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Johannes de Grocheio on secular music: a corrected text and a new translation

  • Christopher Page


It has long been recognized that Johannes de Grocheio's De musicta is an outstanding source of information about Parisian musical practice c. 1300. However, the critical text of the treatise published by Rohloff in 1972 can be improved by returning to the manuscripts, and the pioneering English translation, by Albert Seay, can now be corrected in some important particulars. The purpose of this article is therefore to present a corrected text and a new (annotated) translation of Johannes de Grocheio's remarks about secular music, both monophonic and polyphonic, generally regarded as the most important part of his treatise.

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1 I adopt this title since it is the one that Grocheio employs himself; see Rohloff, E., ed., Die Quellenhandschriften zum Musiktraktat des Johannes de Grocheio (Leipzig, 1972), p. 171.

2 Some of Rohloff's interpretations and readings are challenged and discussed in DeWitt, P. A. M., A New Perspective on Johannes de Grocheio's Ars Musicae, Ph.D dissertation, University of Michigan (1973). After some years of independent work on French music in the thirteenth century I have returned to this dissertation and found many points of agreement. For further material of interest and importance, see McGee, T. J., ‘Medieval Dances: Matching the Repertory with Grocheio's Descriptions’, The Journal of Musicology, 7 (1989), 498517, and Stockmann, D., ‘Musica Vulgans bei Johannes de Grocheio’, Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, 25 (1983), 356.

3 Seay, A., trans. Johannes de Grocheo [sic] Concerning Music, 2nd edn (Colorado Springs: Colorado College Music Press, 1974).

4 This article incorporates and develops the results of research presented in C. Page, Voices and Instruments of the Middle Ages: Instrumental Practice and Songs in France, 1100–1300 (London, 1987), passim, but especially pp. 196201; The Owl and the Nightingale: Musical Life and Ideas in France 1100–1300 (London, 1989), passim; and Discarding Images: Reflections on Music and Culture in Medieval France (Oxford, 1993), Chapter 3, passim..

5 For the text see Rohloff, Die Quellenhandschriften, p. 138.

6 On this aspect of Grocheio's treatise see DeWitt, , A New Perspective, passim, and Bielitz, M., ‘Materia und forma bei Johannes de Grocheo’, Die Musikforschung, 38 (1985), 257–77.

7 See the facsimile in Rohloff, Die Quellenhandschriften, p. 107.

8 On the de Grouchys during the Middle Ages see Le Vicomte de Grouchy, and Travers, E., Etude sur Nicolas de Grouchy (Paris and Caen, 1878), pp. 49; le Marquis de Grouchy, , Memoires du Marechal de Grouchy, 5 vols. (Paris, 18731874), pp. ivvii; Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, 3rd edn, 9, sv. ‘Grouchy’. For the name ‘de Groci’ in the eleventh century see Memoires de la Sociéte dés Antiquaires de Normandie, 4th series, 6 (1961), p. 374 (‘Hugo de Groci’).

9 For the identification of Clement's monastery see Page, The Owl and the Nightingale, pp. 171–2, and p. 246 note 3. The evidence in question is obliterated in Rohloff's text by his emendation of Grocheio's ‘Exaquiensem monachum’ (i.e. ‘monk of Lessay’) to ‘[exequiarium] monachum’ (Die Quellenhandschriften, p. 130).

10 See the references to the community of Lessay in the celebrated Register of Odon Rigaud, conveniently accessible in Brown, S. M., trans., The Register of Eudes of Rouen (New York and London, 1964), p. 100 (visitation of 1250, thirty-six monks), p. 277 (visitation of 1256, thirty-four monks) and p. 634 (visitation of 1266, thirty-one monks).

11 Glorieux, P., La faculte des arts et ses maitres au Xllle siecle, Etudes de philosophie medievale, 59 (Paris, 1971), sv. Jean de Grouchy.

