Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-mcrbk Total loading time: 0.347 Render date: 2022-06-30T08:50:36.488Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Reading and singing: on the genesis of occidental music-writing*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2008

Leo Treitler
State University of New York at Stony Brook


About the year 795, Charlemagne wrote to Baugulf, the Abbot of Fulda,

It has seemed to us and to our faithful councillors that it would be of great profit and sovereign utility that the bishoprics and monasteries of which Christ has deigned to entrust us the government should not be content with a regular and devout life, but should undertake the task of teaching those who have received from God the capacity to learn … Doubtless good works are better than great knowledge, but without knowledge it is impossible to do good.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1984

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 ‘Notum igitur sit Deo placitae devotioni vestrae, quia nos una cum fidelibus nostris consideravimus utile esse, ut episcopia et monasteria nobis Christo propitio ad gubernandum commissa praeter regularis vitae ordinem atque sanctae religionis conversationem etiam in litterarum meditationibus eis qui donante Domino discere possunt secundum uniuscuiusque capacitatem docendi studium debeant impendere … Quamvis enim melius sit bene facere quam nosse, prius tamen est nosse quam facere.’ The text is edited by Wallach, L. in Alcuin and Charlemagne: Studies in Carolingian History and Literature (Ithaca, 1959), pp. 202–4Google Scholar. Wallach dates it to the period 794–800, and regards it as essentially the work of Alcuin, an attribution that is generally accepted (see Bullough, D. A., ‘Europae Pater: Charlemagne and his Achievement in the Light of Recent Scholarship’, The English Historical Review, 85 (1970), pp. 59105CrossRefGoogle Scholar). While it was initially addressed to Baugulf, it was reissued as a circular letter, and is generally referred to as ‘Epistola’ or ‘Capitulum de litteris colendis’.

2 Reynolds, L. D. and Wilson, N. G., Scribes and Scholars: a Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1974), p. 83Google Scholar.

3 An overview is given by Bischoff, B. in ‘Panorama der Handschriftenüberlieferung aus der Zeit Karls des Grossen’, Karl der Grosse: Lebenswerk und Nachleben, ed. Braunfels, W. (Düsseldorf, 19651967), ii, pp. 234–54Google Scholar. He published a detailed list of manuscripts in Frühkarolingische Handschriften und ihre Heimat’,Scriptorium, 22 (1968), pp. 306–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Reynolds, and Wilson, , Scribes and Scholars, p. 83Google Scholar.

5 Brünholzl, F., ‘Der Bildungsauftrag der Hofschule’, Karl der Grosse, ii, p. 32Google Scholar (my translation).

6 Ganshof, F. L., The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy (London, 1971), p. 29Google Scholar. ‘Et libros catholicos bene emendate [emendatos in some sources], quia saepe, dum bene aliqui Deum rogare cupiunt, sed per inemendatos libros male rogant. Et pueros vestros non sinite eos legendo vel scribendo corrumpere. Et si opus est evangelium, psalterium et missale scribere, perfectae aetatis homines scribant cum omni diligentia.’

7 Reynolds, and Wilson, , Scribes and Scholars, p. 90Google Scholar.

8 Fleckenstein, J., ‘Karl der Grosse und sein Hof’, Karl der Grosse, ii, p. 26Google Scholar (my translation).

9 Bischoff, ‘Panorama’, p. 234 (my translation).

10 Ganshof, , The Carolingians, pp. 133–4Google Scholar. Charlemagne's attitude about this seems to have extended to his subordinates. In an edict of 808 he required that every bishop, abbot, and count retain a notary. (‘Ut unusquisque episcopus et abbas et singuli comites suum notarium habeant’ (Monumenta germaniae historia [MGH], Leges, ed. Pertz, G., 5 vols., i, p. 131Google Scholar: Karoli magni capitularia, December 808, c. 4).

11 The history is well summarised in Reynolds, and Wilson, , Scribes and Scholars, pp. 84–5Google Scholar.

12 Cf. Bischoff, B., ‘Interpunktion’, Deutsche Philologie im Aufriss, ed. Stammler, W., 3 vols. (Munich, 1975), i, p. 438Google Scholar.

13 Cassiodorus, Institutiones, i/xv/12; Isidore, Etymologiarum, iii/xvxvi.

14 Edited by Schmid, H. as Musica et Scolica enchiriadis, una cum aliquibus tractatulis adiunctis recensio nova post Gerbertinam altera ad fidem omnium codicum manuscriptorum, Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Veröffentlichungen der musikhistorischen Kommission 3 (Munich, 1981)Google Scholar.

15 This idea is well developed in the treatise On Music by John (of Afflighem?), Chapter 10; see Palisca, C. V., ed., Hucbald, Guido, and John on Music: Three Medieval Treatises Translated by W. Babb (New Haven, 1978)Google Scholar.

