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Musica e liturgia a Montecassino nel medioevo

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to announce the publication of the Proceeding of the recent International Symposium 'Musica e liturgia a Montecassino nel medioevo' (Music and liturgy at Montecassino in the Middle Ages).

The Publisher has reserved a 15% discount for purchase on their site.

Best wishes,

Nicola Tangari

Musica e liturgia a Montecassino nel medioevo
(Music and liturgy at Montecassino in the Middle Ages)
a cura di Nicola Tangari
Atti del Simposio internazionale di studi (Cassino, 9-10 dicembre 2010)

Collana: Scritture e libri del medioevo, 102012, p. 324, ill. b/w, music, 17x24 cm
ISBN: 9788883349324
€ 40,00 (15% discount on publisher site: € 34,00)

The Abbey of Montecassino has been for centuries the center of development and spread of particular traditions in music, liturgy, literature, paleography and art. Even today the monastery, with its remarkable collection of books, represents the cultural history of southern Europe from the high Middle Ages to the present day. The studies on liturgical music in Montecassino have received over the past twenty years a considerable increase both in quantity and with respect to research topics, which were extended to include the history of liturgy, musical paleography and textual criticism. These investigations have opened up new questions and new areas of research, which in turn call further investigation.

This book contains the papers read during the International Symposium “Musica e liturgia a Montecassino nel medioevo” which was held at the University of Cassino from 9 to 10 December 2010 and was attended by leading international experts of the liturgical music of Montecassino. Starting from the current state of knowledge, the main purpose of the Symposium was to illustrate the ongoing studies and indicate the most fruitful perspectives of research, highlighting the importance of the sources of Montecassino for the history of medieval liturgical music.

  • Thomas Forrest Kelly, Preface
  • Nicola Tangari, Musica e liturgia a Montecassino nel medioevo: vent’anni di ricerca
  • David Hiley, The Historia sancte Caterine in MS Napoli, Biblioteca Nazionale, XIII.G.24. The Earliest Proper Office for St Catherine of Alexandria?
  • Angelo Rusconi, Per un’edizione di Montecassino 318
  • Laura Albiero, Frammenti liturgico-musicali nel Martirologio dell’Assunta di Arpino
  • Marie-Noël Colette, Des signes cassiniens dans les manuscrits de Saint-Maur au XIIe siècle
  • Gunilla Iversen, Tropes and Prosulas to Gloria in excelsis in Montecassino
  • Luisa Nardini, La messa Vir Dei Benedictus nei manoscritti liturgici beneventani e non beneventani
  • Katarina Livljanic, When Isaac Speaks: the Responsory Dixit Isaac patri suo in the Montecassino Antiphonary
  • Matthew Peattie, Beneventan Melodic Symptoms in Antiphons at Montecassino
  • Brian Møller Jensen, Non-biblical Introit Antiphons in Cassinese Liturgical Sources
  • Roger E. Reynolds, Liturgical Legislation and Musicians in the Early Medieval Canon Law Collections of Montecassino
  • Francesco Zimei, «Da Montecassino all’Umbria». Nuova luce sul Planctus della Compactio XVIII
  • Jean-François Goudesenne, Montecassino-Glanfeuil-Paris. Circulation et différenciation d’un corpus romano-bénédictin aux IXe-Xe siècles: l’office de saint Maur
  • Oliver Gerlach, Byzantine Chant and Its Local Traditions in Southern Italy before and after the Reform of Desiderius, Abbot of Montecassino
  • Marco Palma, BMB, a Tool for Beneventan Manuscripts
  • Giacomo Baroffio, Conclusioni
  • Bibliografia generale (General bibliography)
  • Indice dei nomi e dei luoghi (Index of names and places)
  • Indice dei brani (Index of pieces)
  • Indice dei manoscritti (Index of manuscripts)

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Please have a look at the detailed review by
Varelli, Giovanni. « Nicola Tangari, ed., Musica e liturgia a Montecassino nel medioevo. Rome: Viella, 2012. 322 pp. €40. ISBN 978 8 883 34932 4. » Plainsong and Medieval Music 22, no 02 (2013): 237‑240. doi:10.1017/S0961137113000053 (

Je lis tranquillement le livre, et hier soir j'ai lu l'article sur les signes de ponctuation.

L'Auteur fait remarquer les correspondances dans la "prose" d'un répons entre les points et les distinctions musicales, points qui ne correspondent pas aux nécessités de la grammaire, et elle en déduit un caractère "musical", comme des indications d'articulation, voire de respiration à l'intention des chantres.

