Artes liberales and music

Salve sodales,

I have a controverse, i'm designing a grog that is going to be a bard epic song writer/singer, lecherous, shortwitted, aperance 3 LOONIE! :smiley:

He have an score of 5 (soon 6) in artes liberales obssesed with creating the most epic song ever.

My ST says i need the abillitie Music, and i arge that; he allready have all the music he needs (plus gramar and retoric in his artes liberales) trivium (gramar rethorics & dialectics) and quadrivium.(astronomy geometry arithmetics & MUSIC!)

The question is simple ... Im rigth? is he rigth? Both are rigth?

But why...

a) Artes Liberales is theory. Moreover it is an Academic Ability and has limited access.
b) Music is IMO what is taught to rich kids but you might disagree.
c) Profession: Music is practice. That's how you make a living.

If theory was enough, a computer could make good music. I would go with C.

I agree with Tugual that you absolut need Profession Music if you want to earn Money with your Music.
Music is just a extrem minor part in Artes Librares to me it looks like its just the mathematic behind it and how to write your music to a paper but not the crative part or even the practical part.
Considering how Languages are handled in this game I would say artes libares are -4 to actual perfrom any music when you having writen notes at hand.

I pretty much agree with Tugual.

Arte Liberales incorporates the academic study of music. It's what you do in a music theory exam. It is all about scales and harmonics and minor and major chords, and discords, and the notation of writing the music down. It is an academic game. You can do it without being able to play an instrument, you can do it while being deaf. It is the sort of knowledge that a music critic has --- so he can articulate why some music "works" and other music "doesn't". It is also the sort of knowledge that a composer needs, if that composer is going to compose for something like an orchestra. This is because if you are composing for an orchestra you need to understand how the different sounds the instruments make will work together, so that you can write the parts for each instrument without needing the whole orchestra actually present while you are writing. If you are only composing for one (or a small number of instruments) then you can just do it by getting drunk and stoned and jamming together until it works (c.f. the process of a typical rock group).

The Music Ability is your skill in actually playing a musical instrument (or several, or singing).

Profession: Musician is the art of making a living out of playing a musical instrument.

For me, if you are going to make a "wandering minstrel" sort of character, then you want Music Ability and Profession:Musician. And you don't necessarily need high scores in them. It is perfectly valid for a minstrel character to actually be a bit rubbish at playing and/or a bit rubbish at ensuring he is well paid.

If you want to be a composer, then to be good at in an academic sense you need Artes Liberales (this basically means that you are writing church music). However, if you are a "hedge" composer then a combination of Music and Profession:Musician should be fine. The Music Ability answers questions like whether (or not) you can actually play something well. The Profession:Musician Ability answers questions like whether (or not) you can think of something to play that will be popular with your audience.

Ok i see the difference betwen those 3 skills, but sorry if i dissagree with the concept of that Artes liberales was so vane,

Guvven the case in the universities (Eg Salamanaca IIRC) there was a baccalereus degree in Music. So how would you split the XP betwen those habilities remembering that you were also taugh in the practical part (with many instruments).
Just like the further conservatory...

And please dont try to tell me that you where out with a mere 3.
You were suposed to be able to teach in one university...

Maybe the game mechanics turn to tricky :confused:

I'm not sure about the topics studied at the early years of this Univerity but keep in mind that the University of Salamanca was founded by the King Alfonso IX in the year 1218 as school and only 1254/55 was risen to the status of a university.

:slight_smile: Nice roleplaying indeed. Hopeful: "I am 18 years old, and am the first Baccalaureus with a specialization in Music that has left Salamanca university. My professors told me I could teach at a university, or a cathedral school ...". Grizzled schoolman: "Hmm, you have an idea what extraordinary lectures at a university are, do you? It's cram courses in basic Latin, if you can find newbies to pay you for them.".

Look at the Baccalaureus virtue from A&A p. 90f. You'll see, that Latin (Church usage) 5, Artes Liberales (Music) 3 is more than the 90 exp you get for the virtue pay you.
To make a beginning church musician character fresh from university, I'd add some Church Lore 3, Music (Singing) 3 and Profession: Musician (Choir leader) 1.
To make a

grog from him, just add some Carouse (Drinking songs) and look at , HoH:TL p.93f and RoP:I p.139.


Hi Messor,

I´m fond of your project to play a troubadour. Here are my thoughts about your imaginations in detail:

In medieval times music at a university was part of the quadrivium: arithmetics, geometry, astronomy (or astrology) and music. This four disciplines were thought as mathematical.

If you study music in 1220 AD, you learn about wave-relations, intervals and scales. You may also learn about appropriate ways to use combinations of intervals in a piece of music.

The music, that derives from this theoretical lessons, is called nowadays the "Notre-Dame-Epoch". The center is in Paris. We know only a few composers of this music by name. The most famous is "Perotin". The music of the Notre-Dame-Epoch counts as first highlight of part music: to perform it, you need a choir. The substance of this music is strictly religious - to be performed in church.

