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Thomas B. Payne

(Lat.: ‘songs of Beuren’)

The title given by Johann Andreas Schmeller to his complete edition (1847) of the poems in an early 13th-century German manuscript (now D-Mbs Clm 4660) that had come in 1803 from the Benedictine abbey of Benediktbeuern, about 50 km south of Munich. Since then the manuscript has been known by that title even though it is now generally agreed that it probably did not originate in Benediktbeuren and may have come from Seckau in Carinthia or the Tyrol. The manuscript is perhaps the most important source for Latin secular poetry of the 12th century; there are in addition some Latin sacred lyrics, German poems, liturgical plays and a satirical ‘Gamblers' Mass’. Several of the poems have music in unheighted neumes – a style of notation that is relatively rare at so late a date. The melodies must, for the most part, be reconstructed from concordances in the St Martial and Notre Dame repertories. Orff's cantata ...


James B. Coover and John C. Franklin

In a charmingly ironic mixture of self-deprecation and pride, Samuel Johnson began the magnificent preface to his famous Dictionary (1755) with these words:

It is the fate of those who toil at the lowest employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospects of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward. Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries …. Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.

As Johnson knew, there had been and would be many such unhappy mortals engaged in this particular lower employment of life. Some of their works, like his own, would achieve lasting fame and widespread importance; others would serve in more modest fashion people's day-to-day need to understand the ideas, words, facts and things by which they lived. All would be the result of a fierce natural urge to compile and compact the knowledge of the world or of a special interest into handy compendia in order to control it – an urge as old as civilization itself. The classical encyclopedias and dictionaries, from ...


Stanley Boorman

The study and description of musical documents and of the literature about music, especially in published form. The most widespread use of the word ‘bibliography’, in music or in any scholarly endeavour, refers to lists, appended to publications, of other scholarly writings which the author used while writing, or which would be useful to an interested reader. This usage is represented at the end of nearly every article in the present dictionary, and might be called ‘citation bibliography’. It is a reflection of a selection process, drawing on and assessing a detailed listing of as much of this secondary literature as possible. The preparation of such full-scale listings is called ‘reference bibliography’. Yet the term has arrived at this usage from more detailed and scholarly practices. The etymology of the word implies the writing of books, but (in common with most other terms ending in ‘-graphy’), it has come also to mean their study, or at least their description, and usually refers to printed material. This leads to two other usages, specifically concerned with the character of books and editions, and only secondarily with their contents. Under the specifier ‘descriptive’, bibliography refers to a listing (with detailed descriptions) of the make-up of books. ‘Analytical’ bibliography goes further, involving the study of books as objects, the manner of their making, their history, and their place in the history of their contents....


Thurston Dart

revised by John Morehen and Richard Rastall

(Fr. tablature; Ger. Tabulatur; It. intavolatura)

A score in which the voice-parts are ‘tabulated’ or written so that the eye can encompass them. In practice, scores in staff notation with one voice-part per staff are not usually called tablatures unless they are for a solo keyboard instrument (see §2(v) below). The term is more often used for a condensed score in which two or more voice-parts are written or printed on a single staff or comparable area of the page, although when this consists entirely of staff notation it is more often called ‘keyboard score’ or (for concerted music) ‘short score’. The common use of the term ‘tablature’ therefore excludes these; the following article thus discusses any notational system of the last 700 years that uses letters, numbers or other signs as an alternative to conventional staff notation. Such systems were chiefly used for instrumental music; dance tablatures are beyond the scope of this article. For a discussion of tablature in its historical context, ...


Stanley Boorman, John A. Emerson, David Hiley, David Fallows, Thomas B. Payne, Elizabeth Aubrey, Lorenz Welker, Manuel Pedro Ferreira, Ernest H. Sanders, Peter M. Lefferts, Ursula Günther, Gilbert Reaney, Kurt von Fischer, Gianluca D’Agostino, Charles Hamm, Jerry Call, and Herbert Kellman

A manuscript source is one that is written by hand. Before the invention of printing, music was preserved either by oral transmission or by MS copies. There is no reason to believe that oral transmission preserves the same music for more than a few centuries, at least in the West, so that all our knowledge of medieval and early Renaissance music depends on MSS. From the start of printing until the work of Petrucci in 1501, almost all printed music was monophonic, mostly chant: even thereafter, however, there has remained a living tradition of the MS copying of certain repertories where printing would not have been economically feasible.

The present article comprises a preliminary discussion of the nature of MS sources and their significance for present-day musical research, followed by a series of sections that review the character and repertory of the main classes of MS in use before 1600...


