A study of the Sybil Chant and its dramatic performance in the Spanish Church (ninth to sixteenth centuries)
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This study encompasses the development of the Sibyl Chant in Spain from its early beginnings within the liturgy as a musical piece, through its growth into a dramatic ceremony associated with the Play of the Prophets, its move from Latin into the vernacular and details of its performance, to its formal abolition in the sixteenth century. The Latin Sibylline poem, Judicii siqnum, which first appears in St. Augustine's City of God and the sermon Contra Judaeos, Paganos; et Arianos, prophesies the events on Judgement Day. Its entry into the liturgy in Spain is examined in the first chapter which, drawing on hitherto undiscovered examples of the chant from the ninth century to the fifteenth, concludes that, although the text of the chant my have been known within the Hispanic rite, its music is a product of French ecclesiastical influence. With its establishment within the liturgy and subsequent dissemination across the Peninsula by the house of Cluny, it was sung in almost every cathedral city until the sixteenth century as part of the sixth or ninth lesson of Christmas Matins. The second chapter traces its development into a dramatic ceremony in the fifteenth century. A study of known texts from Catalonia, and hitherto unknown examples of the sermon with rubrics indicating dramatic activity from an early date in Castile, concludes that the Sibyl ceremony was a product of the Ordo Prophetarum. From the thirteenth century, the Latin of the chant was often superceded by the vernacular. A comparison, in the third chapter, of Catalan and Castilian versions reveals that they owe little to the Judicii siqnum, and Provengal examples which have been considered their Source, and a Catalan troubadour influence is argued. The final chapter explores the practice of the Sibyl ceremony, with details of its performance: its liturgical position, costume, staging, attendant practices and final prohibition.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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