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Owen Wright

(fl first half of the 11th century). Arab musician and writer. The son of an eminent musician, he became a prominent singer at the Cairo court of the Fatimid caliph al-Ẓāhir (1021–36), and was still active as a teacher in 1057. His music treatise, completed after 1036 and entitled Ḥāwī al-funūn wa-salwat al-maḥzūn (‘Compendium of the arts to comfort sad hearts’), is of particular interest in that it deals with various topics of little concern to other authorities. Written from the perspective of a cultured musician rather than that of a philosopher-theorist, it calls upon a literary tradition of writing about music, and its historical content is frankly derivative, even if of interest for the implication of continuity with the court music of 9th-century Baghdad. But it is wide-ranging in its treatment of contemporary practice, dealing not only with such basics as mode and rhythm, but also with such matters as the normal sequence of events in performance, deportment and etiquette, the materials and construction of the ‘...

Article

James Grier

(b c965; d Limoges, April 26, 1025). French monk and cantor. He served at the abbey of Saint Martial in Limoges. Roger, who was the paternal uncle of Adémar de Chabannes, is known to have become cantor at the abbey after 1010 (see J. Grier, ‘Roger de Chabannes (d....

Article

Andrew Hughes

revised by Randall Rosenfeld

(b ?Saxony, c1096; d 1141). Augustinian canon and theologian. After study in Saxony, he went to the abbey of St Victor in Marseilles, and later to the culturally eminent abbey of St Victor in Paris, where he became scholasticus. His diverse writings exerted an enormous influence on the liturgical arts of his time, perhaps affecting the formation of the style that later became known as Gothic. During the 1130s Adam of St Victor was one of his confrères, and it seems likely that Hugh's mystical theology played an important role in the development of the Victorine sequence. Among his numerous works is his early compendium, the Didascalicon, which contains a chapter on music. This is entirely concerned with the three standard divisions of music, mundana, humana and instrumentalis, and with the three kinds of musician, those who compose songs, those who play instruments and those who judge. The thought, and much of the language, is borrowed from Boethius....

Article

Sarah Fuller

[Albertus Stampensis]

(fl 1146–1177). French cantor. He was probably from Estampes originally, but from about 1146 to 1177 he was cantor at Notre Dame, Paris. He left a substantial bequest of liturgical books to the cathedral. The sole, uncorroborated, trace of his compositional activity is a two-voice conductus, Congaudeant catholici, attributed to him in the 12th-century Calixtine manuscript ( E-SC ). A third voice, inscribed in red neumes on the bottom staff of the unique source, cannot be original for it has been added in a hand distinct from the main scribe’s. This voice evidently constitutes a plainer alternative to the original rather florid discant.

J. Handschin: ‘Zur Geschichte von Notre Dame’, AcM, 4 (1932), 5–17 J. López-Calo: La musica medieval en Galicia (La Coruña, 1982), 46 C. Wright: Music and Ceremony at Notre Dame of Paris 500–1550 (Cambridge, 1989), 278–81 T. Karp: The Polyphony of Saint Martial and Santiago de Compostela...

Article

Peter Wright

(fl c1430–40). Composer, singer and priest. The musician listed as a singer of Albrecht II, King of the Romans, in the motet Romanorum rex written in commemoration of the king’s death in 1439, must be the same man who composed this and several other sacred works found in early 15th-century manuscripts. If his identity has yet to be established conclusively, the proposal that he was Johannes Doussart, a cleric of the diocese of Liège who was still alive in 1457, is very plausible, and distinctly more so than the earlier suggestion that he was the Cambrai-based musician Jean Du Sart.

Sarto’s four surviving motets are written in an elegant and at times highly expressive melodic style, with well-controlled dissonance and occasional use of imitation. Verbum patris (notable for its use of common material at section ends) and Romanorum rex both employ complex mensural schemes; the latter, a technical tour de force, is remarkable for its simultaneous use of two distinct isorhythmic patterns. One introit survives with an uncontested attribution and in the case of two others Sarto’s name has been substituted for that of his famous contemporary, Johannes Brassart, perhaps indicating some form of collaboration or rivalry. Evidently the two men were closely associated: both were members of the imperial chapel during the 1430s and were probably linked by affiliation to the same diocese (Liège); their works were sometimes copied next to or near one another; two of Sarto’s motets, ...

Article

Ziryāb  

Eckhard Neubauer

[Abū ’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Nāfi‘ ]

(b Iraq; d Córdoba, Spain, Aug 852). Arab musician . A mawlā (‘freedman’) of Caliph al-Mahdī (775–85) at Baghdad, he was a pupil of Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī and a rival of Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī at the court of Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809). He left Baghdad for Syria, served the Aghlabid ruler Ziyādat Allāh (817–38) in Qairawan (Tunisia), and later received a generous welcome from ‘Abd al-Raḥmān II (822–52) in Córdoba. His influence there as a court musician and companion (nadīm) must have been exceptional: customs in clothing and eating that he had brought from Baghdad became fashionable, and the tradition of his school of music was maintained by his descendants at least two generations after his death. Like his contemporary al-Kindī he seems to have known the musical theory of late antiquity and to have reconciled it with the teachings of his masters in Baghdad. Details of his vocal training techniques are described by Ibn Ḥayyān (...