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Article

F. Alberto Gallo

[Petrus Aponensis ]

(b ?Abano, nr Padua, 1257; d Padua, 1315). Italian philosopher and doctor . He studied at Padua and spent some time at Paris; later he became a professor at Padua University. Music is discussed in two of his works, the Conciliator differentiarum philosophorum et precipue medicorum (Venice, 1476) and the Expositio Problematum Aristotelis (Mantua, 1475). They contain the traditional notion of music as a discipline of the Quadrivium, but also interesting references to musical practice. Rhythm is related to pulse beats, and mention is made of the instruments rubeba and viella, the forms of the muteti and rote, and the practice of ‘bordonizare’.

L. Thorndike: A History of Magic and Experimental Science, 2 (New York, 1923), 917ff F. Alessio: ‘Filosofia e scienza: Pietro da Abano’, ed. G. Folena Storia della cultura veneta, 2 (Vicenza, 1976), 171–206 F.A. Gallo: ‘La trattatistica musicale’, Storia della cultura veneta, 2 (Vicenza, 1976), 469–76...

Article

[Petrus Abailardus]

(b Le Pallet, nr Nantes, 1079; d Saint-Marcel, nr Chalon-sur-Saône, April 21, 1142). French philosopher, poet and musician of Breton origin. After studying philosophy in Paris, he taught dialectic at the cathedral school. His love affair with Heloise, the young niece of Canon Fulbert, brought him fame as a musician. However, after they had secretly married in 1118 Fulbert had Abelard castrated. Heloise became a nun and he became a monk at St Denis. His highly original scholastic method and his restless and blunt nature aroused opposition to his teaching; principal among his opponents was Bernard of Clairvaux. After condemnation by the Council of Sens in 1140, Abelard found support from Peter the Venerable, Benedictine Abbot of Cluny.

Abelard’s songs are few beside his numerous theological and philosophical writings. Heloise’s testimony suggests that his love songs must have been important from both a literary and a musical point of view. In a later letter (probably revised by Abelard) she declared that he had ‘the gift of poetry and the gift of song’; he ‘composed quite a number of metrical and rhythmic love songs. The great charm and sweetness in language and music, and a soft attractiveness of the melody obliged even the unlettered’. These songs, presumably in Latin, have all been lost: they have not been identified among the anonymous repertory....

Article

Jonathan Katz

(fl c1000). Indian philosopher, mystic and scholar. He was born to a Brahman family probably of Srinagar, Kashmir, and continued in their Śaiva Hindu religious tradition, being trained in grammar and philosophy by his father; but he also studied more widely with Hindu, Buddhist and Jain teachers. He lived a life of renunciation as a scholar and religious devotee and never married. His hugely prolific scholarly and literary output in Sanskrit included approximately 50 works which may be crudely grouped into the areas of religious exegesis, philosophical analysis and commentary, and aesthetics. For the historian of music his most important contribution is the monumental commentary Abhinavabhāratī; this became the most celebrated of all commentaries on the Nāṯyaśāstra of Bharata and attests a flowering of interest in aesthetics and the arts in medieval Kashmir. Manuscript evidence has hitherto been insufficient for a full critical edition and reliable translation of the work, and there remain many obscurities in the existing text. Abhinavagupta showed considerable knowledge of the practice of his own time, and it is not always easy to assess the validity of his judgments of earlier music. He argued a distinction between the religious ...

Article

Charles Burnett

(bc1080; dc1150). Music theorist active in England. He studied in Tours, probably taught in Laon, travelled in Sicily, southern Italy and the Crusader states, but apparently spent much of his life in the south-west of England. He translated Arabic scientific texts into Latin and wrote original works of considerable literary merit, perhaps in his role as a tutor in an episcopal or royal court: one such text was addressed to the future King Henry II. Adelard dealt with music as an integral part of the Quadrivium. In the De eodem et diverso he mentioned studying music with a master (unnamed) in Tours; he himself played the kithara there in the presence of a queen. Speaking of the powers of music and giving examples from his own experience, he maintained that the soul, before entering the body, has already drunk in the celestial harmonies. In his Questiones naturales...

