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[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....


Owen Wright


(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....


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 ...



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 ...


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 ...


Owen Wright


(b Zaragoza, north Spain; d Fez, Morocco, c1139). Philosopher, administrator and composer. He spent much of his life, first in Zaragoza and then in Játiva, south Spain, as vizier to various Almoravid governors, and later moved to Fez.

His Kitāb fī al-nafs (‘Book on the soul’) deals with acoustics. He is also reported to have written a substantial treatise on music that could stand comparison with that of al- Fārābī, but this, unfortunately, has not survived. However, his reputation as a composer stayed alive for some considerable time, and his songs are still mentioned by Ibn Khaldūn (1332–1406). He was also a dexterous ‘ūd player. The fullest, if still succinct, account of his achievements is provided by al-Tīfāshī (d 1253), according to whom he studied for several years with female professional musicians (qiyān) and subsequently introduced two important innovations. One resulted in improvements to two of the important song forms, while the other, more general, is intriguingly characterized as a fusion of ‘Christian’ and ‘Eastern’ song. The resulting synthesis was to establish itself as the dominant style in Muslim Spain, effacing that of the earlier school of Ziryāb....


Kurt von Fischer

revised by Gianluca D’Agostino

[Jacobus de Bononia; Magister Jachobus de Bononia]

( fl northern Italy, 1340–?1386). Italian composer and music theorist. He belonged to the first generation of Italian trecento musicians.

Despite his important and influential position in early trecento music, no archival information has come to light about him. He was evidently a native of Bologna. According to Filippo Villani’s Florentine chronicle (see Galletti; also ed. G. Tanturli, Padua, 1997), ‘Jacobus Bononiensis’ worked together with Giovanni da Cascia at the court of Mastino II della Scala (d 1351) in Verona. Jacopo was presumably somewhat younger than Giovanni, to judge from his portrait in the Squarcialupi Codex ( I-Fl 87), and younger also than Piero, who was likewise at the Scaligeri court. (If the evidence of another picture can be trusted – for illustration see Piero – Jacopo and Giovanni were distinctly younger than Piero; see Fischer, 1973.) A further date is established by the madrigal O in Italia...


Gilbert Reaney

[Philipoctus, Filipoctus]

( fl c1370). Theorist and composer. He was active in Avignon c1370, and his residence at the Papal court there is confirmed by his ballade Par les bons Gedeons which pays homage to the antipope Clement VII (1378–94). The extent of his theoretical writing is disputed. Arlt has argued that the ascription of the Tractatus figurarum (or Tractatus de diversis figuris) to Egidius de Murino is incorrect; it also survives with ascriptions to Philippus de Caserta ( I-FZc ) and Magister Phillipotus Andreas ( US-Cn ). The doubtful suggestion by Strohm (following Pirrotta) that the two are identical is supported by the association of Caserta with the Visconti court of Pavia, where the latter manuscript was copied. If this is correct, there are five treatises that survive with dubious ascriptions to Caserta. (Four of these treatises occur in a manuscript from the second half of the 15th century. This source is closely associated with John Hothby's teaching.)...


Sarah Fuller

[Guido Cariloci, Guy de Cherlieu]

(fl 1132–57). Cistercian monk and abbot of the monastery at Cherlieu from 1132–57. In some manuscripts known in the 18th and 19th centuries, the preface to the Cistercian Gradual, Cantum quem Cisterciensis ordinis, bore an attribution to Guido of Cherlieu. Since these manuscripts have now disappeared, it is impossible to evaluate their testimony. There is a distinct possibility that Guido of Cherlieu is an alternative name for ...


Ernest H. Sanders

revised by Peter M. Lefferts

[Pierre de la Croix ]

( fl c1290). Composer and theorist . One of the most important French musicians of the later 13th century, he won the praise of such commentators as Jacobus of Liège, for whom he was ‘that worthy practical musician, who composed so many beautiful and good pieces of mensural polyphony and followed Franco’s precepts’ (CSM, iii, vol.7, 1973, p.36), and Guy de Saint-Denis, for whom he was ‘Master Petrus de Cruce, who was the finest practical musician and particularly observed the custom of the church of Amiens’ ( GB-Lbl Harl.281, ff.92rv).

Apparently a native and resident of Amiens, and a member of a family prominent in that city from the 12th century to the early 14th, Petrus is likely to have studied at the University of Paris as a member of the Picard nation, earning there the title Magister (see Johnson). His student years would have been between ...