12 So both MSS. Rohloff: Parisiis

13 This passage has been much discussed; see Van der Werf, H., ‘The “Not-So-Precisely Measured” Music of the Middle Ages’, Performance Practice Review, 1 (1988), 4260, and Stevens, J., Words and Music in the Middle Ages: Song, Narrative, Dance and Drama 1050–1350 (Cambridge, 1986), p. 433et passim..

14 The term ‘canon’ music (musica canonica) balances ‘civil’ music (musica civilis), both terms to be understood as in ‘canon’ and ‘civil’ law, i.e. as relating to the clergy and to the laity respectively. It is unfortunate that Seay's translation ‘composed or regular music by rule’ for Grocheio's musica composita vel regulari vel canonica misses this distinction (Concerning Music, p. 12).

15 So both MSS. Rohloff: illium

16 So both MSS. Rohloff: illium

17 The passage might also be rendered ‘in order to produce a notated record of the consonances of stantipedes and of ductiae‘, which narrows the range of purposes for which musica ficta was devised in what is perhaps an unacceptable way, and which also, given the meaning Grocheio attaches to consonantia, implies polyphonic stantipedes and ductiae, which seems out of the question in this discussion of monophonic music. On the meaning of the term ‘consonantia’ in Grocheio's usage see the following note, and for Grocheio's description of the stantipes and ductia see below.

18 ‘bona concordantia vel consonantia’. Grocheio distinguishes (p. 144) between concordantia, when one musical sound relates in a harmonious way to another (concordantia therefore relates to line), and consonantia, when two or more notes sound simultaneously (consonantia therefore relates to harmony). Compare DeWitt, A New Perspective, pp. 76f.

19 So MS H; MS D: exaquiansem. Rohloff: [exequiarium].

20 There can be no fully satisfactory translation of Grocheio's vulgare, here rendered ‘of the lay public'. It appears to denote all the laity, from working people to royalty. Seay's translation ‘vulgar music’ (Concerning Music, p. 12) is somewhat unsatisfactory – if etymologically justifiable – given the modern associations of the word ‘vulgar’. Compare DeWitt, A New Perspective, pp. 122f (an excellent discussion), Stevens, Words and Music, p. 431, and Page, Discarding Images, Chapter 3, passim.

21 The words ‘quas magis particulavimus in sermone ad Clementem Exaquiensem monachum’ are consistent with the view that Grocheio discussed these matters with Clement, but it may rather imply a letter or treatise, now lost. The translation offered here (‘which I have detailed further in a discourse to Clement, a monk of Lessay’ is designed to accommodate both possibilities which are not, of course, mutually exclusive.

22 Perhaps modelled upon the Old French terms chanson and chansonette. Grocheio's classification of musical forms has been much discussed and paraphrased; see, for example, DeWitt, A New Perspective, passim; Gallo, F. A., Music of the Middle Ages II (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 1013; C. Page, Voices and Instruments, pp. 196–201; Stevens, Words and Music, pp. 491–5; Stockmann, ‘Musica Vulgaris’; Wagenaar-Nolthenius, H., ‘Estampie/Stantipes/Stampita’, in L'Ars Nova Italiana del Trecento: 2nd Congress (Certaldo, 1969), pp. 399409. A vital essay for the study of French song in Grocheio's lifetime is now Earp, L., ‘Lyrics for Reading and Singing in Late Medieval France: The Development of the Dance Lyric from Adam de la Halle to Guillaume de Machaut’, in Baltzer, R. A. et al. , eds., The Union of Words and Music in Medieval Poetry (Austin, 1991), pp. 101–31.

23 The ‘ancient fathers’ are probably not the Fathers of the Church, despite the ubiquity of Vitae patrum collections in the Middle Ages; no chansons de geste dealing with the lives of Fathers of the Church have survived. Grocheio probably means the ancient fathers of France – such as Charlemagne – whose wars and struggles brought the realm of France into being. See Page, The Owl and the Nightingale, pp. 30–33, and idem, ’Le troisième accord pour vièle de Jérôme de Moravie: Jongleurs et “anciens peres de France”’, in Meyer, C., ed., Jérôme de Moravie: un théoricien de la musique dans le milieu intellectuel parisien du XIII siècle (Paris, 1992), pp. 8396.

