This came to me by way of one of the members of our early music ensemble; thanks Sue!
“John of Salisbury (1120 – 1180) taught at the University of Paris during the years of Léonin and Pérotin. He attended many concerts at the Notre Dame Choir School. In De nugis curialiam he offers a first-hand description of what was happening to music in the high Middle Ages. This philosopher and Bishop of Chartres wrote:
“When you hear the soft harmonies of the various singers, some taking high and others low parts, some singing in advance, some following in the rear, others with pauses and interludes, you would think yourself listening to a concert of sirens rather than men, and wonder at the powers of voices … whatever is most tuneful among birds, could not equal. Such is the facility of running up and down the scale; so wonderful the shortening or multiplying of notes, the repetition of the phrases, or their emphatic utterance: the treble and shrill notes are so mingled with tenor and bass, that the ears lost their power of judging. When this goes to excess it is more fitted to excite lust than devotion; but if it is kept in the limits of moderation, it drives away care from the soul and the solicitudes of life, confers joy and peace and exultation in God, and transports the soul to the society of angels…” (Hayburn 18).