The study of medieval and ancient repertoires cannot be confined to the simple reconstitution of written or oral material. It calls for another relation to memory, to its construction through a musical approach which reveals other horizons. The practise of this music profoundly transforms one’s relation to patrimony. At first this presented an interest of a solely archaeological or aesthetic nature. But as one’s work on the music of the past develops it appears that one is led to re-think in depth one’s musical behaviour and its function within the larger social fabric.
Reconstructing this music is above all a matter of rediscovering the energy of which the notations are but a sign. For these aesthetics to become alive, it is necessary to take into account all the parameters that contribute to the production and creation of this sound : the way it is read – for example grouped together around a large lectern – the size of the scores, the positions of the singers in relation to each other, the places where certain chants were interpreted, the conditions dictated by the practise of ritual, the tempi, the clothes, the objects and gestures that served to visualise the pulsation, the way of structuring memory, that is of thinking the actualisation of the sound, and even the role of lighting, natural or artificial, as part of the overall design of the ritual.
This emerging vision of musical history will generate different ways of approaching these aspects of creation. For as this medieval music returns to living practise it will evoke and revive the gestures that are a vital part of its realisation, making them part of the savoir-faire of the musicians.