- John A. Emerson
(b Chêne-Bourg, nr Geneva, Nov 3, 1840; d Geneva, Jan 17, 1912). Swiss musicologist. He entered the Jesuit order in 1861 and taught music in Paris, philosophy in Vannes and theology at the University of Angers. He was the leading figure among a group of Jesuit scholars including Gerhard Geitmann, Ludwig Bonvin and Alexander Fleury, who supported a modern restoration of Gregorian chant rhythm based on a mensural system of proportional long and short note values. This group strongly opposed the equalist principles of free non-measured rhythm advocated by the Solesmes school under André Mocquereau. Dechevrens’ theories, like those of the Solesmes scholars, relied heavily on the neumatic notation with special signs and letters in the early St Gall manuscripts. He believed that the time value of a note is affected by adjacent notes, and is therefore variable. In Les vraies mélodies grégoriennes he presented both the manner in which he thought that the melodies were originally sung (using bar-lines as a device to mark divisions of the melody; ...