The Resounding Project

Volume 1.   Music of the High Medieval Era
performed on period stringed instruments

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Instrumentation by verse - see instruments

1. Stella splendens   [3:06]   LV 2
"Splendid Star" is a polyphonic song found in the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, in a monastary near Barcelona. The unknown author wrote that the purpose was to provide wholesome songs "Because the pilgrims wish to sing and dance while they keep their watch at night in the church."
1. CSM10 citole on both melody and accompaniment | 2. + CSM70 psaltery | 3. + metal whistle | 4. + Koninklijke rebek | 5. + CSM50 psaltery (hammered) | 6. + PG19 lion harp | End lion harp and CSM10 citole

2. Lamento di Tristano   [3:14]
A folk-style estampie found with 116 other songs in a 14th Century, Italian manuscript.
1. Both parts played on the CSM10 citole | 2. + Lincoln Cathedral citole

3. La Rotta   [1:41]
A rotta is a lively Italian dance tune, typically played after a slower estampie. This rotta usually follows "Lamento di Tristano".
1. CSM10 citole and frame drum | 2. + CSM90 gittern | 3. + CSM50 psaltery (hammered) | 4. + PG19 lion harp

4. Cuncti simus concanentes   [2:04]   LV 6
Translated "Let us sing together", this virelai is also from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat.
1. CSM10 citole and brass finger cymbals | 2. + frame drum and Koninklijke rebec | 3. + CSM50 psaltery (hammered) | 4. Drum, rebec and bells

5. Douce dame Jolie   [3:24]
A virelai by the 14th century French composer Guillaume de Machaut.
1. CSM10 citole (strummed), CSM50 psaltery (hammered) | 2. + CSM10 citole (plucked) | 3. + CSM70 psaltery | 4. Only CSM10 citole and PG19 harp | 5. All with added CSM210 viol

6. Strela do dia   [4:00]   CSM 100
Cantiga 100, one of 420 Cantigas de Santa Maria attributed to Alfonso X (1221–1284).
1. Frame drum, CSM citole (strummed), PG19 harp (melody) | 2. + CSM10 citole on melody | 3. CSM50 psaltery (hammered) and CSM10 citole, both on melody | 4. CSM70 psaltery and CSM10 citole, both on melody | 5. Lincoln Cathedral citole and CSM10 citole, both on melody | 6. All.

7. Ben pod' a Sennor sen   [2:48]   CSM 101
Cantiga 101 of the Cantigas de Santa Maria.
1. CSM10 citole (argeggio and melody), frame drum, brass finger cymbals | 2. + metal whistle and CSM10 citole (strummed) | 3. + PG19 harp | 4. + PG9 citole | 5. + CSM50 psaltery (hammered) and CSM | 6. All with added CSM210 viol

8. A Virgen mui groriosa   [3:02]   CSM 42
Cantiga 42 of the Cantigas de Santa Maria.
1. PG19 harp and CSM10 citole | 2. + metal whistle | 3. + CSM50 psaltery (hammered)

9. Como poden per sas culpas   [1:58]   CSM 166
Cantiga 166 of the Cantigas de Santa Maria.
Frame drum, brass finger cymbals, CSM10 citole (arpeggio) throughout | 1. CSM10 citole (melody) | 2. + metal whistle and CSM10 citole (strummed) | 3. + PG19 lion harp | 4. + PG9 citole | 5. + CSM50 psaltery (hammered) | 6. + CSM250 viol

10. Rosa das rosas   [2:55]   CSM 10
Cantiga 10 of the Cantigas de Santa Maria.
1. Parma Citole (melody), CSM10 citole | 2. + CSM10 citole and brass bells (melody) | 3. + PG19 harp | 4. + Stuttgart citole | 5. + CSM50 psaltery (hammered) and CSM250 viol | End Parma citole, CSM10 citole

11. Adoro Te Devote   [1:54]
A Eucharistic hymn composed by Thomas Aquinas. This recording uses the droning strings of the cranked organistrum, a forerunner of the hurdy-gurdy.
1. Portico de Gloria organistrum | 2. + CSM70 psaltery

12. Mandad'ei comigo   [2:16]   ca II
A cantiga by the 13th century joglar Martin Codax. This tune, "Word Came Today" [I've got a message], is about a friend returning from battle.
Introduction on frame drum, brass bells, CSM210 viol | 1. Lincoln Cathedral citole | 2. CSM10 citole | 3. CSM50 psaltery (hammered) | 4. All with added CSM70 psaltery | 5. CSM70 psaltery and frame drum | 6. All

13. Palästinalied   [4:34]
Written in the early 13th century by Walther von der Vogelweide, this Crusader's song is from the perspective of a pilgrim entering the Holy Land. Note the march-style rhythm.
All verses. frame drum, CSM210 viol, CSM10 citole (strummed), CSM290 psaltery | 1. CSM** gittern | 2. CSM** gittern, CSM10 citole (plucked) | 3. CSM70 psaltery | 4. CSM50 psaltery (hammered) | 5. PG19 harp | 6. All