16 The most detailed published information available regarding Latin punctuation before 800 is presented in Lowe, E. A., Codices latini antiquiores, 11 vols, plus Supplement (Oxford, 19341971)Google Scholar [CLA], in which the author shows a sample from, and provides a description of the paleographical characteristics of, every known Latin manuscript datable to the epoch before 800. Unfortunately the facsimile included does not always show the question mark, which, for reasons to be given below, is the most important punctuation mark for the history of neumatic writing. In the Introduction to vol. ii Lowe wrote, under the heading ‘Punctuation’, ‘This chapter of paleography is still to be written.’ That remains true today. There are, however, some important shorter studies on the subject: Lowe, E. A. (then Loew), The Beneventan Script (Oxford, 1914)Google Scholar, chap. ix, ‘Punctuation’; Parkes, M. B., ‘Medieval Punctuation, or Pause and Effect’, Medieval Eloquence, ed. Murphy, J. J. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1978), pp. 127–42Google Scholar; Vezin, J., ‘Le point d'interrogation, un élément de datation et de localisation des manuscrits: l'exemple de Saint-Denis au ixe siècle’, Scriptorium, 34 (1980), pp. 181–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lowe, , ‘The Codex Bezae and Lyons’, The Journal of Theological Studies, 25 (1924), pp. 273–4Google Scholar, repr. in Lowe, , Paleographical Papers 1907–65, ed. Bieler, L., 2 vols. (Oxford, 1972), i, pp. 185–6 and Plates 24–5Google Scholar.

17 E.g. in this comment on the punctuation of the scribes at Tours:

Punctorum vero distinctiones vel subdistinctiones licet ornatum faciant pulcherrimum in sententiis, tamen usus illorum propter rustitatem pene recessit a scriptoribus.

(MGH, Epistolae, 4, p. 285); and in these verses on the importance of punctuation to the reader in the church:

Per cola distinguant proprios et commata sensus,

Et punctos ponant ordine quosque suo,

Ne vel falsa legat, taceat vel forte repente

Ante pios fratres lector in ecclesia.

(MGH, Poetae Latini Aevi Carolini, 1, p. 320, carmen xciv).

18 See Robinson, F. C., ‘Syntactical Glosses in Latin Manuscripts of Anglo-Saxon Provenance’, Speculum, 48 (1974), pp. 443–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 See CLA, ii, ‘Introduction’.

20 See Law, V., The Insular Latin Grammarians (Woodbridge, 1983)Google Scholar.

21 The most recent survey is that in Corbin, S., Die Neumen, Paleographie der Musik, i: Die einstimmige Musik des Mittelalters (Cologne, 1979), pp. 3.21–41Google Scholar. For the purposes of this paper it is necessary to add the oldest complete source for the Musica enchiriadis, which, although it does not contain neumes, is an essential document for the beginning of music-writing. See n. 23 below.

22 I proceed throughout this paper from the premise that these notational systems were invented during the Carolingian period, i.e. that their differentiation is not the result of a long evolution whose earlier traces have disappeared. The arguments for this belief will be developed during the course of the paper.

23 See n. 14 for details of the edition of the Musica enchiriadis. The oldest complete surviving source is Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 337 (olim 325), written at St Amand in the late ninth century. The approximate date of composition that I use here is based on Peter Dronke's reasoning to a terminus ante quem of 859/60 for Scotus Eriugena's Commentary on Martianus Capella, in which Commentary a version of the Orpheus allegory is presented that, as Dronke shows, is dependent upon the version in the Musica enchiriadis; and on the assumption that the latter would have had to be in circulation long enough for Scotus, to have borrowed from it. See Dronke, P., ‘The Beginnings of the Sequence’, Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur, 87 (1965), pp. 4373Google Scholar. The Musica disciplina is edited by Gushee, L. as Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, Corpus scriptorum de musica 21 (Rome, 1975)Google Scholar. The oldest surviving source is Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 148, also copied towards the end of the ninth century, and thought also to come from the St Amand scriptorium (although with reservations – see Gushee, p. 24). Gushee writes: ‘the conditions of [the Valencienne manuscript's] existence offer, of all the Aurelian manuscripts, the strongest possibility of its being close to the author's MS as it left his hands in the middle of the ninth century’ (p. 23). The date used here is that generally given for the Musica disciplina, and Gushee has reconfirmed it on the basis of the available evidence (pp. 15–16).