F. Alberto Gallo

(b Barberino di Val d'Elsa, 1264; d Florence, 1348). Italian poet. He studied law in Bologna and in Florence, where he later practised as a notary, and also lived in Venice and in France. He wrote two didactic poems in Italian: Documenti d'amore (for which he provided an extensive Latin commentary; ed. F. Egidi, Rome, 1902–27), and Reggimento e costumi di donna (ed. C. Baudi di Vesme, Bologna, 1875). In these works information is given on the place of music in early 14th-century scholarship, education and individual and social life. There are also descriptions of the principal poetic and musical forms as well as references to dance, instruments and performing practice.

M.P. Long: Musical Tastes in Fourteenth-Century Italy: Notational Styles, Scholarly Traditions, and Historical Circumstances (diss., Princeton U., 1981), 1 C. Franco: Arte e poesia nel ‘Reggimento e costumi di donna’ di Francesco da Barberino (Ravenna, 1982)...


David Fallows

[Don Paolo Tenorista da Firenze; Magister Dominus Paulus Abbas de Florentia]

(b Florence, c1355; d Florence, after September 20, 1436). Italian music theorist and composer of more known pieces than any other Trecento composer apart from Landini.

Most earlier views on his life were superseded by the discovery of an antiphoner ( F-DOU 1171), dated 1417, with an inscription crediting its organization to Dominus Paulus, abbot of the Benedictine monastery of S Martino al Pino, near Arezzo, and rector of the church of S Maria Annunziata Virgine (generally known by the name of the hospice it occupied and served, Orbatello) in Florence. This antiphoner is beautifully illuminated in the style of S Maria degli Angeli in Florence, namely the style found both in the Squarcialupi Codex and the manuscript I-Fl Ashb.999, which contains Paolo's Gaudeamus omnes. Further evidence that this is the correct Paolo comes from his will, bequeathing three books of music and ‘unum Boetium musicale’....


F. Alberto Gallo

(fl Verona, 14th century). Italian poet and theorist. He lived at the court of the Scaligers at Verona under Mastino II, Bartolomeo and Antonio, and dedicated to Antonio his Lo tractato et la arte de li rithimi volgari, written between 1381 and 1384 (edited by G.B.C. Giuliari as Trattato dei ritmi volgari, Bologna, 1870/R). This is a treatise on metrics, with examples, in which Gidino described the main poetic forms of the 14th century: sonnets, ballatas or canzoni, rotondelli, marighali, serventesi and moti confetti. The text is derived from the treatise by Antonio da Tempo, but the examples are Gidino's own. Music is mentioned in connection with the ballata and the polyphonic madrigal.

E. Paganuzzi: ‘Medioevo e Rinascimento’, La musica a Verona, ed. P. Brugnoli (Verona, 1976), 1–216, esp. 33–7 F.A. Gallo: ‘Sulla fortuna di Antonio da Tempo: un quarto volgarizzamento’, L'Ars Nova italiana del Trecento...


F. Alberto Gallo

(fl Padua, early 14th century). Italian poet and theorist. He was a judge in Padua between 1329 and 1337, and in 1332 wrote a treatise Summa artis rythimici (ed. R. Andrews, Bologna, 1977) which he dedicated to Alberto della Scala, ruler of the city. This is a work on metrics which describes, with examples, the main poetic forms of the 14th century (sonnet, ballata, cantio extensa, rotundellus, mandrialis, serventensius and motus confectus). Although Antonio stated expressly that he was not a musician, the section of the treatise on ‘scansione syllabarus’ demonstrates his knowledge of contemporary musical style and the relationship between poetry and song. There are further references to music in the treatise, particularly concerning the madrigal, which is described as a composition preferably for two or more voices.

F.A. Gallo: ‘La trattatistica musicale’, Storia della cultura Veneta, 2, ed. G. Folena (Vicenza, 1976), 469–76 M.P. Long...


Gordon A. Anderson

revised by Thomas B. Payne

[de L'isle; Alanus de (ab) Insulis]

(b Lille, 1114–28; d Cîteaux, ? July 12, 1202 or 1203). French philosopher, theologian and poet. He was a scholar of such encyclopedic learning that he became known as Doctor universalis. He probably taught at the schools of Paris from about 1157 to 1170, at Montpellier from about 1171 to 1185, and then possibly again at Paris. He retired as a simple lay brother to Cîteaux, where he died.

Alain was particularly famed in his day for two of his Latin poems, De planctu naturae (1160–75) – a satire on human vices – and Anticlaudianus (1182–3), a long and elaborate moral allegory on the liberal arts which serves as the basis for his musical importance. In the Anticlaudianus the Seven Liberal Arts, daughters of Prudence, are introduced, and each discusses the particular art she represents. Music is the fifth sister, and Alain, following the philosophical emphasis of his time, has her expound the moral worth of music rather than its practical application. Boethius's threefold classification is combined with contemporary neo-Platonic thought: ...


