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About Peter Abelard

Peter Abelard, philosopher, poet, musician and theologian is best known for his religious work "Sic et Non" a series of questions and answers analyzing biblical texts. Much of his work is associated with his love for Heloise who became a Paraclete nun after he chose the life of a monk at St. Denis; he had been castrated by Heloise's uncle the Canon Fulbert. It is possible that much of his music was inspired by Heloise but none of his rhythmic love songs survive. He was able to compose a hymn-book for Heloise and grouped the hymns by metre which was an original innovation leaving little design for melodies. Unfortunately only one of these melodies survive. Abelard also composed the "Planctus" which are laments based on biblical themes. The characteristics of this body of work include conservative use of rhyme, highly original style, the use of staffless neumes, syllabic and melismatic melodies, and little or no dissonance. The "Planctus" only survive from 12th and 13th century sources. [One wonders if the laments were reminiscent of his yearnings for Heloise.] ~ Keith Johnson

HOMETOWN
Pallet, Breton
BORN
1079

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