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Article

Andrew Hughes

(fl early 15th century). English theorist. His name is found in connection with a treatise in GB-Lbl Lansdowne 763, which dates, on palaeographical evidence, from c1450. (The date of 1460 given by the catalogue of Lansdowne MSS has no apparent evidence to support it.)

Of the 20 treatises preserved in this manuscript, nos.17–20 (ff.117–122 v, ed. in Meech) form a coherent unit. No.17 opens with ‘Here beginneth tretises diverse of musical proporcions … secundum Chilston’. This sentence is perhaps an addition by the compiler of the manuscript, John Wylde (who was preceptor of the Abbey of the Holy Cross, Waltham) rather than an inherent part of the treatises.

The other treatises in the collection are by writers ranging from Guido of Arezzo to Leonel Power. The term secundum is conventionally used for copies or paraphrases of earlier authors by later ones; thus the date of the manuscript alone cannot be used as certain evidence of Chilston’s dates and only the content of his three treatises suggests the 15th century. They describe very conventionally the various kinds of mathematical proportions that were beginning to concern 15th-century composers and theorists. Although their technical terms are in Latin they probably constitute the first treatise on proportions to be written in English....

Article

Dimitri Conomos

(fl c1440–63). Byzantine composer and theorist. The only surviving biographical evidence about Chrysphes is contained in music manuscripts. Information in IL-Jp 31 (c1440) reveals that he held the office of lampadarios (leader of the left choir) in the Byzantine palace. His autograph appears in an Akolouthiai manuscript, GR-ATSiviron 1120, which bears the date 1458. The latest recorded date for Chrysaphes is in a signed manuscript, TR-Itks 15, completed on 29 July 1463. A number of sources indicate that some of his compositions were commissioned by the last two Byzantine emperors, John VIII Palaeologos (1428–48) and Constantine XI Palaeologos (1449–53). Chrysaphes is also known to have spent some time in Crete and even to have travelled as far as Serbia, where he wrote liturgical music.

His treatise, Peri tōn entheōroumenōn tē psaltikē technē kai hōn phronousi kakōs tines peri autōn (‘On the theory of the art of chanting and on certain erroneous views that some hold about it’; ...

Article

José López-Calo

(b Daroca; d Salamanca, Nov 4, 1548). Spanish theorist. He studied philosophy, theology and mathematics at the universities of Alcalá de Henares and Salamanca and then in Paris, where he became a professor of philosophy and mathematics; there he published his Liber arithmeticae practicae qui dicitur algorithmus (1505) and a commentary on the Sphera mundi of Juan de Sacro Bustos (1508). On 15 January 1510 he took up a chair at Alcalá de Henares University at the invitation of Cardinal Cisneros. In this post he taught theology, philosophy and music and published his greatest work, Cursus quatuor mathematicarum artium liberalium (1516), which was reprinted several times. This book contains his treatise on music, which is of little value: it is basically a version, with brief commentaries, of Faber Stapulensis's Elementa musices (1496), itself largely based on the Boethian tradition. Ciruelo, moreover, limited himself to theoretical elucidations without any reference to practice or to real musical problems, unlike the great Spanish theorists of the time, who consciously involved themselves with practical problems. Thus Ciruelo's reputation as a theorist is far greater than his actual merit....

Article

(b Wendelstein, Jan 10, 1479; d Breslau, Jan 10, 1552). German theologian, historian, humanist, music theorist and pedagogue. After studies with Heinrich Grieninger in Nuremberg, Cochlaeus entered the University of Cologne in 1504. A year later he had already gained the baccalaureate degree and in 1507 the MA. During these years his first treatise, Musica, was printed in three editions. He also became the music teacher of Heinrich Glarean, who, greatly admiring him, later included in his Dodecachordon three pedagogical compositions from his Musica. In 1510 on the recommendation of Willibald Pirckheimer, he became the rector of St Lorenz school in Nuremberg. There he organized a humanistically orientated curriculum and wrote the Tetrachordum musices (1511), his most valuable music treatise. In 1517 he earned a doctorate in theology at Ferrara and was ordained to the priesthood in Rome. In succeeding years he acquired a reputation as a fierce and unremitting opponent of Lutheranism and Calvinism. In an encounter with Luther at Worms in ...

