A sense of an adventure: a workshop


Text: Hilkka-Liisa Vuori

International Medieval Conference in Leeds 2016:

In the company of St. Thomas Aquinas Vox Silentii, Marika Räsänen and the attenders of the workshops.

We had a pleasure and a joy to give a workshop and a concert Felix Thomas lumen mundi – The chants of the feast days of Thomas Aquinas in the Medieval conference in Leeds. I am thankful for the people who attended the workshop with the chants of the feast days of Thomas Aquinas.

How to approach the subject?  A concert and a workshop are a part of larger project: “Touching, Tasting, Hearing, Seeing, and Smelling: Sensorial Experiences in the Feasts of St Thomas Aquinas.” with the scholars Marika Räsänen and Seppo S. Heikkinen.

In the workshop the first sense is touching. We touch our own body with the sense of trying to feel the resonance of the sound in the body. Seeing in this case is more an act of not seeing. When one closes her eyes, and feels the resonance with the hands and hears the echo of the church, the use of senses in this unexpected way helps to hear the sound differently. The sense of a sound in the body is a mirror to the sense of a sound in a church. It is as experiencing the resonating space of body in a space of a church room.

Only through our own body as a resonating room we can feel the chants in the church room. The different modes open up through the body and what we can call a “silent knowledge”. In musical words the silent knowledge is knowledge about tunings, intervals and the modes of the chants. We can always count intervals and mathematical relationships of tones, but only through the body and feelings we can find tender natural minor and an overwhelming major, as well as deeply cutting mysterious melodies.  The final touch with the modes comes through body and feelings.

With the chants for the feast days of Thomas Aquinas, we can feel these modes and question the texts and their relationships to the melodies. The mode is actually happening then and there. The understanding of the mode is in the moment.

Next workshops take place in Seinäjoki, Finland 29th  and 30th of September 2016.


With a sense of an adventure,