Malheureusement, elle ne s'est pas aperçue du fait capital, que la "prose" n'est pas en prose, mais en vers métriques examètres ! Les points indiquent la fin des vers et, dans un cas, la césure. La fin de la "prose" sort du schéma métrique, car elle fait simplement le lien avec le texte du répons. Une des sources citées d'ailleurs transforme cette conclusion pour en faire aussi un examètre complet :

Victima non paret     quid uis pater ergo litare

An placet ut natum    dirum licet hoc uideatur

Non contradico  faueo pietatis amico

Et fio uictima holocausti

[Vnicus infausti     fio uictima mox holocausti]

Ce fait est capital, car il induit la suspicion que les vers et la musique de la "neume" ont été composés en même temps. La "prose" donc, techniquement, n'en serait pas une, mais il s'agirait plutôt d'un trope. Et le mystère des points serait résolu de la plus simple des manières...

PS. Varelli, dans sa récension, ne semble pas avoir remarqué ce problème

I always wondered, why all reviewers only mentioned one half of my contribution, the one about Beneventan sources, not the other one where I did reconstruct the melody of the Canon by San Nilo da Rossano in honour of St Benedict of Nursia, the one he used to introduce his own Greek community at the Abbey Montecassino.

Is it that they only study Latin traditions or did they not read the whole article?

Reviewers often have to battle against word limits, Oliver, and we must select the essential information. Usually a sentence more on a particular contribution could cause others to be described unfairly partially. Having said so, I am sorry that your paper was not represented appropriately: it is up to the reader to find out more and I am sure it will certainly be the case of your article. Lastly, yes, I personally study only Latin traditions and I believe that to do this properly a whole life is not enough: chapéu to those who can do both at high standards. Best, Giovanni

Oliver Gerlach said:

I always wondered, why all reviewers only mentioned one half of my contribution, the one about Beneventan sources, not the other one where I did reconstruct the melody of the Canon by San Nilo da Rossano in honour of St Benedict of Nursia, the one he used to introduce his own Greek community at the Abbey Montecassino.

Is it that they only study Latin traditions or did they not read the whole article?

Dear Giovanni,

Thank you for your kind answer.

I would not have written anything, if you were the only reviewer who did so. Since I am a "reviewer" myself (this month even for two monographic studies), I know that there are many very different ways (I sometimes simply adapt to the expectations of those who ask me for a review). Some do reduce themselves to describe simply, what the authors did, others have the subject in mind, in this case "Music and liturgy at Montecassino in the Middle Ages", and also describe, how the contributors dealt with it. It usually includes to discuss critically all contributions, drawing perspectives for further research. There might be controversial contributions which take more space... probably because they need a more critical discussion than others. It does not necessarily mean that the discussed contributor perceives such a discussion as a privilege (getting criticised is indeed a very lucky case in our discipline, because our "enemies" are the most precious presents we can get, although not everybody understands that they are). 

Concerning all reviews of these proceedings, I did wonder about the unfairly partial treatment concerning the Byzantinist and Latinist part of my contribution. Even if you did a review focussed on the topic, there is no justification for it, because the Greek monks around San Nilo and their own community located on the estates of Montecassino were definitely part of the conference's issue. You just abandoned them like did San Nilo (only he did it, because he was disgusted that they did prosper too much, evidently they were not up to his high standards of asceticism, he was well known for his very radical way).

But even if some reviewers think that Latin palæography is enough to understand the music history of this continent (which is the case for musicology all over Germany, and one of the reasons, why German language has no longer any importance in this discipline, I could not imagine that Thodberg would publish his doctoral thesis in a German translation today), I would always recommend to take particular care of contributions from neighbouring disciplines, in this case Latin hymnography, studies of canon law, but also Byzantine studies.

I remember that Thomas Kelly once said to me during this conference that he and other colleagues did integrate Byzantine studies, as if I had reproached him that they did not. It was the first time I got suspicious, but all reviews I read did actually confirm it.

You know that I adore your work, but in this case I see no way to return your compliments.

Dear Oliver, 

your reply is illuminating for many different aspects, thank you. I also think that, in the end, it is wholly part of the academic dialogue for reviewers to be then 'reviewed' by authors. And I am glad to have had your direct response. 

A presto, 


Of course, you can also just put the titles in a period, and you have the review of Richard Gyug (you find his review also at Viella). The interesting part is the last paragraph, but one might wonder what has he read except the titles, if you read conclusions like these:

Despite the impression that Montecassino was a leader in supplanting the regional culture, it is increasingly clear that the abbey integrated Roman influences with the local musical culture to create a distinctive local idiom.

Although it is true, that Rome was the place, where such an influence could be established (Desiderius was the only Beneventan abbot who became Pope, the other abbots were educated in monasteries close to the current borders of Germany and France), it was definitely not a Roman influence as far as we speak about the liturgical chant.

This is just to tell you, that your review was actually still the best.

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