On the basis of ‘now and once extant MSS’ Gushee characterises the Musica enchiriadis as ‘overwhelmingly popular’, and contrasts it in that respect with the Musica disciplina. He writes that ‘the factors which worked against [the latter's] wide dissemination during the Middle Ages [are] that it offered neither a coherent theory – [this especially as it has the aspect of a compilation] – nor a clear and unambiguous description of practice’, but that – and here I agree with Gushee – ‘all the same, Aurelian's work is precious’ (p. 17). Its value for me lies in the opening it gives us into modes of thought and conceptions about music, and even details of practice, despite its aspects of incoherence and opaqueness. The attitude with which it is read here is that it is richly suggestive, and that, although any single conclusion that one draws from it is made hazardous by these problems and by the uncertainties in its transmission, it is worth the gamble. One point: we know hardly anything about Aurelian. If the text or musical notation in the oldest complete source were not written by him we would not have lost much; they were written by someone, and either this author was copying from Aurelian, or our interest transfers to what he thought and knew.

24 Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 9543, with a neumated prosula that Bischoff dates, with its neumes, to 820–30; see Die südostdeutschen Schreibschulen und Bibliotheken in der Karolingerzeit, i, 2 vols. (Wiesbaden, 19741980), pp. 203–4Google Scholar, Plate 4d. Corbin (Die Neumen, p. 3.29) implies scepticism about that dating but does not press the question, apparently out of respect rather than conviction.

25 Fuller, S., ‘Theoretical Foundations of Early Organum Theory’, Acta Musicologica, 53 (1981), pp. 5284CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

26 On the relation between the Ars grammatica and Ars musica, see Bielitz, M., Musik und Grammatik: Studien zur mittelalterlichen Musiktheorie (Munich, 1977)Google Scholar and Reckow, F., ‘Vitium oder Color Rhetoriens? Thesen zur Bedeutung der Modelldisziplinen Grammatica, Rhetorica, und Poetica für das Musikverständniss’, Forum Musicologicum, 3 (1982), pp. 307–21Google Scholar.

27 ‘Quae ut lucidiora fiant, exempli descriptione statuantur, prout possit fieri sub aspectum’ (Schmid, , Musica et Scolica enchiriadis, p. 49Google Scholar). ‘Ad hanc descriptionem canendo sentitur, quomodo in descriptis duobus membris sicut subtus tetrardum sonum organalis vox responsum incipere non potest’ (ibid., pp. 49–50). ‘Ergo ut, quod dicitur, et audiendo et videndo comprobetur’ (ibid., p. 14).

28 ‘Dandum quoque aliquid eis est, qui minus adhuc in his exercitati sunt, quo vel in noto quolibet melo sonorum proprias discant discernere qualitates vel ignotum melum ex nota eorum qualitate et ordine per signa investigare’ (ibid., p. 10).

29 ‘Sit ut prius ex sonorum signis e regione positis cordarum progressio, et inter cordas diapente simphonia disponatur’ (ibid., p. 35). ‘Sonus quarumque vocum generale est nomen’ (ibid., p. 21).

30 ‘Sint autem cordae vocum vice, quas eae significent notae. Inter quas cordas exprimatur neuma quaelibet, utputa huiusmodi …’ (ibid., p. 14). The wording connotes a sense of the novelty of this.

31 The earliest is John of Garland's assertion that ‘All simple figures are valued according to their names, whether they are with text or not’ (‘Omnis figura simplex sumitur secundum suum nomen, sive fuerit cum littera sive non’); see my paper Regarding Meter and Rhythm in the Ars Antiqua’, The Musical Quarterly, 65 (1979), pp. 524–58 (pp. 533–4)Google Scholar.

32 ‘Sed dum forte in sono aliquo dubitatur, quotus sit, tum a semitoniis, quibus constat semper deuterum tritumque disiungi, toni in ordine rimentur et mox, quis ille fuerit, agnoscetur, donec sonos posse notare vel canere non minus quam litteras scribere vel legere ipse usus efficiat’ (Schmid, , Musica et Scolica enchiriadis, p. 13Google Scholar).

33 In ‘La représentation spatio-verticale du caractère musical grave-aigu et l'élaboration de la notion de hauteur de son dans la conscience musical occidentale’ (Acta Musicologica, 51 (1979), pp. 5973Google Scholar, M.-E. Duchez argues–probably correctly–that the spatial conception of sound is not natural or universal but a product of a particular history. It is a product of the simultaneous development of a theoretical note system and the invention of notation in the ninth century, for both of which the Musica enchiriadis is a central document.

