Davantes [Antesignanus], Pierre
- Frank Dobbins
(b Rabestenne, Hautes-Pyrénées, 1525; d Geneva, Aug 31, 1561). French philologist and printer. He practised as a doctor and was known as a humanist. In 1554 he collaborated with Matthieu Bonhomme at Lyons, editing texts by Clenardo, Hippocrates and Terence. He settled at Geneva early in 1559 and on 25 May 1560 was granted a privilege to print ‘une nouvelle invention de musique sur les Pseaulmes’. This invention was a new and simple mnemonic aid for memorizing the music; it is explained and illustrated in a collection of 83 psalms printed by Michel Du Bois in 1560. The system, based on numbers rather than solmization syllables, was later adopted by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Projet concernant de nouveaux signes pour la musique, Geneva, 1781; ed. and trans. B. Rainbow, Kilkenny, 1982). (See Notation, fig.) Pidoux (1986 and 1993) suggested that Davantes was the author of 42 melodies for the new psalm paraphrases by Bèze, published together in the Huguenot psalter in ...