14. Estampie Royale 2   [3:17]
The estampie was a popular 13th century French dance genre. Either vocal or instrumental, it consisted of repeated phases called puncta.
CSM10 citole strummed (all verses) | 1. CSM10 citole on melody | 2. Lincoln Cathedral citole and frame drum | 3. PG19 lion harp and frame drum

15. Veni Sancte Spiritus   [3:14]
This is one of four medieval songs preserved in the Missale Romanum, published in 1570 following the Council of Trent. Although the exact, original notation is vague, this arrangement is a mosaic of the most common extant tunes.
Both parts played on the CSM70 psaltery

The High Medieval Period (roughly the 11th - 13th Century) was quite diverse musically. Well before the age of standardized orchestration, there was rich diversity in instruments allowing much experimentation with musical style and composition. Especially among the strings, we see instruments specifically designed to suit the player and the genre.

Since we have no extant instruments from this period (wood is not very durable) much of what we know is via the art. Granted, some artists take creative license, but taken as a whole I believe early art work provides a good depiction of instrumentation.

The songs on this album were recorded on instruments modeled after two primary sources--the Cantigas de Santa Maria from the 13th Century court of Alfonso X and the sculpted Twenty-four Elders' Instruments over the Portico de Gloria in the Santiago de Compostola cathedral.

Most of these songs have accompanying lyrics. For this project, however, the instruments are showcased. I typically added or highlighted a different instrument in each successive verse, ending with all instruments in unison. Realizing there are varying opinions regarding the "correct" interpretation, voicing, tempo, or phrasing, I chose to err on the side of presenting the acoustics and performance characteristics of the instruments. Simplicity and clarity of tones were favored over potentially more creative performances.


These pieces were recorded and produced using Presonus Studio One Professional 4 and Celemony Melodyne. My goal was to preserve the tonal quality of each instrment, in order to recreate a historically accurate artifact. I removed ambient noise (not the noises of string squeaks and overtones) and corrected my own playing deficiencies such as tempo variation and wrong notes. When a repetitive section was "perfected", that loop was used for all repeated verses. The final mix was enhanced with a touch of reverb and delay in order to offset the deadness of my recording space.

The Instruments

All of the instruments used in the RESOUNDING PROJECT are period instruments constructed only from materials available during that period. They are accurate based on the best research available regarding dimensions, joinery, internals, and tunings.

For the designs, I rely heavily on manuscripts, illustrations, and written descriptions. Earlier instruments tend to be based more on artwork of the period, since written specifications are rare.

When I construct an instrument, I consider its purpose within four possible categories. This determines the actual materials, methods, and degree of accuracy that I employ.

Category 1 - Display
Intended to be only a visual/artistic reconstruction of the instrument. May not be playable.

Category 2 – Educational/Performance
To be used primarily as an educational resource, allowing the player and audience to see and hear a reasonable recreation. Not using period tools or material, although the general construction is highly based on a real instrument or combination of characteristics from similar instruments.

Category 3 – Research
An instrument that is constructed of period materials and has the same structure and features of the period instrument. Modern tools and methods may have been used to achieve these results.

Category 4 – Museum
The instrument for all practical purposes is the same as the original. Period tools, materials, and methods were used to make an artifact that is modeled after a known instrument.

All of the instruments heard in the RESOUNDING PROJECT are of category 3 or 4 standards.

Lion Harp

Modeled after one of the sculpted instruments of the Twenty-four Elders arching over the Portico da Gloria in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, circa 1188.


CSM10 Citole

Four-string citole depicted in the illumination for the 10th cantiga in the Cantigas de Santa Maria.


Parma Citole

A reconstruction of the citole featured in a Benedetto Antelami baptistry sculpture in Parma, Italy, c. 1180.


CSM210 Viol

This bowed viol is essentially the cello of the consort. It has 3 gut strings stretched over a tunable goatskin head.



A cranked stringed instrument similar to a hurdy-gurdy. This instrument is based on the one in the center of the Portico da Gloria.


PG9 Citole

A plucked citole played by the 9th Elder in the Portico Gloria sculpture.


Lincoln Cathedral Citole

An angelic instrument from a sculpture in the cathedral at Lincoln, England, c. 1270.


CSM70 Psaltery

Based on the illumination for Cantiga 70.



Bowed rebecs were quite varied in shape and size. This one is modeled after "King David with Musicians" from Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, MS 76E II, circa 1200.


CSM50 Psaltery

A double-course psaltery patterned after those illustrating CSM 50.


CSM80 Psaltery

A simple, rectangular psaltery as seen with Cantiga 80.


CSM290 Psaltery

An unusual psaltery with 4 courses of 4 metal strings.