34 The conception of melody as a movement of the voice had been a central idea in the Greek view of music (thus Aristoxenus: ‘In melody of every kind what are the natural laws according to which the voice in ascending or descending places the intervals? For we hold that the voice follows a natural law in its motion …’ (Strunk, O., Source Readings in Music History, New York, 1950, p. 26Google Scholar). It was transmitted as an aspect of the heritage of classical Greek thought about music by the intermediary scholars of the sixth and seventh centuries (thus Isidore of Seville: ‘The first division of music, which is called harmonic, that is, the modulation of the voice, is the affair …of all who sing’ (Strunk, , Source Readings, p. 95Google Scholar)). And it was spelled out by Guido of Arezzo as a theory of melodic figures – the so-called ‘motus theory’ (see Palisca, , Hucbald, Guido, and John on Music, pp. 55 and 73–4Google Scholar). The spatial conception of music that underlies Western notational systems is a further, and more explicit, development of this older idea. Of course the idea itself is still active today, and is manifested in such expressions as ‘melodic movement’ and ‘voice-leading’.

35 See my paper Observations on the Transmission of Some Aquitanian Tropes’, Forum Musicologicum, 3 (1982), pp. 1158, esp. pp. 50–4Google Scholar.

36 ‘Sicut vocis articulatae elementariae atque individuae partes sunt litterae, ex quibus compositae syllabae rursus componunt verba et nomina eaque perfectae orationis textum, sic canorae vocis ptongi, qui Latine dicuntur soni, origines sunt et totius musicae continentia in eorum ultimam resolutionem desinit’ (Schraid, , Musica et Scolica enchiriadis, p. 3Google Scholar).

37 ‘Particulae sunt sua cantionis cola vel commata, quae suis finibus cantum distingunt. Sed cola fiunt coeuntibus apte commatibus duobus pluribusve, quamvis interdum est, ubi indiscrete comma sive colon dici potest (ibid., p. 22).

38 See n. 15. For demonstrations of this point see Hucke, H., ‘Toward a New Historical View of Gregorian Chant’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 33 (1980), pp. 437–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Jonsson, R. and Treitler, L., ‘Medieval Music and Language: a Reconsideration of the Relationship’, Studies in the History of Music, i: Music and Language (New York, 1983) pp. 123Google Scholar.

39 ‘… rogatus a fratribus ut super quibusdam regulis modulationum quas tonos seu tenores appellant sed et de ipsorum vocabulis, rerum laciniosum praescriberem sermonem’ (Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 53Google Scholar). Who ‘the brethren’ are can be inferred from the corpus of chants that Aurelian describes: they are the cantors and singers of the schola cantorum, whose repertories (Mass-Proper chants, antiphons and responsories) constitute Aurelian's subject. The significance of this fact will arise again later in this article. All translations of Aurelian are from Ponte, J., ed., Aurelian of Réôme: The Discipline of Music, Colorado College Music Press, Translations 3 (Colorado Springs, 1968)Google Scholar.

40 ‘Libet interea mentis oculum una cum acie stili ad modulationes inflectere versuum, et quae propria unicuique sit sonoritas toni in eius litteratura verbis pauculis indagare, uti prudens dinoscere queat cantor varietates versuum in armoniaca vergentes tenore; quoniam quidem sunt nonnulli toni qui prope uno eodemque modo ordine versuum in suamet retinent inflexione, et nisi aut in medio aut in fine provida inspectione aut perspicatione antea circumvallentur oculo, unius toni tenor in alterius permutabitur’ (Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 118Google Scholar).

41 Ibid., p. 27.

42 Ibid., p. 98.

43 Gushee, L., ‘The Musica disciplina of Aurelian of Réôme: a Critical Text and Commentary’ (Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. of Yale, 1963), pp. 244–59Google Scholar.

44 Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 27Google Scholar.

45 ‘Plagis proti melodia in sua littera huiusmodi habet notarum formas …’ (ibid., p. 121; the neumes are reproduced in Plate i, 7).

46 ‘Porro in versibus antiphonarum haec consistit figura notarum …’ (ibid., p. 122; the neumes are reproduced in Plate iii, 5).

47 Handschin, J., ‘Eine alte Neumenschrift’, Acta Musicologica, 22 (1950), pp. 6997CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jammers, E., Die Essener Neumenhandschriften der Landes- und Stadtbibliothek Düsseldorf, Veröffentlichungen der Landes- und Stadtbibliothek Düsseldorf 1 (Ratigen, 1952Google Scholar); Jammers, E., ‘Die paleofränkische Neumenschrift’, Scriptorium, 7 (1953), pp. 235–59, Plates 26–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hourlier, J. and Huglo, M., ‘Notation paléofranque’, Etudes gregoriennes, 2 (1957), pp. 212–19Google Scholar. Handschin brought into association with Aurelian's notation the neumation of a Gloria with Greek text written into Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, MS fonds lat. 2291 in St Amand before 886 (see Corbin, Die Neumen, p. 3.37, n. 90 about the dating of the MS). This notation shares with Aurelian's and with later Paleofrankish notations the essential features described above. It belongs among the witnesses for the existence of a pitch notation in the ninth century.