Article

Cecil Adkins

(d 1024). North Netherlandish ecclesiastic and treatise writer. He was Bishop of Utrecht under Emperor Henry II. The proximity of two short treatises on the division of the monochord to Adelboldus’s treatise on geometry, De crassitudine sphaerae, in a 12th-century manuscript from Tegernsee ( D-Mbs Clm.18914) prompted Gerbert to attribute them to Adelboldus in his ...

Article

Andrew Hughes

(b c1250; d 1331). Austrian theorist. A Benedictine monk of Admont, he studied at Prague (1271–4) and then at Padua (at the university and the Dominican school of theology). After 1285 he probably became Abbot of St Peter’s, Salzburg, and from 1297 to 1327 he was Abbot of Admont. His De musica (ed. in Enrstbrunner: Der Musiktraktat) was obviously written to improve the musical knowledge of liturgical singers and their teachers. It draws on a collection of well-known treatises (including works by Guido of Arezzo, Boethius and Isidor), surveying traditional music theory and terminology and explaining it in terms influenced by Aristotelian thought; yet, despite its didactic purpose, there is a strange discrepancy between the simple explanations of basics and the high level of presupposed philosophical knowledge.

Englebert divided De musica into a theoretical part (parts I and II) and a part concerned ‘more with the practice’ of music (parts III and IV). Part I presents definitions of music and sound, and the various nomenclatures used by earlier authors; part II explains the proportions of intervals and their species in relation to the diatonic context. Part III is concerned with ‘ars solfandi’, describing the solmization system in detail and prepairing, in its explanation of the tetrachord system of the Reichenau theorists, the doctrine of the eight ‘toni musici’. Part IV, the main subject of which is plainchant, contains chapters conveying general concepts and the musical thinking of Englebert, for example the application of the Aristotelian terms ‘motus naturalis’ and ‘motus violentus’ to music. The work culminates with the last six chapters, his teaching on the ‘distinctiones’ in plainchant, in which he explains the necessity of structure in music and of singing with the natural requirements of perception....

Article

Andrew Hughes

revised by Randall Rosenfeld

[Ailred, Ethelred]

(b ? Hexham, c1110; d York, 1167). English saint, theologian and historian. He was brought up in the household of David I of Scotland, and later became an officer (dapifer) there. He was professed a monk of the Cistercian house at Rievaulx in Yorkshire (1134); he became abbot of Revesby (1143), but later returned to Rievaulx as abbot (c1147). Early in his career he gained the respect and support of Bernard of Clairvaux. Music forms only a small part of his writings: the De abusu musice attributed to him by Vander Straeten (Grove3; GerbertS, i, 26) cannot be identified as his, but chapter xxiii of the second book of the Speculum caritatis, a work inspired by St Bernard, deals with the same topic. He questioned the use of organs and bells in church, unfavourably comparing the noise of the former to the human voice. His chief complaint, however, was against the use of a virtuoso, and indeed histrionic, performance style: ‘Why that contraction and effeminacy of the voice? … Now the voice is reduced, then it is broken, at one time it is forced, at another it is enlarged with a more expansive sound. … At times the entire body is agitated with gestures worthy of actors; the lips twist, the eyes roll, the shoulders play, the fingers move in response to every note’. He was a proponent of stylistic moderation in the performance of chant. Some of his words have been understood as descriptions of part-singing and hocket: ‘One voice joins us, another drops out, another voice enters higher, and yet another divides and cuts short certain intervening notes …. At times you might see a man with an open mouth, as if expiring with suffocated breath, not singing, and with a certain laughable hindering of the voice as if menacing silence’. Some of Aelred's statements resemble those of his contemporary John of Salisbury, and may provide some evidence of the cultivation and performance of complex polyphony in 12th-century England or on the Continent; yet his complaint may have been exaggerated....

