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Time Travel Adventure to the 12th Century as a Minstrel

Become a Wandering Medieval Minstrel or a Chanting Monk or Nun...


Introduction: Picture yourself in a millennium-old church where the monks walk slowly down a gray-stone corridor and sing in Latin. See the rising morning mist encircling the graceful arches as the sound of the chants of these devout men worshipping their creator can be heard, awakening the birds in the trees. 

Assignment: Compose your own chant, using what you learn about the medieval Gregorian chants. Translate it into Latin, using a translator, set it to music and record or practice singing it, keeping it to the traditional solemn, strong, and mystifying characteristics of this type of music. 


Or choose to write a ballad, composed in the same style and subjects as sung by wandering minstrels of the Middle Ages.

Be sure to comment about your experience afterwards, explaining what it is you have learned and what you found surprising in your journey back into time. 


Medieval  Minstrels can be described as one of an order of servants who earned a living by the arts of poetry and music, and sang verses to the accompaniment of a lute, harp or other instrument.  Do not forget to :  Name your traveling group of your cloistered name; and your preferred instrument.

Research Links and Videos

Inspiration for the Wandering Minstrel and the Gregorian Chant Medieval Musical Style


Google Translate ` English to Latin

Heavenly Music from Hildegard of Bingen, A Soon-To-Be- Actual Saint

LISTEN:  To the Music of Cathedrals, Plainsong & Gregorian chant, healing meditative music...

TE DEUM:  5th Century Chant


READ MORE:  How Did Plainchant Begin? Definition and Description of this Medieval Style of Music

COMPARISON:  Hildegard’s style differs from Gregorian Chanting in what ways?

Gregorian Voices:  Early Roman Catholic Church Song Generator

Minstrel Checklist...

Using GOOGLE TRANSLATE, compose your own medieval song...either a Ballad or a chant and then translate it into Latin or German...depending on choice...




The organization of the poem or song is clear and easy to follow

The poem or song is descriptive, expressive, and creative

The Latin/German translation of the poem or song is accurate

PRESENTATION:  did a good job in presenting the poem or song to the class


Historical Details...

Some wandering minstrels spent their time traveling around the country.  They performed in taverns, marketplaces or any other place they could find an audience who were willing to pay them.

Wealthy people in the Middle Ages employed minstrels to entertain them in their homes. Minstrels told stories, recited poems, sang ballads and played musical instruments.  They were usually well paid.  For example, in 1322 Agnes the Redhead received 4 shillings from Edward II for just one performance.

The ballads sung by the wandering minstrels were different from those performed by the minstrels employed by the lords. These ballads were sung in English instead of Latin and French.  Employing simple rhymes, these ballads told stories that were of interest to ordinary people.


Minstrels not only entertained people with their ballads.  They were also a source of news.  Under the Feudal System,  many of the lower servant classes and peasants were not allowed to leave the village, they relied on minstrels to bring them information about what was going on in the rest of the country.

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