Although there are influences for sure, I´m not certain, if the study of music in scope of the quadrivium is appropriate to enable you to compose music in the style of the Notre Dame Epoch. As far as I can see, the composition of this music developed at the practice of the musicians, that were employed at important churches. The name "Notre Dame Epoch" suggests in my eyes, that there was a tradition of church musicians (one cantor after the other at one important church (for example Notre Dame in Paris) that learns and develops the achievements of his predecessor), which developed step by step a kind of music, that can count as a first cultural highlight of occidental music. In terms of Ars Magica, I think you need a lot of "Free expression" to be part of this history.

Troubadours are a complete different story. The most of them were homeless and uneducated (but there were some noble enthusiasts, too). This kind of musician (the archetypal bard) generally had no university training. He was an autodidact or learned from another troubadour. Apart from very few exceptions this musicians didn´t write scores. The exceptions wrote melodies, not more. We have some of their texts and very few melodies. We do not know, what they played on their lutes, etc. Their musical skills were not originated by the intellectuals of an university.

So I think, a study of music at a medieval university is no adequate start for a troubadour. He needs some skills on an instrument, a pleasant voice, folk ken and creativity (yes, they need Free Expression, too). The best a successful troubadour could afford, was the patronage of a king or high noble. Walter von der Vogelweide, the best known troubadour in the german region, was granted the title of a noble on grounds of his musical abilities by Friedrich II. Many, many years of unsecure existence preceded this event. Walters title and the associated tenure was the uttermost goal a troubadour could dream of.

Maybe this helps you in your development of your character.


Here's an example of a very young Baccalaureus church musician just out of university / cathedral school and looking for employment at a cathedral or ecclesiatical court.
He might first rely on his good voice and singing to get a position in a prestigious choir, and try to advance from there, more and more showing off his creativity.

Characteristics: Int 0, Per +1 (Attentive), Pre +1 (Dashing), Com +2 (Good Voice), Str 0, Sta +1 (Tenacious), Dex +1 (Deft Fingers), Qik 0
Size: 0
Age: 16 (16), Height: 168 cm, Weight: 60 kg, Gender: Male
Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0 (0)
Virtues and Flaws: Baccalaureus (90/90), Free Expression (Bonus: +3 to create new work of art), Puissant Music, Ability Block (Martial), Weakness (Pretty Face), Missing Eye (Melee: 1, Missiles: 3)
Personality Traits: Brave +1, Passionate +2, Sanguine +2, Sociable +1, Tenacious +2
Dodge: Init: +0, Attack , Defense +1, Damage
Fist: Init: +0, Attack +1, Defense +1, Damage +0
Kick: Init: 1, Attack +1, Defense +0, Damage +3
Cloak: Init: +0, Attack +1, Defense +2, Damage 1
Dagger: Init: +0, Attack +4, Defense +2, Damage +3
Soak: +1
Fatigue levels: OK, 0, 1, 3, 5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: 1 (1 5), 3 (6 10), 5 (11 15), Incapacitated (16 20), Dead (21+)
Abilities: Art of Memory 1 (Music), Latin 5 (Church Usage), Artes Liberales 3 (Music), Bargain 1 (Getting Paid), Carouse 1 (Drinking Songs), Concentration 1 (Study), Etiquette 1 (Townsfolk), Music 5+2 (Singing), Teaching 1 (Music), Charm 3 (First Impressions), Folk Ken 1 (Townsfolk), Stealth 1 (Urban Areas), Awareness 1 (Search), Brawl 1 (Dagger), French 5 (Orléanais), Church Lore 3 (Bishopric Organization), Musician 1 (Choir Leader), Scribe 1 (Copying)
Equipment: Priest's Clothes; Wax Tablet; Musical Instrument: Psalterium
Encumbrance: 0 (0)

It is easy to make him older and more experienced - either on the road (and perhaps among the Ordo Vagorum) or in more or less stable employment.


That was very interesting, thanks for sharing.

Among the modern musicians in standard ArM5 time there is also Julian von Speyer. Look him up here: . You might then wish to use him in a campaign in Norman or Rhine Tribunal.


Thank you chiarina i love argumented posts

In fact the idea was a lad that ended the university. But not happy with the future deserved, choose the determination of compose the most epic songs. Due destiny paths ends with wanderer magi (troupe included) that are just up to create a covenant. Maybe i will not let him play any instrument by now or who knows music 1 singing. He is goning to compose maybe even to sing something. For living i see no problem, 2 companions want songs about them :wink: will asure his entrance in the group. Im thinking about even driven him to compose best epic poems!

About virtues, Free expresion and Inspirational granted! Do you imagine!?!? Roland go home...

About flaws 1 clumsy, 2 no sense of direction, driven or even covenent upbrining, 3 lecherous or proud (probably this one)

By the way i thank your aportation and convinced me about music abillity but as he is not going to use it i will spend 5 as much 15 by now.

Is just a grog but i like much to ad colour

With Music (Singing) 1, your character can use his Music Ability for playing instruments and composing as well. Just that for Singing the Ability is counted as one better.


Mystery Cults suggests that Music can be used for instruments.

Mystery Cults suggests that Music can be used for instruments.