24 ‘should be laid on’ translates debet ministrari; Grocheio sometimes chooses verbs which imply the politic provision of music for the mitigation of laymen's vices.

25 It remains uncertain whether civitas should be translated ‘city’ here or taken in the broader sense ‘State’. The former conveys Grocheio's interest in the music of a single city, Paris. However, when Grocheio speaks of the way music instils virtue and obedience his conception of the civitas is perhaps more expansive. See Luscombe, D., ‘City and Politics Before the Coming of the Politics: Some Illustrations’, in Abulafia, D., Franklin, M. and Rubin, M., eds., Church and City 1000–1500: Essays in Honour of Christopher Brooke (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 4155.

26 The word bonitas demands a translation in excess of mere ‘excellence’, especially in the context of this imagery of crowning. Grocheio is presumably trying to convey a deeper virtue in the cantus coronatus, arising from the lofty subject-matter of the poetry, the excellence of its music and the high status of its composers. Grocheio's description of the cantus coronatus has been much discussed; for recent accounts see Stevens, Words and Music, p. 431, idem, ‘Medieval Song’ in Hiley, D. and Crocker, R., eds., The Early Middle Ages to 1300, New Oxford History of Music II, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1990), p. 392, and Page, Voices and Instruments, pp. 196–201.

27 A difficult passage; the sense of ‘circa sonos’ is not clear. Seay (Concerning Music, p. 16) takes it to refer to instrumental accompaniment, as does Rohloff, Die Quellenhandschriften, p. 131, but that seems strained. The matter is amply discussed in DeWitt, A New Perspective, pp. 133–4. The interpretation offered here is much the same as that of Stevens (Words and Music, p. 431). For a very different interpretation see Warren, C., ‘Punctus organi and cantus coronatus in the Music of Dufay’, in Atlas, A., ed., Dufay Quincentenary Conference (Brooklyn, 1976), pp. 128–43.

28 In this passage Grocheio seems determined to present a traditionalist and (by the later thirteenth century) a somewhat archaic image of trouvère monody in the High Style as an aristocratic art, rather than the increasingly urban, mercantile art that it had become with the expansion of the puis. In part, Grocheio's comment reflects the prominence of Thibaut, King of Navarre (d. 1253) in the later thirteenth-century conception of the trouvères’ art. Ausi com l'unicorne, which Grocheio cites, is one of his chansons. In the Chansonnier de l'Arsenal Thibaut's songs are presented first, preceded by an illumination which shows a fiddler performing before a seated king and queen as courtiers stand nearby. This exactly matches Grocheio's remark that such songs should be performed ‘in the presence of kings and princes of the land’. The Chansonnier de l'Arsenal continues (again, as some other sources do), to present the works of trouvères whose noble or aristocratic status was well known or assumed, such as Gace Brulé.

29 The idiomatic translation is required to capture the quality of emphasis in the second conjunction: ‘et ex omnibus longis et perfectis efficitur’. For discussions of this passage see Knapp, J., ‘Musical Declamation and Poetic Rhythm in an Early Layer of Notre Dame Conductus’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 32 (1979), pp. 406–7, and Stevens, Words and Music, pp. 431–2, with bibliography there cited.

30 On the distinction between the cantus coronatus and the cantus versualis see Stevens, ‘Medieval Song’, pp. 412 and 420, and Page, Voices and Instruments, pp. 199–200.

31 Epistulae Morales, XXXI.

32 As it is a distinguishing feature of cantilene that they begin and end with a refrain it would appear that some musicians called them all rotunda or rotundellus, since this term denoted the rondeau (see next note), beginning and ending with a refrain.

33 Indicating that Grocheio's rotunda or rotundellus is a rondeau, no doubt of standard fourteenth-century structure, already cultivated at this date by his Parisian contemporary Jean de l'Escurel.

