The perception of noise and music by individuals, and the meanings that they attributed to sounds heard and imagined, are revealed in various texts from the later Middle Ages. Many writers incorporated references to ‘heavenly’ or ‘ hellish’ sounds into their religious writings, often as a metaphor for the divine or as representative of more earthly, morally corrupting delights. In spite of moves by the Cistercians and other religious groups to regulate plainchant, and to eradicate unauthorized or ‘lascivious’ melodies, new musical styles developed within the Christian church that explored ever more ambitious textures, rhythms, harmonies and performance practices.1 Outside of regular, institutional worship, the piety of individuals was also informed by sound in ways that have attracted less attention, especially when such authors did not also compose music.