Article

Owen Wright

[Maḥmūd ibn Mas‘ūd al-Shīrāzī]

(b Shiraz, 1236; d Tabriz, 1311). Persian physician and scientist. The most outstanding pupil of the mathematician Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī, he is particularly known for his work in medicine, optics and astronomy. His encyclopedia, Durrat al-tāj (‘Pearl of the crown’) demonstrates his mastery of the whole range of traditional medieval scholarship, and contains within its treatment of the mathematical sciences (quadrivium) a lengthy section on music. This is mainly a restatement of the musical theory developed by Ṣafī al-Dīn, but is important for its attention to musical practice, particularly in its codification and description of modes and rhythmic cycles. In both areas it points to the existence of a wider range of structures than is apparent from the works of Ṣafī al-Dīn; its treatment of the modes in particular is far fuller, and is less restricted by purely theoretical concerns. It ends with the most extended, complex and precise example of notation to be found in the works of the medieval Arab and Persian theorists, a unique document which allows some insight into the nature of the compositional practice of the period with regard not only to formal, modal and rhythmic strategies but also to techniques of text setting....

Article

Owen Wright

[al-Urmawī]

(d Baghdad, 1294). Theorist, performer and composer, possibly of Azeri origin. He was a prominent court musician under the last Abbasid caliph, al-Musta‘ṣim (1242–58), although he first attracted attention for his skill as a calligrapher. Surviving the sack of Baghdad in 1258, he entered the service of the Mongol Il-Khans and became attached to the powerful Juwaynī family, but after their fall (1286) he lost favour, and died imprisoned for debt.

Ṣafī al-Dīn is one of the most important figures in the history of music theory in the Islamic Middle East, and the first great theorist since Ibn Sīnā (980–1037) and Ibn Zayla (d 1048) whose works are extant. His two treatises on music, the Kitāb al-adwār (‘Book of cycles’) and the later and fuller Risāla al-sharafiyya (‘The Sharafian treatise’), present a synthesis of elements found in the earlier theoretical tradition which dominated the thinking of all the more important theorists of the following two centuries....

Article

Eckhard Neubauer

(b Baghdad, July 779; d Samarra’, July 839). Arab musician. He was a son of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdī and a Persian slave at court called Shikla. He became famous for his fine and powerful voice with its range of four octaves, and first took part in court concerts during the reigns of Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809) and al-Amīn (809–13). Proclaimed caliph in 817 in opposition to al-Ma’mūn (813–33), he had to abdicate after barely two years and went into hiding. In 825 he was pardoned and became a court musician once more under al-Ma’mūn and his successor al-Mu‘taṣim (833–42). He was a follower of the school of Ibn Jāmi‘ and represented a ‘soft’ style, probably influenced by Persian music, which also allowed freedom in rendering older works. His rival Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī accused him of stylistic uncertainty; fragments of their polemic writings are quoted in the Kitāb al-aghānī al-kabīr...

Article

Eckhard Neubauer

[Abū l-Faraj Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq al-Warrāq al-Baghdādī]

(b c930; d c995). Arab bibliographer. He lived in Baghdad, and in 987–8 wrote Kitāb al-fihrist (‘Index of books’), a classified bibliography of Arab literature known to him in his capacity as a copyist and bookseller (warrāq), from libraries and from earlier bibliographies. He listed almost 100 titles from Arab musical literature, giving short biographical notes on the authors and sometimes indications as to the origin and content of the books. Most of these are lost, though some later compilations, such as the Kitāb al-aghānī al-kabīr (‘Great book of songs’) by al-Iṣfahānī, contain fragments of older biographical works on musicians and singers, and collections of song texts. Of particular value is his information about Arabic translations of Greek treatises on music; quotations from these treatises, which are now mostly lost, are also found in Arab musical literature from the early 10th century.