34 On this reference to Grocheio's homeland see above.

35 ‘dwell upon this [kind of cantilena]’ renders Grocheio's idiom circa hanc stare, an etymologizing phrase (compare stare, present participle stans, accusative stantem, and stantipes). Grocheio employs this idiom again in his later remarks about the stantipes.

36 So both MSS. Rohloff: amor vel ερoσ

37 Seay (Concerning Music, p. 17) translates ‘sung in chorus’, but this is an error; the translation ‘in caroles’ is in accordance with standard usage in thirteenth-century Latin. Grocheio is referring to company dances performed in a ring or in a line. See Stevens, Words and Music, pp. 162–71; Page, Voices and Instruments, pp. 77–84; The Owl and the Nightingale, pp. 110–33.

38 ‘directs the sentiments’ (ducit corda); once again, Grocheio is etymologizing the name of a genre (ductia), or at least assaying a point of Latin style, by establishing the pairing ductia/ducere.

39 Unaccountably, Rohloff abolishes the readings of both manuscripts at this point and emends amor hereos to amor vel eros, breaking into Greek characters for the last word. There is no doubt about the correctness of the MS readings, however, for Grocheio's term amor (h)ereos (or simply (h)ereos) is found in numerous medical textbooks of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Compare Lawn, B., ed., The Prose Salernitan Questions, Auctores Britannici Medii Aevi, V (London, 1979), p. 280: ‘in passione que hereos dicitur’. These questions, by an anonymous English author, date from c. 1200. The phraseology of the passage quoted is very similar to Grocheio's and may therefore stand close to a source consulted by him. Grocheio had certainly read some material by the celebrated physician Galen, whom he mentions (Rohloff, Die Quellenhandschriften, p. 144).

40 So both MSS. Rohloff: entratam

41 ‘Grafted’ translates entatam, which is clearly the reading of both manuscripts. Rohloff s emendation to entratam is not necessary; there is no difficulty in regarding entatam as a Latinized form of the Old French past participle enté (from enter, ‘to graft’), a term whose use in musical contexts during the thirteenth century is well established. See Godefroy, Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue française, sv. enter; Tobler-Lommatzsch, Altfranzösisches Wörterbuch, sv. enter. The term has long been used in modern scholarship to denote motet texts that begin and end with quotations of the music and/or the words of pre-existing songs. Grocheio is presumably referring to a kind of song that begins and ends with a quotation, perhaps both musical and poetic, from a pre-existing song, and therefore to one manifestation of the phenomenon known to literary scholars and musicologists as the refrain. This is consistent with his statement that the cantilena erttata begins and ends in the fashion of a cantilena, that is to say it begins and ends with a refrain or with something that, in registral terms, could be one. The song cited by Grocheio as an example of this form appears not to have survived. There may be little reason to perpetuate the musicological convention of limiting the thirteenth-century term motet enté to denote the texts of motets with refrain insertions split between the beginning and end of a text; as is well known, the meaning of the term motet was quite broad in Old French, and in Old French usage a motet enté may have been any song, whether monophonic or polyphonic, that contained refrain citations.

42 So both MSS. Rohloff: ex pluribus versiculis efficitur. [Versiculi] in eadem.

43 Rendering additamenta and denoting all the material of a refrain form which is not the refrain as fully constituted as both its text and music.

44 Since this passage provides the only surviving description of the way chansons de geste were performed it is alarming that both manuscripts agree in transmitting a text that appears to confuse the crucial terms versus (laisse) and versiculus (line). The confusion has rarely been given its proper weight in discussions of Grocheio's evidence. Compare Stevens, Words and Music, pp. 233, 236 and 241; idem, ‘Medieval Song’, pp. 408–10.

45 Literally ‘in the same consonance of poetry'. Many of the surviving chansons de geste are constructed from assonating laisses. Some later examples, under the influence of romance, are in monorhymed laisses. Grocheio, writing c. 1300, may be thinking of both.

