Mastering Modal Methods and Manners for Modal Music:

A medium-advanced to advanced course by Center Cantus Modalis. Language of instruction: English.


Center Cantus Modalis is organizing a three-day course on mastering modal methods and manners for modal music. Teachers will be Dr. Rebecca Stewart, drs. Bram Verheijen and drs. Marsja Mudde. The aim of the course is to give interested singers and instrumentalists concrete tools to perform modal music according to the ten principles outlined in the article “A Modal Mentality for Modal Music” (Stewart, 2002, most recent version 2021, to be found on the CCM website). The principles described in this summary will be explored practically in their spiritual, physical and musical context and methodology.

During these three days the students will be led through a – modal – process which requires a combination of will and sensitivity. Students will be taught to hear, feel and intuit precisely what happens to the vibrations in the acoustics, the body and the interpersonal communication during the process of making music. The result will hopefully be that the students are able to grow toward a way of making music that is in harmony with the surrounding space, themselves and each other.

The repertoire chosen by the teachers will be the medium, not the goal of the course. Therefore the course will end with a small public demonstration instead of a concert.

Date & times:

February 20-22, 2024; 10:30 am – 6:00 pm.

Public demonstration:

February 22, 2024, at 16 h.


(Semi-)Professional singers, vocal students, advanced amateurs and instrumentalists, who have at least two years of experience with music from before 1500. In specific cases the teachers can make an exception.

Number of participants:

minimum 10, maximum 20, on a first come, first serve basis. By arrangement, there is limited space for auditors.


before January 20, 2024, info and/or registration through Marsja Mudde,, stating name, contact information, musical background and experience and giving a short motivation with learning goals.

Location rehearsals and presentation:

Synagogue Tilburg, Willem II Straat 20.

Course fee:

300 Euro, including coffee, tea, simple vegan & glutenfree lunch, and course materials. Students following a bachelor or master degree in music, or people with proof of limited financial resources, can receive a 40% discount. Auditors 40 Euro per day.

Repertoire used in teaching:

day 1 = mode VII introitus Puer natus est nobis; day 2 = mode I introitus Gaudeamus … sanctorum omnium; day 3 = mode IV Alleluia excita, Domine. Copies from the Laon 239 manuscript and study instructions are provided after the registration deadline is expired. Students are expected to know these chants by heart upon arrival on the first day.

Center Cantus Modalis

The Center Cantus Modalis uses the underlying principles of the living oral high-art traditions of the non-Western world as its primary point of entrance into the “extinct” written high-art modal traditions of the Western world. Students gain experience in the interpretation of medieval and early Renaissance music through the use of original notation and the relevant modal singing techniques. This combination brings the musicians into contact with many aspects of music that are absent in the later, more tonal approaches which are now considered normal. The project weeks of CCM - which also include instrumentalists – always finish with concerts or presentations.

In addition, the Ensemble Cantus Modalis gives concerts. In 2007 the ensemble’s first CD was released, entitled “Missa Fontes et omnia,” with all known works by Dutch composer Christiaan van der Ameijden. Its second CD came out in 2012. It is devoted to Heinrich Isaac’s 6-voice Missa Paschalis “ad organum”, with organ versets by Hans Buchner. On the latest CD by Cantus Modalis, in collaboration with Seconda Prat!ca, one can hear Josquin’s impressive Missa Mater patris, probably written as an ‘in memorium’ to his colleague Antoine Brumel. See also .

Dr. Rebecca Stewart

Dr. Rebecca Stewart is an (ethno)musicologist and singer, retired head of the early vocal department of the Brabants / Fontys Conservatorium and co-founder / ex ‘maestro di cappella’ of the Cappella Pratensis. She received her PhD in ethnomusicology in 1974 after having worked for many years in Hindusthani classical music. Since moving to The Netherlands in that same year she has concentrated mostly on early western music.

After having taught for seventeen years in the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (as co-founder of the Baroque singing department and as a teacher of theory), she was invited to begin a new early music department in Brabant in which singers (and later instrumentalists) received a ‘modally’- oriented practical and theoretical education which extended from the earliest chant traditions of Western Europe to the end of the Renaissance. She has published several articles concerning the relationship between modal singing and modal music.

Primarily in her function as leader of the CP she has made many CDs. After her retirement she formed – and is leader of – the Ensemble and Center Cantus Modalis. She continues to give concerts, workshops and lecture demonstrations.

Her focus of attention in this course will be acoustics & overtones; breath & signalling; and “modal skeleton” & bourdon.

Drs. Bram Verheijen

Drs. Bram Verheijen obtained his bachelor’s degree and in 2006 his master’s degree in Early Vocal Ensemble Music with Dr. Rebecca Stewart at the Fontys School of the Arts in Tilburg. After graduating, he was also a modal technique instructor in this department. Bram has specialized in medieval singing traditions such as Gregorian and Ambrosian Chant and in the polyphonic traditions that arose from these monophonic traditions.

As a singer he has sung at many international festivals and and with professional ensembles such as Cantus Modalis (conducted by Dr. Rebecca Stewart) and Fála Musica (conducted by Maurice van Lieshout).

Bram Verheijen leads various vocal ensembles, including the quartet Capella Vacalis, and he gives voice training workshops in combination with monastic spirituality. He also works as a coordinator at the Benedictine Adelbert Abbey in Egmond-Binnen.

His focus of attention in this course will be embodyment of sound; flow & meaning; and modal mentality.

Drs. Marsja Mudde

Drs. Marsja Mudde holds masterdegrees in Health Sciences and Environmental Science. Then she studied Early Vocal Ensemble Music (Tilburg), immediately specializing in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, with Dr. Rebecca Stewart. After graduation, she took many master-level specialization courses, including Hildegard von Bingen, Italian Trecento, Devotio Moderna and Gregorian chant from across Europe. Inspiring teachers included Anne Azema, Kees Boeke, Jill Feldmann, Maria Jonas and Bampis Charalampos.

She has performed frequently in the Netherlands and abroad with Ensemble Trigon, Ensemble Cantus Modalis, Per Sonorem Vocis, her own ensemble Anime Beatitudinis Cantando, and others.

Marsja has also had a singing practice since 2005, which, because of her specialization, attracts students from all over the Netherlands. Furthermore, she teaches and assists at Center Cantus Modalis.

Within this center she also contributes to scientific research and publications. With Dr. Rebecca Stewart she wrote the chapter ‘Hoewel ik notatie, noch zingen geleerd had’ in the book Zicht op Hildegard (2020, edited by Hans Wilbrink). She is currently working with Dr. Stewart on a tutor on specific modal singing techniques. See also .

Her focus of attention in this course will be “vocal fingering” & resonance; energy & neumes; and care for mind & body.