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date: 22 November 2019

Guido of Arezzo [Aretinus]locked

  • Claude V. Palisca
  • , revised by Dolores Pesce

Extract

[Aretinus]

(bc991–2; d after 1033). Music theorist. His fame as a pedagogue was legendary in the Middle Ages and he is remembered today for his development of a system of precise pitch notation through lines and spaces and for propagating a method of sight-singing which relied upon the syllables ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la. His Micrologus is the earliest comprehensive treatise on musical practice that includes a discussion of both polyphonic music and plainchant. It was used throughout the Middle Ages in monasteries, and from the 13th century also in the universities. Next to the treatise of Boethius it was the most copied and read instruction book on music in the Middle Ages; its text is preserved in at least 70 manuscripts from the 11th century through to the 15th.

The main events of Guido’s career can be reconstructed from his letter dedicating the Micrologus to Bishop Theodaldus, and from his letter to his friend, Brother Michael of Pomposa (...

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