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

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

2 Overview of Presentation I. General View of Music in Ancient Greek and Medieval Thought II. Liturgy: Divine Office and Mass III. 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 Grammar Logic Rhetoric Quadrivium 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

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, 10 th century)

14 Gregorian Chant 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.

16 Liturgical Books 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) Liturgical Calendar divided: Temporale Feasts determined by events in Christs life; ferias (ordinary days) Saints feasts between December 24 and January 13 Sanctorale Celebration of Saints Feast Days between January 14- December 23

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. Martins Press, 1982

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

20 Clare sanctorum senatus apostolorum

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

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

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

24 Other Mss. – Theory, Miscellany

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

26 Guido DArezzo – 11 th century Theorist


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



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