And that part’s done.

The rhythm is put into MuseScore — 37 of the weirdest measures I’ve ever put down. I’ve never been a fan of excessively weird music, but now I’ve actually wrestled with time signatures like 17/8 that change every measure.

Now, I listen and yank the notes around to the correct pitches now that they have been given the proper durations. Then, I sit by my harp, tune my Ds flat, and start picking out harmonizations, thus destroying any chance I ever had of period/early music cred. 🙂

When this is done, I’d like to try “O Euchari in leta via ambulasti,” which is sort of her Billboard number one hit, and then see if I can’t noodle with a few more and maybe publish. We’ll see how it goes. I think there should be a cultural intersection between the kind of women who buy lever harps and the kind of women who think Hildegard of Bingen is cool, so hopefully someone other than I might find this interesting.

I’ll need to note in the music that, aside from the occasional “pickup” notes, that the measures might best be played as if they are triplets, with groups of notes that total a dotted quarter to be considered a sort of basic unit.

Back to “O Ignis Spiritus”

And I’m strongly reminded of why this is so painful to do. Listening to plainchant and trying to transcribe it just rhythmically is like pulling teeth a millimeter at a time. Nothing unrelated to emergency dental work will give you a headache faster than attempting to put free-ish rhythm plainchant into something resembling triplet meter enough to get it into MuseScore.

I mean, it’s strongly triplet anyhow. I can tell that the performers thought of things as triplets with some pickup measures, but ai yi yi. This is taking a level of myopic focus that I don’t think you’ll find in people who don’t use tiny drills to clear stone away from microscopic fish fossils for a living.

It goes without saying that I do not use tiny drills to clear stone away from microscopic fish fossils for a living.

I should also state that, again, I’m well aware that what I’m planning to do with this is about as historically accurate as a corn dog at a renfaire. But I’m not an academic, and I simply don’t care.

And the next one: Hildegard of Bingen

“O Ignis Spiritus Paracliti” seems to work well and have a distinct n/8 beat that I can mess with and get down at least in vague terms.

The lyrics are straightforward, however the score is not.

(The actual score itself is in the typical notation of the time, and the piece in question is on page 15 of the PDF.)

I think my best option is to meter out each individual line of each verse and then fill them in, as each of them seems to have a distinct pattern. That should work decently. I know that the notation that I use every day of my life was born of this stuff, but damn it is not intuitive. I feel like I’m reading “Beowulf.” Sure, it’s where my language began, but it’s certainly gone its own way since then, hasn’t it?

I’m certainly not aiming for anything “HIP” or that adheres to period practice in any way. And I’m a little irked that she wrote it in four flats when I’m going to arrange it for lever harp, but I guess it will require tuning the Ds flat. 😦

At any rate, it should be interesting to get to this one later. We’ll see what happens after I clear “Dove sei?” off my plate.

Update: A-ha! It’s either not in 4 flats or else there is no strict reason to sing it in one key, because I just ran into another version from my CD that isn’t in Fm. I now have justification for putting it in Cm, which will keep me from having to set my Ds flat!