A Different Song: Schneider’s ‘Singede Steine’ as evidence of work practices in the late 12th century
In the mid 1940's, while walking in the cloister of the monastery at Ripoll in Catalonia,ethnomusicologist Marius Schneider noted that the carvings of the column capitals seemed familiar. On inspection of these and the ones at Sant Cugat del Valles he realized that they were the creatures comprising an Indian musical notation. On further study he realized that they "sang" the hymn of the patron saint of the region, St. Cucufate. He further extended his findings to include the Cathedral at Girona as well as the monasteries at Ripoll and Sant Cugat del Valles. While this is a fascinating notion, that a 12th century carver was "writing" music in the stones of cloisters in the region, it has a practical implication for economic history as well. Given that carvers must be familiar with the stone of a region, and that their skills were generally more locally than widely known, it is unlikely that more than one workshop was undertaking this particular style. By this signature skill, carving Indian musical notation, it is possible to trace the path of the work of this particular workshop, and its master carver.
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- Labib, Subhi Y., 1969. "Capitalism in Medieval Islam," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(01), pages 79-96, March.
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