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1 - Robert Granjon and Music during the Golden Age of Typography

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2014

Kate van Orden
Affiliation:
Harvard University
Craig A. Monson
Affiliation:
Professor of Musicology at Washington University (St Louis, Missouri)
Roberta Montemorra Marvin
Affiliation:
Teaches music at the University of Iowa
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Summary

When compared to the broader history of printing, the history of music printing—late-blooming and faced with unique challenges—is strikingly disjunct, particularly in its early stages. The first books of polyphonic music issued from the presses of Ottaviano Petrucci almost fifty years after Gutenberg printed his forty-two-line Bible in 1455. If we take speed and the use of move-able type as indicators of the so-called Gutenberg Revolution, then music printing lagged even further behind: Petrucci relied on a double- and even triple-impression method that required running each sheet through the press at least twice, once for the metal staff lines and a second time for a forme set with metal type for letters and notes and woodblocks for large initial letters. The first examples of single-impression music printing from moveable type did not appear until around 1528; whether the first was from the presses of John Rastell in London or from Pierre Attaingnant in Paris is not known, but either way, the date was a full seventy years after Gutenberg. In fact, Petrucci's main competitor in the first decades of the sixteenth century, Andrea Antico, avoided music type entirely and printed from woodcuts, which only shows how resistant polyphony was to the technological formulas that accelerated the production of alphabetic texts.

Type
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Information
Music in Print and Beyond
Hildegard von Bingen to The Beatles
, pp. 11 - 35
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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