Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Mass as Henry VIII heard it. . .

Facebook. A few historians, musicians, sound engineers and experts in medieval liturgy have reconstructed the sound of a 16th century Mass. They recorded the audio in the Vyne’s chapel, a country house where Henry XVIII attended Mass. Visitors to this Tudor mansion can now hear the ancient Mass before the reformation.

The project team has installed a surround-sound system in the chapel so that the visitors may have a more real experience.
At National Trust property The Vyne in Hampshire visitors can experience the unique sound of a Tudor Lady Mass. This audio experience has been created for The Vyne’s beautiful pre-Reformation chapel, in which Henry VIII might have heard the Mass when he visited in October 1535. The soundscape immerses listeners in the prayers, chants and movements of clergy and choristers and was created in partnership with the universities of Oxford, Southampton and Bangor.
The original article about this project can be found on Catholic Herald. And here is another video where some of the project participants were interviewed:

The videos were released in March of this year and offer us an audio, if not video, impression of what it was like to attend a mass in England in the early 1500s.  I offer it as a fascinating glimpse back in time that may or may not challenge our presumptions of what the worship life of the people was like then.

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