A medieval musician and his vielle
A medieval musician and his vielle

Instrumental ensemble music, as opposed to solo music, began to flower in the late medieval period.  It developed along with the polyphonic style of composition where several different lines of music are performed simultaneously.

When an instrument band consisted of a group from the same instrumental family (all viols, recorders, shawms, etc.), it was known as a consort.  Normally each line of music would be played by only one performer.  When band members played instruments from a variety of different families, that was termed a “broken” consort.

An eponymously named ensemble of six musicians will be performing at the Arizona Senior Academy Tuesday (Oct. 14) at 11:30 a.m.  Their program, titled “Burgos, 1275,” is named for the historic capital of Castile in northern Spain during its heyday in the 13th Century. The program will consist of music and poetry from Las Huelgas Royal Convent (located in Burgos) and the Cantigas de Santa Maria (poems composed at the court of King Alfonso X of Castile) as well as Andalusian-Sephardic and Andalusian-Arabic tunes sung in the original languages and played on period instruments.

This diverse, beautiful, and energetic program transports the audience as if they stepped into a time machine. This is one of Broken Consort’s most popular programs. Listening samples from recent live performances can be found on their website at:


Broken Consort’s performance at the Arizona Senior Academy is made possible by a gift from ASA members Dennis and Sabra Anderson.

Written by Fred Reinagel, Academy Village Volunteer

Broken Consort Makes Early Music Come Alive: Oct.2014
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