Sat 20 Jul 2019

From monophony to polyphony:
playing and singing in the medieval style -
with Ian Pittaway

a workshop for singers and players of any instrument

Friends Meeting House, Skinnergate, Darlington, DL2 7NB.

When it comes to medieval monophonic repertoire, players of early music can find themselves at a loss, falling back on ‘folk’ styles of playing or adding chordal accompaniment, unknown in the medieval period. It need not be so. This workshop is for singers and players of any instrument (not just medieval) to learn about and put into practice historically well-attested ways of ‘playing medieval music medievally’: drones, moving drones, heterophony, parallels, fifthing, the pes, the rota, the gymel, “minstrelish organum”, and contrary motion.
All music will be provided and sent ahead of the day. Pitch A=440Hz.
Ian Pittaway plays medieval and renaissance music on period instruments, solo, in ad hoc ensembles and in the duo, The Night Watch; and he teaches historical plucked strings. Ian’s special interest is historically informed performance and demythologising common misconceptions about historical music, through workshops, performance and his research website, He's a regular tutor at Medieval Music in the Dales.

Download application form.

Sat 21 Sep 2019

Four-part Lute Songs, a workshop in Shadwell, Leeds, led by Jacob Heringman,

a workshop run jointly by NEEMF and The Lute Society.

Lute songs are a central part of the lute repertoire, and this is an opportunity to explore those in four parts with singers (SATB), viols (treble, tenor, tenor/bass, bass) and lutes. We will primarily work on songs from Dowland’s First Book of Songes or Ayres and Campion’s Two Bookes of Ayres, Book 1 (mostly four-part) and Book 2 (three-part).

We will start all together, sometimes singing/playing as one group, much of the time asking for volunteers to form ad hoc groups with singers either singing solo, one to part or in a group. A second room will be available for, mostly, duos (singer plus lute). In the afternoon we’ll be glad to hear other songs, from Dowland/ other composers/ countries, which people bring (bring a few spare copies if you have them), and hear the second room’s morning songs. All music will be provided. For those wishing to prepare songs, we plan to look at Dowland’s Book 1, numbers 6, 9, 13; 18, 19, 21; and 3, 14, 20; or any you choose; and Campion Book 1 numbers 11, 01, 14, 15; Book 2 numbers 12, 20; or any you choose. All are available for free download from Sarge Gerbode’s Lute Page, For more information on the music see: Instrumentalists please bring a music stand.

Pitch is A=415. The semitone down from modern pitch is a more comfortable pitch for the repertoire. If your lute/viol is usually at 440, tune it down the semitone a few days before to let it settle. Gill will have two spare lutes at low pitch.

The workshop is for Lutes, orpharion; SATB singers; viols. All are welcome. If you are able to sing a line one-to-a-part that is great (the inner parts are quite complicated), but if we prefer to have several per part that is fine too.

Download application form.

Sat 19 Oct 2019

NEEMF AGM and workshop

Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica

Large-scale motets from Praetorius’s seminal collection of 1619

a workshop for voices and instruments led by David Hatcher

Clements Hall, York

In 1619, Praetorius published his collection of large-scale motets, many of which are for multiple choirs in the Italian manner, under the title Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica. This collection of 40 motets is probably the finest German response to Monteverdi’s works in Italy, including the Vespers of 1610, showing considerably more experimentation and inventiveness than his subordinate Heinrich Schütz’s Psalmen Davids, which was published in the same year. Polyhymnia contains pieces for from four to over twenty voices and with quite specific instructions on instrumentation and even seating arrangements. Many pieces are based on Lutheran tunes and some of the larger-scale works show Praetorius’s pragmatism in including parts of varying degrees of complexity, ranging from some virtuoso players (notably one equally proficient on the violin and trombone…”) down to congregational singing.

David Hatcher studied viola da gamba with Charles Medlam and recorder with Philip Thorby at Trinity College of Music, London. He regularly teaches on summer schools such as the Cambridge Early Music Summer School, and is in demand as a tutor for many weekend and day courses.

The workshop is open to all singers and to players of cornets, trombones, sackbuts, violins and viols, recorders, harpsichord, organ, harp, lutes (proficient in continuo playing), curtals, lower shawms (tenors down), racketts and even crumhorns (providing a quorum can be achieved). Pitch will be A440. Application form later.

Sun 17 Nov 2019

Sunday 17th November 2019

‘The Noodle Factory’

A workshop on ornamentation open to singers and instrumentalists

led by Paula Chateauneuf

Priory Street Centre, York

A gentle introduction to the art of improvisation, ornamentation and decoration in the manner of the great 16th- and 17th-century Improvisation Masters.

Some people think one needs to be born with an 'Improvisation Gene' to be able to extemporise, but this couldn't be further from the truth. All that's required is to learn some basic techniques which can be 'plugged in' to a given situation. 16th- and 17th-century writers recognised this, and their fascinating improvisation manuals contain all the materials you could ever need or want to learn to improvise, and expand your ear and musical imagination. This workshop will be a taster session for anyone who would like to try their hand at doing some early improvisation - it's very informal and no prior improvisation or early music experience is necessary to take part.

The day will explore the materials in 16th- and 17th-century manuals and how to use them practically, and then apply those techniques to learn to extemporize on ground basses, create variations on popular tunes, and add your own graces and ornamentation to pre-composed pieces. Improvisation enhances, intensifies, and ‘seasons’ performances, and helps you to make a piece your own. Singers and instrumentalists are welcome - come along and dip your toe in the water!

More details later.

Sat 14 Dec 2019

'SCHÜTZ: The father of the orchestra'

a day on Schütz's polychoral motets and the Christmas story

for voices and instruments

led by David Stancliffe

St Brandon’s Church, Brancepeth, near Durham, DH7 8DF.

Details later.