Revisiting the Music of Medieval France: From Gallican Chant to Dufay, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Revisiting the Music of Medieval France

From Gallican Chant to Dufay, 1st Edition

By Manuel Pedro Ferreira


304 pages

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Hardback: 9781409436812
pub: 2012-10-22
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This book presents together a number of path-breaking essays on different aspects of medieval music in France written by Manuel Pedro Ferreira, who is well known for his work on the medieval cantigas and Iberian liturgical sources. The first essay is a tour-de-force of detective work: an odd E-flat in two 16th-century antiphoners leads to the identification of a Gregorian responsory as a Gallican version of a seventh-century Hispanic melody. The second rediscovers a long-forgotten hypothesis concerning the microtonal character of some French 11th-century neumes. In the paper "Is it polyphony?" an even riskier hypothesis is arrived at: Do the origins of Aquitanian free organum lie on the instrumental accompaniment of newly composed devotional versus? The Cistercian attitude towards polyphonic singing, mirrored in musical sources kept in peripheral nunneries, is the subject of the following essay. The intellectual and sociological nature of the Parisian motet is the central concern of the following two essays, which, after a survey of concepts of temporality in the trouvère and polyphonic repertories, establish it as the conceptual foundation of subsequent European schools of composition. It is possible then to assess the real originality of Philippe de Vitry and his Ars nova, which is dealt with in the following chapter. A century later, the role of Guillaume Dufay in establishing a chord-based alternative to contrapuntal writing is laboriously put into evidence. Finally, an informative synthesis is offered concerning the mathematical underpinnings of musical composition in the Middle Ages.


'… this is all readable, challenging material, hard to find otherwise.' Early Music Review

Table of Contents

Contents: The lamentation of Asterix: conclusit vias meas inimicus; The Cluny Gradual: its notation and melodic character; Is it polyphony?; New light on St Bernard's chant reform: Guido of Eu and the earliest Cistercian choirbooks; Early Cistercian polyphony: a newly-discovered source; Mesure et temporalité: vers l'ars nova; L'identité di motet parisien; Compositional calculation in Philippe de Vitry; Dufay in analysis, or - who invented the triad?; Proportions in ancient and medieval music; Indexes.

About the Author

Manuel Pedro Ferreira, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
MUSIC / Religious / General