Barry S. Brook

A thematic catalogue is an index to a group of musical compositions that incorporates citations of their opening notes (incipits), or principal melodic features (themes), or both. These citations may be given in various forms, such as conventional notes, neumes, tablatures, syllables, numbers, letters or computer codes.

In practice, defying etymology, most thematic catalogues are concerned with incipits rather than with themes. The semantic confusion arose in the late 18th century, when the terms ‘theme’ and ‘thematic catalogue’ were first regularly used. Because compositions almost always began with their main theme, the words ‘theme’ or ‘themata’ were treated as synonymous with what has only recently come to be called ‘incipit’. In the 18th century, they were used interchangeably with ‘initia’, ‘beginnings’, ‘commencements’, ‘Anfänge’, ‘subjects’ or ‘first few bars’. The combined term ‘thematic catalogue’ was first used in print by J.J. Hummel in 1768 for what was really an incipit index (but not the earliest: see §2(i) and (iii) below). In the 20th century, in the relatively few instances where true themes rather than incipits are catalogued, the adjective ‘thematic’ is avoided in the title (e.g. H. Barlow and S. Morgenstern: ...


Arthur J. Ness and C.A. Kolczynski

This is one of a group of articles that give an outline of the spread of music and the range of sources before c1600. While the bulk of music throughout the period is vocal (as far as is known) and is discussed in the article Sources, MS, there are still some repertories that were always distinct. The sources of lute music are perhaps the clearest to distinguish for, with few exceptions, they were written in a special range of notations that did not use the staff.

The terminal date adopted here is later than that for other articles in the group because many important repertories of lute music date from after 1600. Thus the repertory of the English golden age straddles the turn of the century, the principal French school flourished internationally in the 17th century, and a group of central European lutenists sustained the instrument as a viable medium well into the last decades of the 18th century....


Vincent Duckles, Jann Pasler, Glenn Stanley, Thomas Christensen, Barbara H. Haggh, Robert Balchin, Laurence Libin, Tilman Seebass, Janet K. Page, Lydia Goehr, Bojan Bujic, Eric F. Clarke, Susan McClary, Jean Gribenski, Carolyn Gianturco, Pamela M. Potter, David Fallows, Miloš Velimirović, Gary Tomlinson, Gerard Béhague, Masakata Kanazawa, and Peter Platt

(Fr. musicologieGer. Musikwissenschaft, MusikforschungIt. musicologia)

Vincent Duckles and Jann Pasler

The term ‘musicology’ has been defined in many different ways. As a method, it is a form of scholarship characterized by the procedures of research. A simple definition in these terms would be ‘the scholarly study of music’. Traditionally, musicology has borrowed from ‘art history for its historiographic paradigms and literary studies for its paleographic and philological principles’ (Treitler, 1995). A committee of the American Musicological Society (AMS) in 1955 also defined musicology as ‘a field of knowledge having as its object the investigation of the art of music as a physical, psychological, aesthetic, and cultural phenomenon’ (JAMS, viii, p.153). The last of these four attributes gives the definition considerable breadth, although music, and music as an ‘art’, remains at the centre of the investigation.

A third view, which neither of these definitions fully implies, is based on the belief that the advanced study of music should be centred not just on music but also on musicians acting within a social and cultural environment. This shift from music as a product (which tends to imply fixity) to music as a process involving composer, performer and consumer (i.e. listeners) has involved new methods, some of them borrowed from the social sciences, particularly anthropology, ethnology, linguistics, sociology and more recently politics, gender studies and cultural theory. This type of inquiry is also associated with ethnomusicology. Harrison (...


C. Matthew Balensuela

This article focusses on anonymous music theory texts written during the Western Middle Ages and early Renaissance (to about 1600), currently assumed to be anonymous and not closely associated with a known person, which have been edited and published in modern times.

Numerous artefacts of music have survived to modern times without clearly identifying their author. These include musical works, pictures, court records, theoretical treatises, and other documents. The corpus of anonymous theoretical works, therefore, comprises only a portion of all anonymous works in the history of music. In music theory, anonymous sources primarily span the time from antiquity to the early Renaissance, when texts were copied by hand. After the advent of printing, few theoretical works were transmitted anonymously.

Several groups of anonymous treatises are excluded from this article, such as works of ancient Greek, Byzantine, or Arabic music theory, works closely associated with named writers, and unpublished anonymous works. In addition, several significant anonymous works, such as the ...