Well how i get a muse for him to create the greatest epic song? XD

OK, I'm late to the party. Here are my thoughts (as someone who's degree is actually in Music Theory):

I think it's kind of important to note here that the 'classical' subject of music in the quadrivium is still the sum of knowledge from Roman times. What is important to understand here is that the church composers are actually going quite beyond the quadrivium. That is, as practiced and studied, even your average composer didn't actually use much of what he learned in the quadrivium in his every day life. Indeed, you could be a 'musical expert' on what was taught and understood in the quadrivium and never make a decent composer or musician at all. More to the point, I'd say that the 'average' person with a score of 5 in the quadrivium probably knows a lot about Pythagoras' and Plato's ideas about music, but couldn't actually write any of it.

Chiarina is quite right that the church composers and the 'secular' or 'mundane' troubadours were cut from very different cloths. In fact, not long from 1220 the whole endeavor of music is almost 'bi-fricated' into 'what the monks are doing' and 'everyone else'. The stuff the monks are doing gets quite complicated eventually, once they take full advantage of notation (something the troubadours don't really deal with much). If you think about it, this makes sense - once you can embody a composition abstractly (with notation) you can 'play with it' in ever more complicated ways before performing. The experimentation deals with how musical lines might be played (or more typically sung) simultaneously. Eventually these moving simultaneous lines become the genesis for the system of harmony we know today.

All that said, I don't think free expression necessarily would have been needed in the Notre Dame school. I do think that if you didn't have it, you were likely to be eclipsed by those who did - but as far as I'm concerned that's how it should be.

With regard to Messor's idea, I know how I'd spin it.

"In fact the idea was a lad that ended the university. But not happy with the future deserved, choose the determination of compose the most epic songs. Due destiny paths ends with wanderer magi (troupe included) that are just up to create a covenant. "

I'd have such a character's long term story line be that he develops a notation system more useful than what already exists and shares it with Troubadours. This departs from history, but could be very cool. The most impressive pieces musically (not lyrically) in the period have the 'multi-part' component to it - making notation a key advancement in the creation of musical 'structure'. This could be good for stories too - figure a partnership with a Jerbiton mage - someone with enough free time and indulgence to make a go at this potentially life-long development. To get the 'epic' music to work, he'll need performers (more partners). He'll need to somehow convince other working Troubadours that the effort of learning his system is all worth it. Learning his new system will take effort almost akin to lingual literacy (not quite that hard, but potentially). Maybe this is more suitable for a companion though.

Or perhaps the Jerbiton invents the system, but is a poor artist. Inspired by the character, the Jerbiton goes about the business of enlisting the person to adopt his or her new notation system. The Jerbiton want's the musician to learn it and use his obvious talents to compose something epic - epic enough to demonstrate that his new system should be adopted by all.

Thumper.... Just.... Wow!

What have i said about argumented posts?!?! Thanks!

I think you get quite the idea ... That musician is like a troubador "wannabe" but with lots of academic formation and another point of view. So he dont want to play and sing he wants to create, i like the idea of forming his own music system . Well not going to be a companion btw but maybe he will end with a companion sheet.

By now the best on his backpack:

Companions and grogs on diplomatic mission arribed to the land lord's tower in early afternoon.

At dinner time the lords daughter is missing so is our grog.

Troupe: [choreography palmface]

Classic :mrgreen:

If you can get access to magic, I can see a Jerbiton or other magus designing a multitrack recorder to, basically, create a recording studio. Would make for a cool device. New instruments can be fairly easy as well to design if you have free expression.

And obviously you need offstage time to lure noble women mad with passion for you

This really is a good idea. If it´s not so important for you to have a troubadour, the composer could invent the notationsystem we call "ars nova" today. With this system, composers were able to fix the duration of the single notes in a way similar to the way we do it today. This created the possibility to synchronize many single parts and to create complex multi-part compositions (and that was the next step, historically. The style started ca. at 1300 A.D. Listen to the very cool "Messe de Nostre Dame" by Guillaume de Machaut). Such a playercharacter could use his "breakthrough" mainly in the church context (because there were no Troubadour-Choirs), but it could be a cool story, too.

Maybe it could be interesting, too, that the higher church-officials were reserved compared to the development of the "ars nova". They were afraid that the believers could go to church because they want to listen to this new beautiful music without paying attention to the word of god (and indeed the text comprehensibility of the ars nova music was limited). This was a serious and long lasting conflict between some popes (some of them even prohibited compositions in the style of the "ars nova") and the composers of sacred music (...and a very cool story seed, I think).

Hey, I have one idea after the other... what about this one: The fact that complex multi-part music were possible, created the possibility to use more than one text at the same time (the genre is called "motet", composers: Guillaume de Machaut and Philippe de Vitry). The texts could be religious but that wasn´t imperative. So, imagine a diabolist that is a member of a church choir and sings infernally tainted texts, while the other members of the choir sings "gloria" and "ave maria". This would desecrate the service, the church, or whatever you want. Because of the limited text comprehensibility his scheme is difficult to discover. Maybe only his two singing neighbours in the choir know, what he sings...