Alejandro Enrique Planchart

(b Beersel, Aug 5, 1397; d Cambrai, Nov 27, 1474). French composer and theorist. He was acknowledged by his contemporaries as the leading composer of his day. He held positions in many of the musical centres of Europe and his music was copied and performed virtually everywhere that polyphony was practised.

According to the executors of Du Fay’s will, his ‘homeland’ was the town of Bersele [Beersel] near Brussels. His date of birth has been postulated by Planchart (EMH, 1988; 1995) as 5 August 1397; this date is based on the year of his ordination (late 1427) and his years as a chorister at Cambrai Cathedral (1409–12), and events connected with the establishment of his obit. His original patronymic was Du Fayt; he apparently altered the spelling to Du Fay during his years in Italy. The family name (Du Fay as well as Du Fayt), universally spelt as two words in all 14th- and 15th-century documents traceable directly to bearers of the name, was not common in Cambrai: the largest concentration is found in documents from the area of Valenciennes. Du Fay was born the illegitimate son of a single woman, Marie Du Fayt, and a priest whose name has not come down to us....


Andrew Hughes

(fl mid- to late 13th century). German theorist and ?composer. His Ars cantus mensurabilis contained the first major statement of an idea that has been fundamental to Western notation ever since: that different durations should be expressed by different note shapes, and not merely by different contexts. On a more specific level, the actual notational system he advocated held good for the next 200 years, with some refinements and modifications. The treatise also provides many valuable (if sometimes apparently imprecise) descriptions of 13th-century polyphony.

Of the eight surviving manuscripts of Franco’s treatise, two include biographical information. A Milan manuscript printed by Gerbert describes the treatise as ‘edita’ by magister Franco of Paris. The reference to Paris dates from the 15th century and is unique: Franco of Paris must be an alias for Franco of Cologne, whose importance and influence was firmly associated with the Parisian motet of the 13th century. The 14th-century St Dié manuscript printed by Coussemaker and the (related) Tremezzo manuscript (...


Yves Chartier

(b northern France, c850; d St Amand, June 20, 930). Benedictine monk, theorist, poet, composer, teacher and hagiographer. Though chiefly known as a theorist – ironically for works that have proven not to be his own – he was also a writer (of both verse and prose) and a composer, whose reputation has grown considerably with the progressive discovery of works that can positively be attributed to him. Coming immediately after Aurelian of Réôme (Musica disciplina, ?c840s), he was probably a contemporary of the anonymous authors of the Musica enchiriadis and other related treatises to which his name was assigned (Commemeratio brevis, Alia musica, De modis), composed in the same area at the end of the 9th century. He remains one of the foremost expositors of music theory in the Carolingian era.

Apart from a few sketchy indications found in his own works or in the contemporary ...


Jan Kouba

(b Husinec, Bohemia, ?1371; d Konstanz, July 6, 1415). Czech reformer. He was one of the most influential preachers and teachers at Prague University at the beginning of the 15th century. He was burnt at the stake by order of the Council of Konstanz. He has been associated with a number of Latin and Czech hymns, but there is very little evidence to support his authorship; it seems that he arranged the medieval melody ‘Jesu Kriste, štědrý kněže’ (‘Jesus Christ, thou bountiful prince’) in the Jistebnice Hussite hymnbook, and he may also have arranged or translated the texts of several other hymns, but the best-known one attributed to him, ‘Jesus Christus, nostra salus’, is clearly not by him. Some Czech musicologists (e.g. Nejedlý) have described Hus as the innovator of congregational singing in church, but this practice arose in 15th-century Bohemia only after his death. Hus's aesthetic views on music and singing did not deviate from those of the medieval tradition. Thus musical history was influenced only indirectly by him: the Hussite reformation, of which he was the inspiration, constitutes the first significant chapter in the history of Protestant church music in Europe....


Eckhard Neubauer

[Abū’l-Faraj ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn]

(b Isfahan, 897; d Baghdad, 967). Arab man of letters, historian and poet. He lived in Baghdad and in Aleppo. As a writer on music he belongs to the school of Isḥāq al-mawṣilī (see Mawṣilī, al- family, §2), whose Kitāb al-aghānī al-kabīr (‘Great book of songs’) was the main source for al-Iṣfahānī’s principal work of the same name, which is said to have taken him 50 years to write. This comprehensive book covers Arab cultural history from pre-Islamic times to the early Abbasids, with emphasis on poetry and music. Its latest published edition comprises 24 volumes. Its arrangement follows that of Al-mi’at al-ṣawt al-mukhtāra (‘The 100 selected songs’) compiled by Isḥāq's father, Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī (see Mawṣilī, al- family and others, which was accessible to al-Iṣfahānī in the edition of ‘Alī ibn Yaḥyā al-Munajjim (d 888), a pupil of Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī. The texts of the songs are accompanied by notes on the compositions and their melodic (...