Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Margo Schulter: the neo-medieval avant-garde

One of my goals here has been to identify some of the under-recognized niches in the experimental and contemporary music landscape. One scholar and composer who deserves more attention is Margo Schulter. She has specialized in the nexus between medieval and renaissance tuning concepts and voice leading practice in early repertoire, both analytically and synthetically, through locating unexplored potential in historical practice for new work. Her impressive, if modest-in-scale, compositions are in a style which she identifies as neo-medieval, featuring deliciously subtle alternative tunings. To a certain extent, it is a kind of historical fiction, imagining a music that could have happened in 1300 or 1400 had history taken a slightly different course in the generations after Perotin or Machault. Ms. Schulter, although working outside of the academy, is one of the most rigorous and thorough scholars out there, and, in addition, is one of the most generous spirits in the contemporary music world, paying attention to the work of others with rare intensity and always more interested in fruitful collaboration than in competition.

A selection of her writings are available here. Some of her pieces may be found here or here or here (ogg vorbis files prepared by Gene Ward Smith).

1 comment:

Hanuman Zhang said...

I agree. Ms. Schulter even answered total xenotonality newbies' questions when she was on a tuning email list. That impressed me - besides her re-constructions of historical musical ideas.

Vive complex 3rds...