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Medieval Music, Magical Minds Paperback – May 31, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (May 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595183719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595183715
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,107,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Devlin is not only an accomplished vocalist, but a prolific author of books and magazine articles. A hopeless medievalist since childhood, she has not only performed the music, but made it a lifelong research project. She presently lives in Richmond, California, with her son and two cats.

More About the Author

MARY DEVLIN is a prolific author of books, essays and magazine articles. A double Taurus born in Great Lakes, Illinois, Ms. Devlin has long been fascinated with the stars, English history, music, and literature - along with many other subjects. As the child of a decorated Marine officer, in her early years she traveled all over the United States. She graduated from the University of Nevada at Reno.

She became interested in New Age thought at the age of eight years - though at that time, the term "New Age" had not yet been coined. In the mid-1970's, she studied astrology at the Astrologer's Association in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she was certified as a professional member of the American Federation of Astrologers. In 1976 she met psychologist and astrologer Marcia Moore and became her assistant. It was during her employment with Ms. Moore that she wrote her first book, I Am Mary Shelley, and did the research for Astrology and Past Lives. She went on to publish Astrology and Relationships; The Psychology of Spirit; Medieval Music, Magical Minds; and five novels - Murder on the Canterbury Pilgrimage, The Legend of Good Women, Portrait of Victorine, Devon Wakefield, and Madame Jane, a historical novel which she began writing when she was fourteen years old. At present, she is working on two books, a romance novel, and a book on medieval music theory - and is already researching two more.

Her interest in early music was aroused when she was in high school and discovered folk music, particularly the ancient English ballads. In 1989, she discovered medieval music, and became active in the San Francisco Early Music Society. She spent three years in England, researching several books and articles and performing with The Lion Tree, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of medieval music. When she returned to the Bay Area, she founded the Sherwood Consort, a mixed vocal/instrumental ensemble who performed all over the Bay Area and recorded three successful CDs: Between March and April; Robin Loves Me: The Legend of Robin and Marion; and One Day As I Went Riding, which received some great reviews, and are still selling. Ms. Devlin has also performed with the Casa Italiana Opera Company in Los Angeles, and has continued with her performances of medieval and Renaissance music. She is also planning two more Sherwood Consort projects.

Ms. Devlin has three children - Thomas Dye, Allan Dye, and Laura Dye Meador. She is also the grandmother of Laura's sons, Bradley and Wesley. Presently, she lives in Los Angeles with her son Thomas and two cats, Draupadi and Erin.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is NOT a scholarly work. The author mixes quotes from reputable scholars with mostly unfounded surmise. The main topic of the book is not medieval music but New Age philosophy.
The author's lack of knowledge of the basic conditions of medieval life is immense. For instance, she refers to a "schoolyard" with children playing in it in medieval Germany.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Sorry, I don't agree with the previous reviewer at all. Yes, there is New Age philosophy in this book, but the author points out that what we call New Age is actually very "old age," had not yet been totally expunged in the Middle Ages, and thus affected the music composed during that era. As for her knowledge of medieval society, for that I cannot speak, but a quick look through my copy of this book revealed no mention of a "schoolyard" in medieval Germany.
The author does, however, evince an extensive knowledge of the subject at hand: medieval music. As a beginning student of medieval music back in 2000, I found this book to be comprehensive enough to explain all the basics and to put me in touch with the various forms of music in vogue from roughly 1100 to 1600. Furthermore, she explains it in a conversational tone, outlining her own explorations of the subject, and I actually found myself reading it on into the night instead of yawning and putting it down after three pages - the way I did with more scholarly works on the subject.
I learned about pitch, harmony, rhythm, the history of music in general, and medieval performance technique - and the next time I attended a workshop on the subject, I got a lot more out of it because I had read a book that wasn't overly specific and which was easy to read. And, yes, there was some New Age philosophy which I didn't really understand. But books are subjective, and one doesn't have to accept everything an author says to appreciate his or her work.
Furthermore, while most books on medieval music have price tags which are far beyond my means, this one was more than reasonable. If you want basic background and some interesting opinions on medieval music, written in a readable style at a reasonable price, this is the book for you.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "reinad_18" on February 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
I became hooked on medieval music when a friend dragged me to an Anonymous 4 concert in 2001. My basic background was classical, but while there is a wealth of works out there on classical music, there is very little for the tyro regarding the medieval era. Mary Devlin explores a number of different approaches to understanding the medieval era, starting with a chapter outlining theories about the history of music in general.
She then moves on to outline the use of pitch and harmony in the Middle Ages, then tempo and rhythm, then voices and instruments. As there was a vast shift in style and structure from the early Middle Ages through the classical and modern periods, it's virtually impossible for a newcomer to the medieval period to jump in with no background. Books for beginners in the field, however, are conspicuous by their absence! Someone recommended this book to me - and I felt so much better informed after reading it!
I don't agree with everything the author says, but nonetheless this book has proven invaluable to me. If you're a student in the field, or even if you're an accomplished performer, you should find this book interesting. Take what you need, and leave the rest.
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