46 Seay's translation (Concerning Music, p. 18) ‘in the chanson de geste which is said to be by Girarde de Viana’ is wide of the mark. Grocheio is referring to the chanson de geste of Girard de Vienne, composed, perhaps between 1205 and 1225, by Bertrand de Bar-sur-Aube. For this identification, with an extract from the text of the epic (which exactly corresponds to Grocheio's description of it), see Page, The Owl and the Nightingale, pp. 72–3.

47 At first sight Grocheio's Latin (‘ex pluribus punctis’) suggests that he is referring to musical phrases, but throughout this section Grocheio's comments seem to relate exclusively to the poetic forms of the genres described. My translation assumes that he is referring to the pointed (i.e. punctuated) constructions of the sense. If Grocheio is using the term ‘versus’ to mean stanza here, then seven seems a large number.

48 This is a difficult passage because Grocheio is using musical terms for aspects of poetic form. It would appear that the verb ‘consono’ (or as a noun, sometimes reinforced as ‘consonantia dictaminis’) denotes rhyming, while ‘concordo’ (sometimes reinforced as ‘concordant in dictamine’) denotes identity of metrical form.

49 Grocheio's point is that the composition of these song forms is analogous to creation in the natural world. He makes this plain by using the terms materia and forma, an ultimately Aristotelian distinction. Cf. De anima, 11:1 ‘Matter is identical with potentiality, form with actuality’. Grocheio is therefore regarding the poems of these musical forms as materia – as matter with the potentiality to become a certain kind of song – while the music is the forma, transforming the raw material into a form by creating the set of musical repeats and changes that define the musical form of the genre in question. See M. Bielitz, Materia und forma bei Johannes de Grocheo’, and DeWitt, A New Perspective, pp. 51f.

50 So both MSS. Rohloff: intendimus [notificare]

51 So MS H (f. 4v). MS D (f. 61 v): soni descriptio

52 These instrument-names cannot all be identified with certainty. Tube will be trumpets, while fistula may denote flutes and/or duct flutes. Calami presumably denotes wind instruments with reeds. Organa may safely be interpreted as organs. Tympana are probably frame drums of various kinds, while cymbala may be identified with cymbals or small bells (but perhaps not with rows of chime bells). There seems no reason to doubt that campana are large, tower bells or other signalling bells.

53 The reference is to Aristotle's De anima, II:8, or possibly to a commentary upon it, perhaps by Grocheio himself.

54 Psalterium may be safely associated with psalteries, generally of pig-snout shape in Grocheio's time and strung with metallic materials. Cithara is generally (but by no means exclusively) associated with forms of the Germanic word harp(e) in medieval word lists and translations, generally denoting a pillar harp c. 1300. The lyra may possibly be the lute, while the quitarra sarracenica is perhaps to be associated with either the gittern or the citole, although this is very uncertain. The viella is undoubtedly the fiddle. For the evidence on which these identifications are based see Bee, P., Vieles ou Violes (Paris, 1992), passim; Page, Voices and Instruments, pp. 139–50; Wright, L., ‘The Medieval Gittern and Citole: A Case of Mistaken Identity’, Galpin Society Journal, 30 (1977), 842 and Young, C., ‘Zur Klassifikation und ikonographischen Interpretation mittelalterlicher Zupfinstrumente’, Basler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis, 8 (1984), 67103.

