They may be of particular interest to students developing EPQ projects as well as to those interested in learning more about early forms of notation, early music and methods of historical reconstruction.

Do let us know how you get on; comments and feedback are welcome as we seek to develop our range of educational resources.

1. Worksheet: How to Sing a 1000-year-Old Song

2. Solutions sheet