Wilhelm of Hirsau [Wilhelmus Hirsaugiensis ]
- Lawrence Gushee
[Wilhelmus Hirsaugiensis ]
(b Bavaria; d Hirsau, July 4, 1091). Benedictine writer on music and astronomy . Wilhelm was educated in the monastery of St Emmeram, Regensburg, where his works are commonly believed to have been written. He was made abbot of the monastery of Hirsau in the Black Forest in 1069, actually assuming office two years later. Although not known as a composer, he was said by one early biographer to have corrected many errors in songs, presumably plainchant; he was thus a participant in the widespread attempts of that epoch to bring traditional chant into line with new modal theories. His major work on music is presented as a dialogue with his learned teacher, Otloh of St Emmeram, although the special advantages of that method of exposition are not exploited. Possibly the work was originally conceived in another form, then mechanically transformed into a dialogue. Two of the four manuscripts of the complete text present it as one book; the other two have it as two, but divided at different points. The texts, however, appear to be substantially the same....