Handschin (p. 87) also reported on neumes that were written elsewhere in the manuscript. The book is a sacramentary, comprising items for the priest. The Gloria is entered on fol. 16v. Before it, on fols. 9V–15r, there is a list of text-incipits of Mass-Proper chants for the liturgical year, and neumes have been written above some of these. They are neumes of the same type, written with the same ink, as those above the Gloria text. Their function was evidently to differentiate melodies for texts with similar beginnings. The utility of a pitch notation for such a task is clear, and it puts the neumation of the Gloria in a less isolated context. It had appeared as the one neumation in a practical book, unaccountably, with a pitch notation. But, that notation having been used for the incipits, it is understandable that the neumator would have written the Gloria melody in the same notation.

48 ‘Eine alte Neumenschrift’, pp. 78–81.

49 Corbin, Die Neumen, p. 3.77.

50 Journal of the American Musicological Society, 35 (1982), pp. 237–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

51 See, for example, the diplomatic facsimile from Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, MS fonds lat. 17305 in Corbin, Die Neumen, pp. 3.78–9.

52 ‘Et quomodo litteris oratio, unitatibus catervus multiplicatus numerorum consurgit et regitur, eo modo et sonituum tonorumque lines omnis cantilena moderatur’ (Chapter viii; Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 78Google Scholar).

53 For bibliography and exposition of research problems see Allen, W. S., Vox latina (Cambridge, 1978CrossRefGoogle Scholar), Chapter 5, ‘Accent’.

54 Ibid., and Schmitt, A., Musikalischer Akzent und antike Metrik, Orbis antiquus, 10, ed. Beckman, F. and Wegner, M. (Münster, 1953Google Scholar).

55 ‘Versus autem harum antiphonarum totus in imo deprimitur gravisque efficitur vocis accentus, et simul totus gravi canitur voce’ (Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 101Google Scholar).

56 ‘Quarta post haec, hoc est: “Pa-”, si producta fuerit veluti haec eadem syllaba quae positione producitur, in ea acutus accendetur vocis accentus’ (ibid., p. 119).

57 ‘Eine alte Neumenschrift’, p. 71.

58 Parkes, ‘Medieval Punctuation’, p. 128.

59 Lowe, , The Beneventan Script, p. 228Google Scholar.

60 Wagner, P., Einführung in die gregorianischen Melodien, ii: Neumenkunde (Leipzig, 1912; repr. Hildesheim, 1963), pp. 258ffGoogle Scholar.

61 I use the term ‘directionality’ in the sense introduced in ‘The Early History of Music Writing’, to refer to the representation of higher and lower notes in higher and lower positions on the page. And I distinguish it from diastematy, the representation of intervals by proportional spacing of the neumes in the vertical dimension. Much confusion has been sown by the failure to recognise that often direction was all that a writer aimed to show – that it was the only information that was required. Directionality without diastematy is not the same as bad or primitive diastematy. An example will be shown below.

62 Handschin, ‘Eine alte Neumenschrift’, p. 71; Hourlier and Huglo, ‘Notation paléofranque’, p. 213. Wagner's view about this has improved as it has gone through successive reports in the literature. He wrote: ‘Diese hochbedeutende Errungenschaft der Umformung der Zeichen nach Massgabe der Intervalle ist spätestens um das Jahr 980 zum ersten Male nachweisbar’ (Neumenkunde, p. 258). Hourlier and Huglo wrote: ‘La notation de la Doxa [the Gloria with Greek text in Paris 2291] viendrait done confirmer la thèse de Wagner sur la diastematie initiale des notations musicales’ (‘Notation paléofranque’, p. 213). And, as Corbin reported, ‘Dom Hourlier und Michel Huglo schliesslich beschränken sich darauf, in dieser bereits diastematischen Schrift [the Paleofrankish] eine Bestätigung der Annahme Peter Wagners zu sehen, dass die Neumenschriften ursprünglich diastematisch wären’ (Die Neumen, p. 3.77).

63 ‘The Early History of Music Writing’, pp. 254–8.

64 The first category should probably be generalised to include didactic functions in other kinds of document – tonaries and other lists (such as that in Paris 2291) and even some chant books. But for now I restrict myself to pedagogical treatises.

65 ‘Versus introituum: Gloria patri et filio et spiritui sancto. Sagax cantor, sagaciter intende, ut si laus nomino trino integra canitur, duobus in locis scilicet in xvi syllaba et post, in quarta decima, trina ad instar manus verberantis facias celerum ictum’ (Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, pp. 122–3Google Scholar).