Article

Ingrid Brainard

(b Piacenza, c1430; d Ferrara, Dec 1484). Italian dancing-master and dance theorist. Born into one of Piacenza’s leading noble families, he was educated in classical and modern languages, the theory and practice of military arts and of politics, and dancing. He spent the first 20 years of his life in Piacenza, except for five years when he studied at the Studio di Siena (c1443–8). In Piacenza he was a pupil of Domenico da Piacenza, whom he greatly admired and whose theoretical and aesthetic concepts are reflected in his Libro dell’arte del danzare (1455). Early in 1454 Cornazano joined the household staff of Francesco Sforza as ‘consigliore, segretario, o ciamberlano’ and teacher of his children. He dedicated the first version of his treatise to the young Princess Ippolita, whom he instructed in the art of dancing.

After Sforza’s death in 1466 Cornazano went to Venice, where he spent the next 11 years as military adviser to General Bartolommeo Colleone. After a two-year period of political activities in Piacenza, Cornazano was called to Ferrara by Ercole I d’Este in autumn ...

Article

Nino Pirrotta

(b Rome, 1465; d San Gimignano, 1510). Italian humanist. He was the son of Antonio Cortese, a papal abbreviator (i.e. a writer of papal briefs) and the pupil of Giulio Pomponio Leto and Bartolomeo Platina, both abbreviatores. In 1481 he was appointed to the papal chancery to the place vacated on Platina’s death. He was promoted to papal secretary in 1498, resigned in 1503 and spent the rest of his life in a family villa called Castel Cortesiano, near San Gimignano. There he was the host to such guests as Duke Ercole I of Ferrara, Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino and Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, later Pope Paul III. He must also have had a comfortable house in Rome in which in the early 1490s there were learned discussions, interspersed with strambotti sung by Serafino Aquilano. Cortese may have known Josquin, who was a papal singer at this time. He praised Josquin highly as a mass composer in his ...

Article

Andrew Hughes

(fl 14th century). English theorist. He is generally identified with the Richard Cutell who was a member of the college at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, in 1394 and was documented as a cardinal a year later. The content of Cutell’s short treatise and the matter surrounding it in the manuscript place his activity in the 14th century. It is found in GB-Ob Bod.842, f.48r–48v, headed ‘Opinio Ricardi Cutell de London’. Apart from a quite conventional description of the sights, or transpositions, and consonances proper to discant, and of the three degrees of discant, mene, treble, quatreble, the work is undistinguished. In keeping with the new proscription arising in the 14th century, Cutell forbade parallel perfect consonances of the same kind, and endorsed parallel imperfect consonances. He also stated that on perfect intervals, the solmization syllable fa must go with fa, and mi with mi, a stricter form of the usual rule prohibiting ...

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[de Brixia]

(fl Brescia 1487–97). Italian music theorist. He studied in Padua in 1487, but seems to have spent the rest of his life as a friar in the Franciscan convent in Brescia. At the request of a fellow friar he undertook a brief treatise on the fundamentals of music ‘for the use of poor and simple religious’. It was first published under the title Breviloquium musicale (Brescia, 1497), but all subsequent editions bear the title Regula musicae planae. In 42 short chapters Bonaventura covered the Guidonian hand, the staff, note names, hexachords and their properties, clefs, mutation, the 13 species of intervals, modes and intonations. Although the chapter headings are in Latin, the treatise itself is mostly in Italian; this may account for its substantial popularity and success.

Bonaventura's classification of the modes and the discussion of three semitones show his dependence on Marchetto da Padova. This is made explicit in the ...

