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Writing Sounds in Carolingian Europe
The Invention of Musical Notation

$96.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology

  • Date Published: December 2018
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108383707

$ 96.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • Musical notation has not always existed: in the West, musical traditions have often depended on transmission from mouth to ear, and ear to mouth. Although the Ancient Greeks had a form of musical notation, it was not passed on to the medieval Latin West. This comprehensive study investigates the breadth of use of musical notation in Carolingian Europe, including many examples previously unknown in studies of notation, to deliver a crucial foundational model for the understanding of later Western notations. An overview of the study of neumatic notations from the French monastic scholar Dom Jean Mabillon (1632–1707) up to the present day precedes an examination of the function and potential of writing in support of a musical practice which continued to depend on trained memory. Later chapters examine passages of notation to reveal those ways in which scripts were shaped by contemporary rationalizations of musical sound. Finally, the new scripts are situated in the cultural and social contexts in which they emerged.

    • Comprehensive study of the first appearances of musical notation, in early medieval Europe, much earlier than scholars had previously understood
    • Delivers a crucial foundational model for understanding later Western musical notation
    • Provides a close examination of both passages of notation and individual neumes to explore how Carolingian scripts were shaped by contemporary rationalizations of musical sound
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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2018
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108383707
    • contains: 42 b/w illus. 14 tables 75 music examples
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Musical Literacy:
    1. Writing music
    2. Palaeographical study of neumatic notations (from 1681 to the present)
    3. Music notations 800-900: the evidence
    Part II. Music Scripts:
    4. Graphic techniques and strategies
    5. Frankish scripts
    6. Lotharingian and Breton scripts
    7. Palaeofrankish script
    8. Music scripts: conclusions
    Part III. Writing Sound:
    9. Signs and meaning
    10. Writing music: accents
    11. The Carolingian invention of music writing.

  • Author

    Susan Rankin, University of Cambridge
    Susan Rankin is Professor of Medieval Music at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of Emmanuel College and a Fellow of the British Academy. Professor Rankin's published works include The Music of the Medieval Liturgical Drama in France and England, 2 vols (1989), and Music in the Medieval English Liturgy: Plainsong and Mediæval Music Society Centennial Essays (1992), co-edited with David Hilley. She has also edited The Winchester Troper: Introduction and Facsimile, Early English Church Music 50 (2007), and with Wulf Arlt, Stiftsbibliothek Sankt Gallen Codices 484 and 381, 3 vols (1996). Professor Rankin has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on medieval music, its manuscripts and notations, and on ritual.

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