66 Bamberg, Staatliche Bibliothek, MS lit. 5; Einsiedeln, Stiftbibliothek, MS 121; Kassel, Murhardsche Bibliothek, MS Q theol. 15; Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, MS fonds lat. 9448. I am grateful to Professor Helmut Hucke for sharing with me his survey of the notations of the introit psalmody.

67 ‘Versus istarum novissamarum partium tremulam adclivemque emittunt vocem’ (Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 97Google Scholar).

68 ‘… in eiusdem versu “Cantate Domino”, post primam modulationem maiorem quae fit in “Do-”, subsequente modulatione altera, quae fit in “can[tivum]”, flexibilis est modulatio duplicata, quae inflexione tremula emittitur vox, non gravis prima sonoritas ut inferius monstrabimus’ (ibid., p. 98).

69 ‘Porro antiphonarum versus, si duodenarium in sese continuerit numerum, ut hic: Magnificat anima mea Dominum, tunc prior, id est “Mag-” plenum reddit sonum. Secunda, videlicet “-ni-”, alte scandetur. Tertia vero et quarta, id est “-fi” et “-cat”, mediocriter tenebuntur’ (ibid., pp. 120–1).

70 See Wagner, , Neumenkunde, p. 235Google Scholar.

71 Powers, H. S., ‘India, Tonal Systems’, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Sadie, S., 20 vols. (London, 1980), ix, p. 91Google Scholar.

72 Palisca, , Hucbald, Guido, and John on Music, p. 37Google Scholar. ‘Hae autem consuetudinariae notae non omnino habentur non necessariae; quippe cum et tarditatem cantilenae, et ubi tremulam sonus contineat vocem, vel qualiter ipsi soni iungantur in unum, vel distinguantur ab invicem, ubi quoque claudantur inferius vel superius pro ratione quarumdam litterarum, quorum nihil omnino hae artificiales notae valent ostendere, admodum censentur proficuae. Quapropter si super, aut circa has per singulos phthongos eaedem litterulae, quas pro notis musicis accipimus, apponantur, perfecte ac fin ullo errore indaginem veritatis liquebit inspicere: cum hae, quanto elatius quantove pressius vox quaeque feratur, insinuent: illae vero supradictas varietates, sine quibus rata non texitur cantilena, menti certius figant.’

73 Strunk, , Source Readings, p. 120Google Scholar. ‘Quomodo autem liquescant voces, et an adhaerenter vel discrete sonent. Quaeve sint morosae et tremulae, et subitaneae, vel quomodo cantilena distinctionibus dividatur, et an vox sequens ad praecedentem gravior, vel acutior, vel aequisona sit, facili colloquio in ipsa neumarum figura monstratur, si, ut debent, ex industria componantur.’

74 ‘Porro autem, et si opinio me non fefellit, liceat quispiam cantoris censeatur vocabulo, minime tamen perfectus esse poterit nisi modulationem omnium versuum per omnes tonos discretione[m] que tarn tonorum quamque versuum antiphonarum seu introituum necne responsorium in teca cordis memoriter insitum habuerit’ (Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 118Google Scholar).

75 ‘Dicebantur autem Musae, a quibus nomen sumpsit et a quibus reperta tradebatur, filie Iovis fuisse, quae ferebantur memoriam ministrare, eoquod haec ars, nisi memoria infigatur, non retineatur’ (ibid., p. 61). Isidore, , Etymologiarum, iii/xvxviGoogle Scholar.

76 See his ‘Die Entstehung der Neumenschrift’, Schrift, Ordnung, Gestalt: gesammelte Aufsätze zur älteren Musikgeschichte, Neue Heidelberger Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 1 (Berne and Munich, 1969), ed. Hammerstein, R., pp. 7087Google Scholar.

77 Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 14Google Scholar.

78 The possibilities in this respect are reviewed by L. Gushee in his dissertation, ‘The Musica disciplina of Aurelian of Réôme’, Chapter 6.

79 This is so despite the cases in which individual virgas and puncta are written at somewhat different levels, as though to reflect a contour. A primary intention to convey pitch information cannot be inferred in such cases. They are at most directional – certainly too inconsistent and imprecise to be diastematic. But there is no evidence that they are any more than unconscious movements of the writer's hand, following the contours of the melody that he sings as he writes. We shall shortly see such a case where a notational contrast is clear, on the other hand.

80 See Huglo, M., ‘Les noms des neumes et leur origine’, Etudes gregoriennes, 1 (1954), pp. 5367Google Scholar.

81 The relevant passages are printed in Freistedt, H., ‘Die liquiszierenden Noten des gregorianischen Chorals: ein Beitrag zur Notationskunde’ (dissertation, Univ. of Freiburg, Switzerland, 1929)Google Scholar.

