Ars Nova (Lat.: ‘new art’)
- David Fallows
(Lat.: ‘new art’)
In the most general terms Ars Nova is used as a synonym for ‘14th-century polyphony’ just as Ars Antiqua stands for ‘13th-century polyphony’. The concept of Ars Nova is based on the enormous new range of musical expression made possible by the notational techniques explained in Philippe de Vitry's treatise Ars nova (c 1322). The term was first used as a historical slogan by Johannes Wolf in his Geschichte der Mensural-Notation (1904) in which the treatise was seen as one of the major turning-points in the history of notation; and it was perhaps the chapter titles rather than the specific content of Wolf's work that brought about the use of ‘Ars Nova’ to include all 14th-century French music in the work of subsequent scholars.
Several early 14th-century theorists referred to the idea of an Ars Antiqua , represented primarily by Franco, and an Ars Nova instituted by Philippe de Vitry (see, for instance, ...