I don’t know if we have any medieval experts looking at this blog. Have a look at this:
I am rather intrigued by this group of dissolute-looking folk gathered around a book of music. I am brought to think of the famous Goliards, the monks and priests who floated around and didn’t take the Church very seriously. We should note that before about the seventeenth century, secular music was written in something very similar to Gregorian notation on a four-line stave. Modern editions of Renaissance music are transcribed into modern notation to make it easier for musicians used to reading G and F clefs.
The whole group appears to be sitting on what looks like a giant egg with a hole broken in its shell. At the bottom-left, a demon playing the lute and a man holding out a bag of coins. The man wearing a funnel on his head would a dunce or a fool. The owl represents wisdom in contrast to foolishness. We have a dead snake hanging from a dead tree and a couple of bats flying around. The magpie would represent good luck and the stork, perhaps the coming of a baby if such symbolism existed then. Two crows are feeding on a dead and plucked bird, perhaps a chicken, in the iron pot. A person at the back of the group is wearing some kind of building on his head, a lighthouse or a semaphore for guiding ships on the sea.
I haven’t been able to find the source of the image except for this blog posting on medieval music. This posting features a Youtube video with recordings of medieval music that might be of interest to you.
A penny for your thoughts…