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Article

Eckhard Neubauer

Arab family of musicians of Persian origin.

(b Kufa, 742; d Baghdad, 804). Arab musician of Persian origin. As his musical leanings did not meet with his family’s approval, he joined a group of vagabonds and travelling minstrels. He reached Mosul (whence his name al-Mawṣilī originates) and later went to Rayy (now part of Tehran), where he took lessons in Arab and Persian music. He became a musician and companion (nadīm) at the caliph’s court in Baghdad under al-Mahdī (775–85), al-Hādī (785–6) and Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809). For Hārūn, with whom he formed a personal friendship, he compiled with Ibn Jāmi‘ and another colleague the Al-mi’at al-ṣawt al-mukhtāra (‘The 100 selected songs’), which was the foundation for the Kitāb al-aghānī al-kabīr (‘Great book of songs’) of al-Iṣfahānī. As an upholder of the classical tradition in Arab music of the Hijaz region, he followed a different stylistic path from the innovator Ibn Jāmi‘. In his luxurious house he ran a music school with room for over 80 female students (...

Article

Cantio  

John Caldwell

(Lat.: ‘song’)

The word, of classical origin, was in frequent use throughout the Middle Ages to mean any kind of song, whatever its subject matter, language or musical style. It gave rise to vernacular terms including ‘canso(n)’ (Provênçal), ‘canzone’ (Italian) and ‘chanson’ (French), which also may be of wide general application. Dante (De vulgari eloquentia, II.viii), using the word ‘cantio’ as the Latin equivalent of these, limits its application to the high-style strophic song. From the 14th century onwards it came to be applied more specifically to sacred, non-liturgical Latin song, strophic in form and usually with a refrain. In modern musicological literature it has sometimes been used in a comparatively wide sense to refer to monophonic art songs in Latin from the 10th century onwards (Stevens, 1986), but more often to refer to late medieval religious songs of the kind collected in cantionalia (and books denoted by equivalent vernacular terms) from the 14th to the 16th centuries (...

Article

Michel Huglo and Joan Halmo

In Latin Christian chant generally, a liturgical chant with a prose text, sung in association with a psalm. In Gregorian psalmody, for example, psalms and canticles are usually preceded and followed by a single antiphon, and the psalm tone used for the recitation of the psalm itself is often musically incomplete without the antiphon. Antiphons of this kind may be regarded as typical and are represented above all by the Gregorian antiphons to the psalms of Matins, Lauds and Vespers in the Divine Office. There are also other categories of antiphon, some of which may lack psalmody or have versified texts.

The antiphon and responsory are the two musical genres with Latin prose texts that occur in all the Western liturgies and are the most abundant within the chant repertory. A given medieval Office source might have as many as 1500 antiphons, and even up to 2000; such a large number could occur in a monastic usage, whereas the secular (or canons') repertory would generally have fewer (see §4 below)....

Article

Howard Mayer Brown, David Hiley, Christopher Page, Kenneth Kreitner, Peter Walls, Janet K. Page, D. Kern Holoman, Robert Winter, Robert Philip and Benjamin Brinner

A term adapted from the German Aufführungspraxis (in America the usage ‘performance practice’ is generally preferred).

As applied to Western music, the subject involves all aspects of the way in which music is and has been performed, and its study is of particular importance to the modern performer concerned with historically informed performance. Topics that may be considered aspects of performing practice include notational ones (i.e. the relationship between written notes and the sounds they symbolize, especially such matters as rhythm, tempo and articulation); improvisation and ornaments; instruments, their history and physical structure and the ways in which they are played; voice production; matters of tuning, pitch and temperament; and ensembles, their size, disposition, and the modes in which they are directed. Performing practice is generally approached through the study of treatises and instruction books, critical writings and iconographical material, as well as actual instruments and music. The present article summarizes the issues involved in different periods; particular topics relevant to instruments and their use are treated in separate entries....