Kitāb al-fihrist...

Article

Owen Wright

[ibn Ghaybī al-Marāghi]

(b Maragh; d Herat, 1435). Timurid composer, performer and theorist. He first rose to prominence in the service of the Jalā’irid rulers of Iraq and Azerbaijan, al-Ḥusayn (1374–82) and Aḥmad (1382–1410). After the conquest of Baghdad by Tīmūr (1393), most of his career was spent in Samarkand and, especially, Herat, at the courts of Tīmūr and of his successors al-Khalīl (1404–9) and Shāh Rukh (1409–47).

‘Abd al-Qādir was one of the most important and influential theorists of the Systematist school. His most substantial surviving works are the Jāmi‘ al-al ḥān (‘Compendium of melodies’), largely completed in 1405 and revised in 1413, and the slighter Maqāṣid al-al ḥān (‘Purports of melodies’), which covers essentially the same ground and probably dates from 1418. Written in Persian, which was by then the language of culture, these works proved particularly influential among later 15th-century theorists; but although both thoughtful and highly competent, on the theoretical side they may be regarded as, essentially, restatements and amplifications of the theory elaborated by ...

Article

Owen Wright

[Abū ‘Umar Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad]

(b Córdoba, 860; d 940). Andalusian Arab writer. Little is known of his life. His most important work is a large-scale compendium entitled al-‘Iqd al-farīd (‘The unique necklace’). Drawn mainly from Eastern Arab sources, it covers a wide range of subject matter and includes a substantial section on music which exemplifies the approach of the literary scholar. Proclaiming first the beneficial effects of music, Ibn ‘Abd al-Rabbīḥ then reflects, but without systematically exploring, the juridical debate on its permissibility. His main concern, however, is to provide a selection of informative, but primarily entertaining or unusual anecdotes, including a copious selection of song texts. For the most part these concern prominent figures of the first two centuries of Islam and the musicians and singing slave-girls (see Qayna) who entertained them. The events described almost all take place in the Eastern Arab world, and there is an unfortunate absence of parallel materials to illustrate musical life at the court of the Umayyads in Córdoba....

Article

Alcuin  

Jane Bellingham

[(Flaccus) Albinus]

(b Northumbria, c735; d Tours, May 19, 804). Anglo-Saxon scholar, writer and poet. Little is known about Alcuin's early years, but he was educated at the cathedral school in York, which, under the guidance of magister, and later archbishop, Aelberht (d 780), became one of the foremost centres of learning in England during the second half of the 8th century. Alcuin remained at York as Aelberht's assistant, becoming magister himself in 767, and several times travelled to the Continent, especially Gaul and Italy, in search of books for the cathedral library. It was on one such visit that Alcuin met Charlemagne (reigned 768–814), who, in 781, invited him to join the scholars of the Frankish court. In Francia Alcuin became one of the leading members of the court school. He is known to have been the personal tutor of Charlemagne and is generally considered to have been the architect of many of the king’s educational reforms, including those in the ...

Article

Patrick Boyde

(b Florence, May or June 1265; d Ravenna, Sept 14, 1321). Italian poet and theorist. Italy’s greatest poet became prominent in the 1280s as a leading member of a group of young poets who were transforming the style and content of the fashionable, elevated love-lyric; later he characterized the achievement of those years as the ‘dolce stil novo’. He included the best of his early poems in his short prose work La vita nuova (c1292–3), the record of his love for Beatrice and his grief at her early death in June 1290. In the mid-1290s he fell in love with Philosophy, personified in his poems as a noble lady, and devoted himself wholeheartedly to the study of logic, ethics, physics, metaphysics and theology – indeed, to almost every branch of medieval science. Simultaneously he began to be active in the political life of the turbulent Florentine republic. He rose to be one of the six Priors in ...