Article

David Fallows

[Don Paolo Tenorista da Firenze; Magister Dominus Paulus Abbas de Florentia]

(b Florence, c1355; d Florence, after September 20, 1436). Italian music theorist and composer of more known pieces than any other Trecento composer apart from Landini.

Most earlier views on his life were superseded by the discovery of an antiphoner ( F-DOU 1171), dated 1417, with an inscription crediting its organization to Dominus Paulus, abbot of the Benedictine monastery of S Martino al Pino, near Arezzo, and rector of the church of S Maria Annunziata Virgine (generally known by the name of the hospice it occupied and served, Orbatello) in Florence. This antiphoner is beautifully illuminated in the style of S Maria degli Angeli in Florence, namely the style found both in the Squarcialupi Codex and the manuscript I-Fl Ashb.999, which contains Paolo's Gaudeamus omnes. Further evidence that this is the correct Paolo comes from his will, bequeathing three books of music and ‘unum Boetium musicale’....

Article

Ingrid Brainard

[Giovanni Ambrosio]

(b Pesaro, c1420; d ? after 1484). Italian dancing-master, theorist and choreographer. He was the son of Moses of Sicily, Jewish dancing-master at the Pesaro court. Two autobiographical chapters in his own treatises provide information about his career; he listed a number of major festivities (weddings, entries, visits of state, carnival celebrations etc.) for which he created the dances. The most brilliant courts of the period sought his services; some of the engagements, such as those at Camerino, Ravenna, Urbino, Milan and Florence, extended over several years. Perhaps for convenience or personal safety, or to enhance his standing in his profession, he converted to Christianity and assumed the name Giovanni Ambrosio; the treatise under this name, F-Pn it.476, is nearly identical with F-Pn it.973, the only securely dated examplar (1463) of Guglielmo's manual. Guglielmo was at the Naples court from 1465 to 1467, and soon thereafter (...

Article

F. Alberto Gallo

revised by Gianluca D’Agostino

[Giovanni Gherardi]

(b Prato, c1367; d Florence, c1445). Italian man of letters. He studied under the scientist Biagio Pelacani at Padua University from 1384 to 1388. He wrote several poems in the style of Dante and Boccaccio, but his most important work is an unfinished narrative poem ( I-Fr 1280, autograph; ed. A. Lanza, Rome, 1975 and F. Garilli, Palermo, 1976) which was given the title Il paradiso degli Alberti by the first modern editor (A. Wesselofsky, Bologna, 1867/R), after the name of the Florentine villa of Antonio degli Alberti in which the story was set. This work, possibly written in about 1425, describes the meetings in 1389 of a group of learned men (Pelacani, Coluccio Salutati, Luigi Marsili, Francesco Landini and others), who discussed various topics and related stories. These meetings included musical entertainment, mainly provided by Landini, who is here celebrated not only as the greatest musician of the time, but also as a renowned intellectual. The third book includes a transcription of the text of Landini's ballata ...

Article

Clement A. Miller

revised by Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Fiorenzo de’ Fasoli]

(b c1461; d 18 March 1496). Italian theorist, son of a Jacobus. He entered the service of Cardinal Ascanio Maria Sforza during his exile in Naples and Rome (1481–2). From 1482 he was a canon at S. Florenzio in Fiorenzuola d’Arda, becoming chaplain of S. Maria della Stella in Milan in 1483. By papal dispensation he was promoted to priest in 1484 at the age of 23. Some time between 1485 and 1492 he wrote a theoretical work of 95 folios entitled Liber musices ( I-Mt 2146). This treatise, commissioned by the cardinal for personal use, is notable for its finely executed miniatures by Attavante degli Attavanti or a member of his school; gilded notes on blue staves are used for the music examples. The title page merely gives the name ‘Florentius’; the identification with Florentius de Faxolis, first proposed by Motta (1899), has been contested by Rossi (2007, 2009), who believes Florentius was a Spanish musician in Naples. The work is divided into three books; it begins with an extended treatment of the value, uses, and effects of music and continues more summarily with the elements of music, plainsong, counterpoint, composition, and rules of mensural notation. As authorities Florentius cited many ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval writers, including music theorists, but did not name any contemporary theorists except for Blasius Romero, whom he must have known in Naples and who may be the source of many of his citations (Holford-Strevens, 2009). Nor does Florentius name any composers of renown. He describes briefly such musical practices of his time as fauxbourdon, imitation, and, more extensively, canon. The treatise contains short polyphonic pieces for discant and tenor to illustrate the five genera of proportions; some examples are missing. To conclude the work a Latin poem by the Milanese secretary Francesco Tranchedino praises the treatise as a valuable guide to musical understanding....