55 Or possibly, following the reading of MS D, ‘a better account’.

56 The concept of an instrument which includes the scope of all others within itself is a familiar one in medieval music theory; compare John ‘of Affligem’ on the musa which, he says, omnium [instrumentorum] vim atque modum in se continet (van Waesberghe, J.Smits, ed., Johannis…De Musica, Corpus Scriptorum de Musica 1 (American Institute of Musicology, 1950), p. 54). Grocheio's comments upon the viella, however, reveal a higher level of abstraction than those of Johannes two centuries earlier and reflect Grocheio's reading of Aristotle's De anima, II:3 ‘The types of soul resemble the series of figures. For, both in figures and in things animate, the earlier form exists potentially in the later, as, for instance, the triangle exists potentially in the quadrilateral and the nutritive soul exists potentially in the sensate soul’. The intellective soul is the highest function of the soul, standing above sensate soul (characterized by sense perception, more or less complex depending upon the species of creature at issue), and nutritive soul (characterized by the basic functions of nutrition and reproduction). This analogy between the status of the viella and intellective soul therefore implies the highest possible standing for the viella as an instrument that can encompass what every other instrument can do but which adds qualities that Grocheio compares to the distinctively human faculties of intellection and abstraction. In the context of thirteenth-century theology – much preoccupied with the nature of the soul – this analogy is less strained than it may now appear.

57 On the distinction between hastiludes and tournaments, which is often difficult to establish, see Vale, J., Edward III and Chivalry (Woodbridge, 1982), pp. 57ff.

58 Grocheio thus signals his intention to speak only of viella repertory. It remains unknown whether other instruments performed the musical forms he now goes on to describe, or whether other instruments were associated with specific repertoire in the same way as the viella.

59 The construction is bonus artifex in viella…formam introducit, which might be translated ‘a good player creates forma upon the viella…’. This seems a rather cumbersome and gratuitously cerebral way for Grocheio to express his meaning, but the sense seems clear none the less. The verb introduco here has nothing to do with the performance of ‘introductory’ preludes upon the fiddle; introduco + accusative + in + ablative is Grocheio's idiom for referring to the creation of forma in its Aristotelian sense of actual, accomplished form rather than mere raw material (materia). For a parallel passage in Grocheio's treatise compare Rohloff, Die Quellenhandschriften, p. 114. Grocheio's point is that with the viella a good player can play every cantus and cantilena and can shape every kind of achieved musical design. For contrasting proposals about the interpretation of Grocheio's evidence see Brown, H. M., ‘Instruments’, in Brown, H. M. and Sadie, S., eds., Performance Practice, 2 vols. (London, 1989), 1, pp. 1823; D.Fallows, ‘Secular Polyphony in the Fifteenth Century’, ibid, p. 206; Gushee, L., ‘Two Central Places: Paris and the French Court in the Early Fourteenth Century’, in Bericht über den International Musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Berlin 1974, ed. Kuhn, H. and Nitsche, P. (Kassel, etc., 1980), p. 143.

60 The appropriate translation for ‘ludi’ is not easy to establish; it may encompass tournaments.

61 ‘correct beat’ renders recta percussione. The noun ictus is not a common one in either the plainchant theory or the polyphonic theory of the Middle Ages, but its appearance in this context can be explained in terms of the choreography of caroles. There is abundant evidence that caroles were sometimes danced with clapping of the hands and stamping of the feet; Grocheio is here presenting such accentuation as a characteristic feature of melodies designed for the carole. See Page, The Owl and the Nightingale, p. 115.

62 There is no adequate English equivalent of Grocheio's puncta, denoting a complex musical phrase capable of forming one unit of an estampie and of bearing an open or closed ending.

63 On the etymologizing explanation circa eam stare see above. For commentary upon this passage see Hibberd, L, ‘Estampie and Stantipes’, Speculum, 19 (1944), 222–49; Vellekoop, K., ‘Die Estampie: ihre Besetzung und Funktion‘, Busier Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis, 8 (1983), 5165, and Wagenaar-Nolthenius, H., ‘Estampie/Stantipes/Stampita’, in L'Ars Nova Italiana del Trecento: 2nd Congress (Certaldo, 1969), pp. 399–09.

64 It remains uncertain whether this is a reference to a ductia called Pierron or by Pierron. It may be both.

65 There is a severe textual difficulty in the last sentence of the Latin. The manuscripts are unanimous in their readings for the whole sentence, save that only MS H has the sunt, added by a later hand and placed here in square brackets. Rohloff emends the received text in two places, reading ‘Huiusmodi autem stantipedes sunt res cum septem concordantiis, ut difficiles res Tassini’ (my italics). It is not certain that these emendations are required; ‘res cum septem cordis’ is presumably the title of an estampie (or if res is construed as a plural, as a series of estampies), analogous to ‘res Tassini’.

