Cantigas recreate the music of the Middle Ages with authentic compositions which use techniques of mediaeval performance practice such as countermelodies, drones, rhythm parts and creative improvisation.

Cantigas plays a repertoire of mediaeval and folk-based music from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The group explores instrumental sounds and timbres using hand-crafted Australian reproductions of period instruments. The group generally plays in mean-tone temperament and at the pitch A466 as it is believed that pitch in the Middle Ages was higher than the standard A440 that we use today. The music is all monophonic, that is single line melodies and in most cases merely fragments.

Zana Clarke: ganassi recorder, voice flute, rebec, yayla-tanbur
Caroline Downer: vielle, harp, hurdy-gurdy
Philip Gunter: oud, lute, darabouka, bells

Cantigas is featured on the following titles

Courts in Colour

A collection of traditional melodies from the important courts of Spain, France, Egypt and Jerusalem in the Middle Ages.

Travellers' Tapestry

Mediæval and folk-based music from Europe, Asia and the Middle East – inspired by the centres of barter and exchange grouped along busy trade routes.


Silk and Spice

Early instrumental music inspired by the Silk Road. Cantigas takes us on a musical journey through mediæval Europe, Asia and the Middle East, where the meeting of diverse cultures resulted in an interaction and exchange of musical ideas.

Members of Cantigas

Past members