Article

F. Alberto Gallo

revised by Andreas Bücker

(b ?Leno, nr Brescia; fl 1st half of the 15th century). Italian ?theorist. An incomplete treatise on music, in Italian, found in a manuscript of the second half of the 15th century ( I-Vnm Lat.336, coll.1581, 50v–64r), contains musical examples attributed to ‘Antonius de Leno musichus’; it is uncertain, however, whether the text of the treatise can safely be attributed to him. Only three sections survive: the first, on mutations, may have been the final part of a larger section on musica plana; next follows a discussion of counterpoint – note-against-note, and two and three notes against one; and finally there is a section on the application of elements of mensural music to counterpoint (the prolations, alteration, dots of division, proportions and rests). These latter two sections have been published under the title Regulae de contrapunto (CoussemakerS, iii, 307–28; also ed. A. Seay, Colorado Springs, CO, ...

Article

Beatrice Pescerelli

(fl 15th century). Italian theorist. He was a Servite friar and pupil of one Laurentius of Orvieto, a canon of S Maria Maggiore. His treatise Ars cantus figurati (CoussemakerS, iv, 421–33) is a compilation on musica mensurabilis according to the theories of Johannes de Muris; it deals with ligatures, alterations, proportions and prolations, giving diagrams and music examples. The work is discussed in A.M. Busse Berger: ...

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Pre Zanetto]

(b c1490; d Venice, 8 March 1544). Italian theorist. All that is known of his early life is that he was a student of the frottolist Giovanni Battista Zesso of Padua. In 1520 he was a cleric attached to the small parish church of S Sofia, Venice, in the sestiere of Cannaregio, where he remained throughout his life; he became deacon in 1527 and was promoted to titular priest in 1542. Towards the end of his life he published a small and largely insignificant treatise on the fundamentals of music, Breve introduttione (reviewed unfavourably by Pietro Aaron; see SpataroC, no. 66), but his chief claim to fame lies in the correspondence he conducted with the foremost theorists of his time, Giovanni Spataro and Aaron, and a host of lesser musicians. Although his plan to publish his letters failed, his correspondence survives, together with many of the letters written to him (...

Article

Alejandro Enrique Planchart

(b Beersel, Aug 5, 1397; d Cambrai, Nov 27, 1474). French composer and theorist. He was acknowledged by his contemporaries as the leading composer of his day. He held positions in many of the musical centres of Europe and his music was copied and performed virtually everywhere that polyphony was practised.

According to the executors of Du Fay’s will, his ‘homeland’ was the town of Bersele [Beersel] near Brussels. His date of birth has been postulated by Planchart (EMH, 1988; 1995) as 5 August 1397; this date is based on the year of his ordination (late 1427) and his years as a chorister at Cambrai Cathedral (1409–12), and events connected with the establishment of his obit. His original patronymic was Du Fayt; he apparently altered the spelling to Du Fay during his years in Italy. The family name (Du Fay as well as Du Fayt), universally spelt as two words in all 14th- and 15th-century documents traceable directly to bearers of the name, was not common in Cambrai: the largest concentration is found in documents from the area of Valenciennes. Du Fay was born the illegitimate son of a single woman, Marie Du Fayt, and a priest whose name has not come down to us....

