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Introduction to Western European Music and Music Manuscripts

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1 Introduction to Western European Music and Music Manuscripts
A Presentation by K. Christian McGuire

2 Overview of Presentation
General View of Music in Ancient Greek and Medieval Thought Liturgy: Divine Office and Mass Examples: Liturgy, Theory, Miscellany

3 Common views on music Not academic – music for the sake of music.
Frivolous – valued only as entertainment suitable for: Concert Halls Pop concerts iPod sales Major chords are “happy”; minor chords are “sad” These prejudices obscure our understanding of music in ancient and medieval cultures

4 Getting Medieval on Music
Clear your mind of everything you know and appreciate about music. Western Music since 1600 is structured around the polarity between 2 voices: Soprano (melody = i.e. the “tune”) Bass (harmonic foundation) Unique development in Western culture: some examples: Scarlatti, JS Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Faure, S. Joplin, R. Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Quincy Jones, Bob Dylan, Beatles, Queen, Prince, Iron Maiden, etc…

5 Aspects of Greek musical thought
Pythagoreans quality of music judged by mathematical measure. Harmony of the Spheres – Pythagoras could hear the motion of the heavens. Pythagoras cured a frenzied boy by singing an appropriately soothing melody. Aristoxenus – quality of music judged by the ear. Plato Doctrine of Ethos: Music affects character Boys should be taught strong and simple music, not frivolous effeminate music.

6 Music as Liberal Art Trivium Quadrivium Grammar Logic Rhetoric
Arithmetic – study of number Geometry – study of number in space Music (or Harmony) – study of number through time Astronomy – study of number in time & space

7 Boethius (ca.480 – 526 CE) “…of the four mathematical disciplines, the others are concerned with the pursuit of truth, but music is related not only to speculation but to morality as well.” “The Pythagoreans used to free themselves from the cares of the day by certain melodies…knowing that the whole structure of soul and body is united by musical harmony Book I De Institutione Musica. Trans. William Strunk, Jr. and Oliver Strunk.

8 Cassiodorus (490 – 583 CE) “Music is closely bound up with religion itself. Witness the decachord of the Ten Commandments (Ps. 32:2) the tinkling of cithara and tympanum, the melody of the organ, the sound of cymbals. The very Psalter is without doubt named after a musical instrument because the exceedingly sweet and pleasing melody of the celestial virtues is contained within it.” Institutiones divinarum et saecularium litterarum. De Musica. Trans. William Strunk, Jr. and Oliver Strunk. Munchen 2599, f. 106

9 Useful Terms in Describing Plainchant
Monophonic – one melodic line Syllabic (1 note per syllable of text) Melismatic (many notes per syllable) Neumatic (somewhere in between) Through Composed vs Strophic/Formal Modal 8 diatonic musical modes Importance of memory – Through Composed vs. Strophic – which is a better conduit for prayer?

10 Importance of Plainchant to History
Development of Western musical notation Cultural basis of shared musical knowledge Catholic music and composers: Machaut, Mozart, Berlioz Becomes foundation for first polyphonic musical genres (i.e. music is built around the voice (the Tenor) with “holds” the fragment of chant melody.

11 Early Liturgical Practice to 6th century
Psalmody Helena mother of Constantine encouraged worship in Jerusalem. Late 4th c. Egeria mentions the singing of antiphons, hymns and psalms during her pilgrimage to Jerusalem Newly composed hymns Ambrose of Milan Few fragments including Oxyrhynchus Papyrus Chants and continued to develop orally throughout Christendom commemorating regional Saints and liturgies

12 Early Developments in Chant by 900 CE
Two main branches of Chant Byzantine* Western Gallican Old Italian Ambrosian (Milanese) Old Roman Beneventan Old Spanish (Mozarabic) Chant Melodies still transmitted orally by memory

13 Gregorian Chant – Traditional History
Named for Pope Gregory I ( ) who was inspired by the Holy Spirit (in the form of a dove) and dictated chant. Antiphonary of Hartker of Sankt-Gallen (Cod. Sang. 390, 13r, 10th century)

14 Gregorian Chant 752 - Pepin the short begins policy of replacing Gallican Chant with Roman Chant after visit by Pope Stephen II. – Charlemagne continues this policy, instituting “Gregorian” chant throughout the empire. Melodic differences in the few extant sources of Old Roman and Gregorian chant suggest that the Franks may have only borrowed the texts but retained Gallican melodies.

15 Rule of St. Benedict (535 CE)
Divine Office Matins Lauds Little Hours Prime Terce Sext Nones Vespers Compline Matins – most musically elaborate All 150 Psalms chanted each week along with antiphons, responsories, hymns. Approximately one quarter of the day is spent chanting in prayer. All 150 Psalms were chanted throughout the week.

16 Liturgical Books Liturgical Calendar divided: Breviary Temporale
Feasts determined by events in Christ’s life; ferias (ordinary days) Saints’ feasts between December 24 and January 13 Sanctorale Celebration of Saints’ Feast Days between January 14-December 23 Breviary Antiphoner (Antiphons and Responsories) Psalter Hymnal Collectar (office prayers) Homilary, lectionary, passionary (office lessons) Missals Gradual (chants of the mass) Sacramentary (prayers) Epistolary and evangeliary (lessons of the mass)

17 Common Types of Chant Divine Office Psalms Antiphons Responsories
Hymns Mass Chants Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei Graduals Alleluias Sequences Sung after the Alleluia, all but 4 sequences were banned during the Council of Trent.

18 Notation - neumes Richard Rastall, The Notation of Western Music. St. Martin’s Press, 1982

19 Clare sanctorum senatus apostolorum
London, British Library, Add , fol 16v Hiley. Western Plainchant. OUP, 1995

20 Clare sanctorum senatus apostolorum

21 Clare sanctorum senatus apostolorum
(top) London, British Library, Add , fol 16v – mid 10th century, German neumes (bottom) London, British Library, printed book IB fos. 113v-114r Hiley. Western Plainchant. OUP, 1995

22 Cistercian Tonary (Ms.1412) late 12th cent

23 Nota Quadrata – 13th century on…
Dixon Gradual, Latrobe University

24 Other Mss. – Theory, Miscellany

25 Hucbald – 9th century theorist
Hiley. Western Plainchant. OUP, 1995

26 Guido D’Arezzo – 11th century Theorist


28 Hildegard von Bingen – Kyrie (late 12th c)



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