German abbess and mystic, one of the earliest known female composers. Hildegard's musical and literary output is immense, including religious treatises, plays, and "abstract" music. The latter is monophonic, in the style of Gregorian chant, making use of the primary forms of the time: sequence, hymn, etc. Her melodic contours are consistently original; being based on mystical visions, they usually have an ecstatic quality.
~ Todd McComb