82 Paléographie musicale, ii (Solesmes, 1891), pp. 3786Google Scholar.

83 ‘E quis semivocales in enuntiatione propria ore semicluso strepunt’ (Keil, H., ed., De enuntiatione litterarum, Grammatici latini 6, Leipzig, 1859, p. 32)Google Scholar.

84 Palisca, , Hucbald, Guido, and John on Music, pp. 72–3Google Scholar. ‘Liquescunt vero in multis more litterarum, ita ut inceptus modus unius ad alteram limpide transiens nec finiri videatur’ (van Waesberghe, J. S., ed., Guidonis Aretini Micrologus, Rome, 1955, pp. 175–6)Google Scholar.

85 ‘From Memory to Record: Musical Notations in Eleventh-Century Exeter Manuscripts’, presented at the Oxford Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Music (see introductory note), to be published in Anglo-Saxon England, 13 (1984)Google Scholar. Rankin's paper demonstrates that we should not be limited in our investigation of the beginnings of notation to the study of the very oldest sources in Europe altogether, but rather that there is much to be learned from the oldest notated documents in other than the first establishments to write down about what, why and how one first began to notate.

86 Neumenkunde, pp. 263–6.

87 Ibid., p. 266 (my translation).

88 See Hucke, ‘Toward a New Historical View’, pp. 447–8.

89 In the preceding volume of this journal, John Boe reported on what amounts to another case of an indexical function in the earliest uses of a neume (The Beneventan Apostrophus in South Italian Notation, A.D. 1000–1100’, Early Music History, 3 (1983), pp. 4366CrossRefGoogle Scholar).

90 E.g. the trope-line ‘Ipsi perspicuas dicamus vocibus odas’; ‘To him let us sing clear songs with our voices’ (see Jonsson and Treitler, ‘Medieval Music and Language’, p. 12).

91 See Bautier-Regnier, A.-M., ‘A propos des sens de Neuma et de Nota’, Revue Beige de Musicologie, 18 (1964), pp. 19CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

92 The major exception is the attempt by Constantin Floros to derive the Latin neumes from the Byzantine system (Universale Neumenkunde, 3 vols., Kassel, 1970Google Scholar). The attempt is unsatisfactory, on one side, because it is as though one were studying the transformation of one biological form into another without taking into account the environment. And on the other side it fails on a host of technical grounds – paleographical, chronological, semiotic – which have been summarised by Haas, M. in ‘Probleme einer “Universale Neumenkunde” ’, Forum Musicologicum, 1 (1975), pp. 305–22Google Scholar.

93 See Treitler, ‘The Early History of Music Writing’ for bibliography.

94 ‘Eine alte Neumenschrift’, p. 83.

95 Das liturgische Rezitativ und dessen Bezeichnung in den liturgischen Bücher des Mittelalters’, Monatshefte für Musikgeschichte, 19 (1887), pp. 2936, 4552, 61–8 and 7180Google Scholar. Quotation from pp. 31–6, and 50 (my translation).

96 See above, notes 53 and 54.

97 Die Neumen, p. 3.18 (my translation). The puzzling thing is that three pages later she wrote, based on her own study of CLA, that there are no accents to be found in text manuscripts prior to 800 (p. 3.21).

98 Corbin, S., ed., Répertoire de manuscrits médiévaux contenant des notations musicales, 3 vols. (Paris, 19651974)Google Scholar. See, for example, vol. i (Bernard, M., Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève – Paris), p. 9Google Scholar: ‘Quelques manuscrits contenant des signes d'accentuation’.

99 See Treitler, ‘The Early History of Music Writing’, p. 250.

100 Ibid., p. 256.

101 Gregorian Chant (Bloomington, 1958), pp. 203–8Google Scholar.

102 Wagner, , Neumenkunde, pp. 88–9 (my translation)Google Scholar.

103 See Engberg, G., ‘Ekphonetic notation’, The New Grove Dictionary, vi, p. 102Google Scholar. (But this citation does not amount to an endorsement of the author's lumping together of the Latin lesson signs with the ecphonetic notations of the Hebrews, Syrians and Greeks.)

104 ‘Das liturgische Rezitativ’.

105 Ibid., p. 50 (my translation).

106 Ibid. (my translation).

107 Cambridge University, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Occasional Papers 1 (Cambridge, 1952), pp. 12–13, 15, 22.

108 p. 140.

109 St Petersburg, 1912.

110 See Haas, M., Byzantinische und slavische Notationen, Paleographie der Musik, i: Die einstimmige Musik des Mittelalters (Cologne, 1979Google Scholar).

