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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

Anna Maria Busse Berger

(b Schwiebus [now Świebodzin, Poland], c1486; d Magdeburg, June 10, 1556). German music theorist, teacher and composer. According to his own statements, he came from a peasant family and was largely self-taught in music. By 1520 he was in Magdeburg working as a music teacher. He became choirmaster of the Protestant Lateinschule in about 1525 and retained this position until his death.

Agricola was one of the earliest teachers of music to realize Luther's wish to incorporate music as a central component of Protestant education. His foremost aim in educating students and congregation was to present material as clearly as possible and to reach a large audience. It was for this reason that his early treatises were written in German rather than the customary Latin. His translation of the terms clavis (as Schlüssel), vox (as Stimme or Silbe) and scala (as Leiter) are still used today. His desire to relate music education to everyday life can be seen in his modernization of old-fashioned rules of harmonic and rhythmic proportions, which he related to commercial arithmetic, in particular the Rule of Three, which formed the most important component of arithmetic instruction in Latin schools. He was the only theorist to consider ...

Article

Nicolae Gheorghiță

(b Achaias, Palaias Patras, Peloponnese, Greece, 1777; d Bucharest, Oct 10, 1821). Greek composer, psaltēs, teacher, historian, poet, copyist, and calligrapher. He studied Byzantine chant with his father Athanasios (the personal physician to Sultan Abdul Hamit (d 1789) and a servant of the Great Church), and with Iakovos Protopsaltēs (d 1800) and Petros Byzantios Fygas (d 1808) at the School of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. In 1797 he settled in Bucharest, taking courses at the Princely Academy and at the same time teaching ecclesiastical chant at Căldărușani Monastery (1797–1809) and the schools of psaltic music in Bucharest (1809–16). He was acknowledged as an excellent performer on the tambur and keman, but also played the piano. He was the author of a musical grammar, The Theoretical and Practical Didaskalia of Church Music Written in Particular for the Tambur and Keman Instruments...

Article

Katy Romanou

[ConstantinosConstantine](Alexandros)

(b Constantinople [Istanbul], May 19, 1866 or 1874; d Athens, July 9, 1949). Greek musicologist, music teacher, cantor, and composer. He was crucial in organizing a systematic teaching of Byzantine music in Greece and in establishing a uniform repertory and mode of interpretation in all church rites. After studying philology and theology in Constantinople and serving there as a cantor and a music teacher, he moved to Athens in 1904 to organize a course of Byzantine music in the Conservatory of Athens, an institution fully adapted to German and French music education. Through his articles (mainly in the music periodicals Phorminx (1901–10) and his own Nea [New] Phorminx (1921–2)), his lectures, and the performances he gave with his students, he was successful in changing prevailing ideas and practices, spreading the concept of the importance of preserving the ‘original’ sources.

The influence of equal temperament over Byzantine music performance was another concern of his. He organized concerts with the string professors of the Conservatory instructing them to use unorthodox tunings. In collaboration with the mathematician Stavros Vrachamis he designed, for teaching purposes, a keyboard of 42 keys in each octave, capable of producing all scales of the Byzantine echoi. An organ and a few harmoniums were constructed in 1924 in G.F. Steinmeyer’s factory in Oettingen in Germany; they were funded by his student Eva Palmer-Sikelianos, the American wife of the poet Angelos Sikelianos. Psachos gave the instruments her name (...