Article

F.J. León Tello

(b Garrovillas, Cáceres, c1460; d Santiago de Compostela, before Sept 5, 1529). Spanish theorist. He studied liberal arts and philosophy in Salamanca. In 1525 he was a singer in Santiago de Compostela and from 1526 maestro de capilla there. Between 1492 and about 1504 he published two treatises on music. The first, Lux bella, is very brief and is written in Spanish and Latin. The style and content of these treatises are more practical than theoretical, and in their manner of presentation they are very like the work of medieval theorists. Durán believed that music had primarily a religious function, and deplored its profane usage. He put his own interpretation on its traditional triple division, the enharmonic genus and the evaluation of the major and minor semitone, discussing in some detail both solmization and the practices of hexachord mutation and accidentals. He classified Gregorian modes into ‘regulares’, ‘mixtos’, ‘irregulares’, ‘comixtos’ and ‘respectivos’, with the priority given to the seventh degree; he also discussed the expressive effects attributed to the different modes. In his discussion of compositional technique he formulated precise rules of counterpoint and admitted greater harmonic freedom in syncopation. His ...

Article

Don Harrán

[Isaac ben Moses]

(d southern France or Spain, c1414). Philosopher, physician and grammarian. He discusses music in the introduction to his grammatical treatise Ma‘aseh Efod (‘The Work of Ephod’, 1403), which survives in 28 manuscript sources. Two kinds of music are described: cantillation, or the melodic formulae for intoning the scriptures (ta‘amei ha-miqra); and the melodies for piyyutim, or post-biblical religious hymns. The author's main concern is with cantillation, for unlike the piyyutim that, according to him, appeal to the senses, cantillation appeals to the mind. It is used for both liturgical reading (the Bible, the Mishnah, prayers) and study. Duran's preference for cantillation follows from the premise that the Torah is perfect, hence a preoccupation with its content is essential for attaining happiness on earth and forever after.

J. Friedländer and J. Kohn, eds.: Maase Efod: Einleitung in das Studium und Grammatik der hebräischen Sprache von Profiat Duran...

Article

Don Harrán

(ben Zemah)

(b Mallorca, 1361; d Algiers, 1444). Rabbi, kabbalist and philosopher. Music is discussed in three different passages in his Magen avot (‘The protection of the Fathers’) which survives in seven manuscript sources, not all of them complete. Three themes are emphasized: music in relation to speech; te’amim as distinct from piyyutim; and the spiritual importance of te’amim (see Jewish music, §I, 3(i)). Under the first the author described music as inherent to speech, indeed, ‘musical speech’ (ha-nigun asher ba-dibur) consists of three elements: consonants, vowels and musical formulae for intoning the sacred texts; the power of music was recognized in ancient Israel, where, after the example of King David, the Levites employed song for reciting the sacred texts in the temple liturgy. Under te’amim, the author differentiated between three kinds of melody, according to whether they were used for chanting the Pentateuch, the Prophets or the Hagiographa; he described their various syntactic, hermeneutic, melodic and rhythmic qualities. The ...

Article

(b Kalkar, 1328; d Cologne, Dec 20, 1408). German monk, mystic and theorist of Gregorian chant. He studied in Cologne and later in Paris where he obtained the BA in 1355 and the MA in 1356. He taught in Paris for another seven years, after which he accepted a canonry at St Georg in Cologne and another at St Suitbertus in Kaiserswerth. In 1365, however, he entered the Carthusian order at the Charterhouse of St Barbara in Cologne, making profession there in 1366. From 1367 to 1372 he was prior of Munnikhuizen, near Arnhem, and his spiritual influence there was such that it led to the conversion of Geerte de Groote, the future founder of the Devotio moderna. Holding office successively at Roermond (1372–7), Cologne (1377–84) and Strasbourg (1384–96), he became one of the leading figures of his order. During the last years of his life he returned to the Cologne Charterhouse....