111 See Treitler, ‘On the Transmission of Some Aquitanian Tropes’, pp. 50–1.

112 A Compendium of Musical Practice, trans. Dowland, John (1609; facsimile edn New York, 1973)Google Scholar.

113 See Hettenhausen, H., ‘Die Choralhandschriften der Fuldaer Landesbibliothek’ (dissertation, Univ. of Marburg, 1961)Google Scholar, Part 2: ‘Lektionszeichen vom 9.-14. Jahrhundert’.

114 This can be confirmed in CLA.

115 E.g. Clemoes, ‘Liturgical Influence’, p. 12, citing Reese, G., Music in the Middle Ages (New York, 1941), p. 133Google Scholar: ‘The earliest extant examples of the use of neumes on the Continent are fragments of 8th century MSS but the system was probably two hundred years older.’

116 For details see Corbin, , Die Neumen, pp. 330–41Google Scholar.

117 See Treitler, L., ‘Homer and Gregory: the Transmission of Epic Poetry and Plainchant’, The Musical Quarterly, 60 (1974), pp. 333–72 (p. 338)CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Stablein, B., ‘“Gregorius Praesul”, der Prolog zum römischen Antiphonale’, Musik und Verlag: Karl Vötterle zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Dahlhaus, C. (Kassel, 1968), pp. 537–61 (p. 537)Google Scholar.

118 See Hucke, ‘Toward a New Historical View’ and Treitler, L., ‘Oral, Written, and Literate Process in the Transmission of Medieval Music’, Speculum, 56 (1981), pp. 471–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

119 See H. Hucke, ‘Die Anfänge der Bearbeitung’ (forthcoming in Festschrift for Kurt von Fischer).

120 Palisca, , Hucbald, Guido, and John on Music, p. 36Google Scholar.

121 See Rankin, ‘From Memory to Record’.

122 The recent book by Miller, J. and van Loon, B., Darwin for Beginners (Oxford, 1982)Google Scholar, can be recommended as a straightforward exposition of Darwin's theory of evolution against the background of the history of the general problem with a clear sense of what is specifically Darwinian.

123 See Huglo, ‘Les noms des neumes’.

124 See Treitler, ‘Homer and Gregory’, p. 337 and Plates iiv.

125 The cheironomy theory of origin is laid to rest by Hucke, Helmut in ‘Die Cheironomie und die Entstehung der Neumenschrift’, Die Musikforschung, 32 (1979), pp. 116Google Scholar.

126 Lowe, ‘The Codex Bezae’ and Vezin, ‘Le point d'interrogation’.

127 See, for example, Bohn, ‘Das liturgische Rezitativ’ and Husmann, H., ‘Akzentschrift’, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. Blume, F., 16 vols. (Kassel, 19491979), cols. 266–73Google Scholar.

128 Bohn, ‘Das liturgische Rezitativ’, pp. 46–7.

129 The Beneventan Script, pp. 36–70.

130 Jammers, E., Aufzeichnungsweisen der einstimmigen ausserliturgischen Musik des Mittelalters, Paleographie der Musik, i: Die einstimmige Musik des Mittelalters (Cologne, 1979), pp. 4.2–3 and Plates 1 and 2Google Scholar.

131 See Corbin, , Die Neumen, p. 3.29Google Scholar regarding the question of dating and other literature.

132 ‘Armonica est quae discernit in sonis acutem et gravem accentum, ut hic: Ant. Exclamaverunt ad te Domine. Ex, gravis accentus … Rithmica est, quae incursionem requirit verborum, utrum sonus bene an male cohereat. Rithmus namque metris videtur esse consimilis quae est modulata verborum compositio, non metrorum examinata ratione, sed numero sillabarum atque a censura diiudicatur aurium, ut pleraque Ambrosiana carmina’ (Gushee, , Aureliani Reomensis Musica disciplina, p. 67Google Scholar).

133 Aufzeichnungsweisen, p. 4.3.

134 Jammers, ‘Die Entstehung der Neumenschrift’; Floros, , Universale Neumenkunde, ii, pp. 232ffGoogle Scholar.

135 ‘Toward a New Historical View’, pp. 445–6.

136 Treitler, ‘Homer and Gregory’, pp. 368–70.

137 ‘Panorama’, pp. 249, 252, 253.

138 The Beneventan Script, pp. 227–8.

139 ‘The Early History of Music Writing’, pp. 254–8.

140 Regarding the need for a reorientation from the paleography to the semiotics of music-writing, and the difference between the two, see my forthcoming paper ‘Paleography and Semiotics’, Report du Table Ronde ‘La Séquence – Paléographie Musicale’, Orléans, 1982, Publications du Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes (Orléans, 1984)Google Scholar.

Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Reading and singing: on the genesis of occidental music-writing*
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Reading and singing: on the genesis of occidental music-writing*
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Reading and singing: on the genesis of occidental music-writing*
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *