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Ellen Hünigen

Ellen Hünigen

Ellen Hünigen

E-Mail: huenigen [at] grako-schrift.fu-berlin.de


Ph.D. Project

"Memoriality, polyphonic vocal practice and writing-based composition in the notational image of Aquitanian music codices of the early 12th century."



The subject of the research paper refers to four Aquitanian musical manuscripts: Paris, B.N., fond lat. 1139, lat. 3719, lat 3549, and London, B.L., Add. 36881. All of these sources were created around and after 1100. The work focuses on early examples of two-voice music and its notation, which demonstrates an extraordinary intersection between oral-memorial practice and new composition. The written image and the expressiveness and function of the notational signs will be analyzed. What does the Aquitanian musical notation achieve for the music that is conceived or recorded with it? What information can we extract about the performative aspect, about compositional intentions, and about the interweaving of memorial practice and writing-based creation? What problems for the singers and scribes of the time can be deduced, and what difficulties are we confronted with? Transcribed representations of the pieces (i.e. an effort to substantially adapt the Aquitanian notation) are intended both for analytical use and to serve the practical purposes of the singer.

The notation is to be analyzed as it serves various functions: 1) the descriptive (i.e. description of the composed structure through the writing), 2) the prescriptive (i.e. instructional character of the notated material for the singer), and 3) the explorative function, investigating new possibilities of musical creation through “external storage” (musical notation), with the question of how it can encourage creativity and influence the decision-making processes of composition.

Questions concerning transformational processes within Aquitanian notation can be approached not only on the basis of the various, chronologically distinct codices and their various layers, but also through a number of concordant pieces.


Curriculum Vitae

Since 10/2008

Scholarship for dissertation project at DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1458 “’Notational Iconicity’: On the materiality, perceptibility and operativity of writing” at the Freie Universität Berlin

Winter term 2001/2,
Winter term 2007/8,
Summer term 2008

Lecturer at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (on medieval music manuscripts), intermittently given lectures on palaeography at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

1987-89, 1995-2002

Musicological studies at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, especially concerning early music history, palaeography, music sociology, especially with Prof. Dr. Christian Kaden and Prof. Dr. Gerd Rienäcker

Since 1998

Member of the vocal ensemble VOX NOSTRA for medieval and Renaissance music

Since 2008

Member of the ensemble Musikalischer Religionsdialog

Since 1990

Teacher for music theory and ear training at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin and at the Musikgymnasium Carl-Philipp-Emanuel-Bach, teacher (piano, music theory) at diverse music institutions

Since 1990

Freelance composer, performances in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, USA


Master student (composition) with Friedrich Goldmann at the Akademie der Künste zu Berlin


Studies of composition and piano with Gerhard Tittel and Dieter Brauer at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin



Courses on historical performance of medieval and Renaissance music in Kloster Retz (Austria), Heiligengrabe and Lehnin with Burkard Wehner (1998-2003), at the Schola Cantorum Basel with Kathleen Dineen, Eric Mentzel a. o. (2002), in Kloster Zinna with Maria Jonas (2003), in Berlin with Eric Mentzel (2004), singing studies with Joachim Vogt (since 2005)


International Bartok Seminar and Festival in Szombathely (Hungary)


Artistic Sommer University in Esztergom (Hungary)

Since 1986

Member of the vocal ensemble VOX NOSTRA for medieval and Renaissance musicSeveral times participation in summer courses for contemporary music (Gera, Germany), there 1989 composition prize



Berlin-Rheinsberg composition prize


Stiftung Kulturfonds Berlin

1991 and 2006

Senate of Berlin


Akademie Solitude


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