Female Chant Repertoire in Aveiro’s Dominican Convent of Jesus during the Observant Reform (15th Century)

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Founders and patrons, prioresses and sub prioresses, novice mistresses and cantrices, scribes and illuminators: women have shaped, in many ways, the foundation of the Dominican Convent of Jesus in Aveiro, Portugal. The article covers the convent’s musical universe, which one can only reconstruct today through the analysis of an essential collection of chant books produced by the sisters themselves, and the study of conventual buildings and conserved artworks. The chant repertoire of Aveiro’s Dominican sisters is approached by focusing on the local environment of the monastery, Aveiro’s development, and the city’s connections to the Portuguese aristocracy, especially to noble women. Moreover, this article shows how closely the foundation of Aveiro’s new Dominican Convent of Jesus in 1461 is linked to the previous foundation of the Friars Preachers in 1423, Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia, both tied to the Observant reform movement in Portugal. Similarly, as the friars, the sisters established their convent with new buildings, equipment, books, and liturgical practices. To illustrate this process, the last part of the article explores the practices transmitted in the liturgical books, in particular various offices in honor of Mary and female saints. As can be seen, the objective here is not to compare the practices and repertoire with those of other houses or the entire order but instead to concentrate on the microcosm of Aveiro’s convent and its chant repertoire.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationObservant Reforms and Cultural Production in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationLearning, Liturgy and Spiritual Practice
EditorsPietro Delcorno, Bert Roest
Place of PublicationNijmegen
PublisherRadboud University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9789493296084
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2023


  • Dominican chant
  • Plainchant
  • Observant reform
  • Convent culture
  • Female monasteries and convents
  • Medieval music
  • Aveiro


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