Article

James W. McKinnon

(b nr Metz, c775; d ?Metz, c850). Writer on liturgy and chant. He was probably educated under Alcuin at the monastery of St Martin in Tours, and served as archbishop of Trier from 809 and 814. In 813 he travelled to Constantinople at the behest of Charlemagne, returning the next year, apparently by way of Rome. He then began his literary activity, probably at Aachen. His longest and most significant work, the Liber officialis, first appeared in about 823, with a second edition in about 830. In 831 Amalarius visited Rome and requested a copy of the Roman antiphoner from Pope Gregory IV, only to be informed that Abbot Wala of Corbie had secured all available copies on his visit of 825 and had returned with them to Corbie. Amalarius himself made the journey to Corbie, there to compare the Roman antiphoners with their Frankish counterparts. Like ...

Article

F. Alberto Gallo

revised by Andreas Bücker

[Petrus Capuanus ]

(b ?Amalfi; fl 2nd half of the 14th century). Italian theorist . He was probably a member of the Amalfi nobility: in the 13th century a Petrus Capuanus de Amalfia was a cardinal, and an Andreas Capuanus was a canon in the choir of Amalfi Cathedral. Petrus's treatise, entitled Compendium artis motectorum Marchecti (ed. F.A. Gallo, Ant MI, Scriptores, i/1, 1966, pp.41–8), purports to be a summary of the mensural theory of Marchetto da Padova. In fact, however, it describes an Italian notation quite different from that of the early 14th century in that it is strongly influenced by the notation of 14th-century France. Petrus described a system containing three measures: tempus perfectum or duodenarium with each brevis divided into 12 minime, tempus imperfectum or octonarium with eight minime, and tempus imperfectissimum or quaternarium with four minime.

F.A. Gallo: La teoria della notazione in Italia dalla fine del XIII all'inizio del XV secolo...

Article

Amerus  

F. Alberto Gallo

[Aluredus, Annuerus, Aumerus]

(fl 1271). English theorist, active in Italy. He was a clerk and a member of the household of Cardinal Ottobono Fieschi (later Pope Adrian V), and wrote his Practica artis musice in the cardinal's house, perhaps in August 1271 at Viterbo where the cardinal was staying for the conclave. The work is explicitly designed for teaching practical music to boys and includes all the conventional notions of the period concerning musica plana. The central part of the work contains the tonary according to the practice of the French and English churches and the Roman curia. There is a chapter towards the end devoted to the composition of polyphonic music (cantilene organice); this chapter may be the first treatise on measured music written in Italy. The simple notes described are the long, brevis and semibrevis, in a binary relationship (i.e. the long equals two breves and four ...

Article

Owen Wright

(d 1352). Persian scholar. The section on the mathematical sciences (quadrivium) in his encyclopedia Nafā’is al-funūn (‘Treasures of the sciences’), written in about 1340, contains a chapter on music which is one of the few theoretical texts in Persian from the period between the works of Quṭb al-Dīn Shīrāzī (...

Article

(fl late 14th century). Theorist. He is named only in the manuscript US-Cn 54.1, copied at Pavia in 1391. This manuscript attributes to him two widely distributed theoretical works: De contrapuncto quedam regule utiles (ed. in CoussemakerS, iii, 116–18), a set of contrapuntal instructions written in 26 pseudo-hexameters and found in seven further sources (see Sachs, 215 and 87), of which only two include the musical examples printed in CoussemakerS; and the Tractatus figurarum (ed. Schreur), known from 12 further copies. Both treatises appear elsewhere with ascriptions or implied ascriptions to Philippus de Caserta. While the Tractatus figurarum is also ascribed to Egidius de Murino, the stemmatic arguments of Arlt effectively rule out his authorship. Despite the arguments of Arlt and Schreur, it seems hard to resist the suggestion of Strohm (following Pirrotta) that both treatises are in fact by Philippus de Caserta. Coussemaker's suggestion (CoussemakerS, iii, XXII) that he could be identified with the composer Andreas de Florentia has found no further support....