66 So both MSS. Rohloff: determinatur

67 ‘constructed’ renders Grocheio's composita, which cannot mean simply ‘composed’ because this would not distinguish polyphony from monophonic forms. The key sense here is surely that of ‘assembled, put together’, having reference to the scrupulous calibration of polyphonic parts in terms of intervals and duration.

68 On this passage see Sachs, K.-J., ‘Die Contrapunctus-Lehre im 14. und 15. Jh.’, in Die Mittelalterliche Lehre von der Mehrstimmigkeit, ed. Eggebrecht, H. H. (Darmstadt, 1984), pp. 161256, especially pp. 169–70.

69 ‘in a threefold way’, rendering ex tribus, a reference to the perfection; cf. Rohloff, , Die Quellenhandschriften, p. 140: ‘Est enim perfectio mensura ex tribus temporibus constans....Ista autem mensura moderni utuntur et hac totum summ cantum et cantando et figurando mensuranf’.

70 So both MSS. Rohloff: animadvertunt

71 This passage has given rise to much misunderstanding. Seay's translation ‘the vulgar’ (Concerning Music, p. 26) has been highly influential but is most ill-judged, since Grocheio is contrasting the laity with the clergy at this point. See the next note and, for a full discussion of this point, Page, Discarding Images, Chapter 3, passim, and compare Stevens, Words and Music, p. 431 and note 50.

72 Grocheio's term litterati has been translated in many ways by modern scholars (‘the literati’, ‘men of letters’, ‘exclusive social circles’); see, for example, DeWitt, A New Perspective, p. 177. Virtually all of these authors seek to convey what they take to have been the elite audience for the motet; there can be little doubt that Grocheio is using the word litterati in its traditional sense of ‘the clergy’.

73 Grocheio is alluding to his own phraseology at this point. See his account of the rotundellus above.

74 Rohloff: [in] ecclesiis

75 For the use of determmare to indicate definition according to (plainchant) mode see Grocheio's remarks in the first Latin passage given above (Rohloff, Die Quellenhandschnften, p. 124).

76 The phrase ‘holy places’ is often used in medieval Latin to denote the immediate environs of any ecclesiastical building. Grocheio may be referring to the use of organum in processions.

77 Grocheio is presumably judging conductus to be an appropriate name for a genre performed where the learned and powerful are gathered together because conductus can be etymologized as ‘brought or drawn together’. See Gillingham, B., ‘A New Etiology and Etymology for the Conductus’, Musical Quarterly, 75 (1991), 5973, especially pp. 61–2.

78 Compare Walther, Sprichwörter, 7418,11012,15304 etc.

79 Rohloff: proportione [in] qua incipit

80 Rohloff: vel [in] diapason ascendit

81 So both MSS. Rohloff: Echo montis

82 So both MSS. Rohloff: motetum

83 So both MSS. Rohloff: ordinatim

84 Grocheio's phraseology seems designed to exclude the possibility of four-part hockets. For an account of a four-part hocket see Jeffery, P., ‘A Four-Part In seculum Hocket and a Mensural Sequence in an Unknown Fragment’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 37 (1984), 118.

85 So both MSS. Rohloff: hoquetis est [cantus]

86 So both MSS. Rohloff: Duplum vero est [cantus]

87 So both MSS. Rohloff: qui [supra] tenorem

88 So both MSS. Rohloff: totaliter [de novo] fit

89 This passage, a difficult one, presumably means that when a melody is split up between different voices to make a hocket, it can be ornamented and added to in various ways, unless it is important for some reason that the hocketed version of the melody should last exactly the same amount of time as the original.

90 Rohloff's emendation of regularum (in both MSS) to tegularum (‘of tiles’) can surely be accepted and is accordingly followed here.

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Johannes de Grocheio on secular music: a corrected text and a new translation

  • Christopher Page


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