Rondeaux et Virelais Codex de Chypre

Bonjour !


Je vous invite à découvrir notre publication des "Rondeaux et Virelais (Vol1)" du Torino J.II.9 (Codex de Chypre) en transcription diplomatique. C'est édité chez l'Italien Ut Orpheus, collection "Opus Artis Novae".

Nous proposons là, avec Germana Schiassi et Cécile Beaupain, une nouvelle collection de polyphonies en transcription diplomatique, présentation à laquelle je crois particulièrement pour la compréhension et la pédagogie du système proportionnel.


L'édition est entièrement bilingue (Français-Anglais), et inclut outre la traduction des textes, un guide pratique pour apprendre à lire les figures et mesures employées, mais aussi quelques mécanismes des subtilités mises en œuvre... (cf. "repères de lecture" en annexes).


Au plaisir de lire vos commentaires, suggestions ou critiques...





You need to be a member of Musicologie Médiévale to add comments!

Join Musicologie Médiévale

Email me when people reply –


  • I like very much the attempt at a diplomatic transcription, and laud the inclusion of translations. Even just the use of original note values I regard as a valuable step forward.


    The publication of the three-page Preface in English and three sample pages of music have allowed me to think of some ways I might do things differently.

    • A font could be created to resemble the calligraphy of the main scribe. The present font looks a bit like that of Attaignant's Tabulature d'orgues of 1531.
    • The 'barline' strokes look too much like semibreve rests.
    • I would put the punctus divisionis on the barline (where it coincides), corresponding to its function, not before it (as normally) or after it (page 4, cantus, breve 15). Some puncti have been removed, like those after a semibreve has been imperfected by a minim, for example. By deciding, apparently, what is redundant, the editors have implicitly defined what they think is the state of development of mensural notation in this manuscript. This stance I would like to see set out in the Preface.
    • The shortest notes could be much closer together, e.g. page 6, breve 11. The denser the score, the more easily the musical line can be followed. The manuscript is, of course, is very compactly written.
    • Note spacing, in general, is not very consistent, e.g. page 4, tenor, breve 15 and cantus, breve 16. These places would be improved by the use of strictly proportional spacing. Altered minims do not always get any extra space, e.g. page 4, cantus, breves 2 & 4.
    • Why not retain the use of the custos? It was very commonly used because it was useful.

    The texts have consonantal 'í' & 'u' transcribed as 'j' & 'v'. Personifications (Amours, Espoir) have been capitalised and some accents have been added. It would be nice to be able to read about the principles of transcription in the Preface. I would sometimes use different underlay, e.g.

    • Page 5, breve 6, I would sing the "que" on the first note to mark the cadence on g.
    • Page 6 "Est revenue ... plaisir" I would end on the f cadence in breve 11, as is the cliché, and as the manuscript appears to show; to accommodate the extra syllable I would perhaps split the ligature at the start of the phrase in this case.
    I would be more creative in suggestions for musica ficta, though I know there can be disagreement on this point. E.g. on page 5,
    • Contratenor, breve 2, g natural, clashing with the tenor: the contra's cadence is one breve later; her the line is important, as is clearer when singing from a single part.
    • Tenor, breve 4, c sharp, in imitation of the cantus; the contratenor then also imitates.
    • Contratenor, breve 5, b flat, descending to a cadence on d dorian.
    • Tenor breve 9, b flat, probably in dorian still.
    • Contratenor, breve 11, c sharp; cadence figure, cadencing with tenor.
    • Cantus,and therefore possibly contratenor too, breve 12, b flat, descending in dorian; anyway, cantus takes precedence over contratenor.

    On page 6, breve 6, there is I think an error. The transcription of the contratenor as it stands can not be justified by the notation, even taking into account two tiny puncti (not transcribed, and perhaps not intended as such) in the manuscript. The second minim of the contratenor has to be altered, causing (perhaps acceptable) dissonance. Amending the second note of the tenor to b flat, however, would avoid dissonance with contratenor and parallel fifths with the cantus, and would produce an arguably more normal line.

    I have a few remarks about the Preface. The editors open by noting the difficulty of access to sources and their facsimiles, but in the case of text underlay recommend "the performer … consult the fac-simile [sic] (or the original) if necessary."


    It is not true that "with the exception of the conduits [sic] and organae [sic] … the rest of the [corpus of European] polyphony … is presented in separate parts". English music of the 14th and 15th centuries, for example, is often also found in score.


    There are a few minor mistakes ("majorisation [sic] of the 6th going to an octave or a fifth" and the mention of b natural or flat in the discussion of musica ficta; "J.II.9 is a volume of 159 [recte 160] large-framed [sic] folios") and typographical errors ("french", "Kark Kügle"). "Universitaria de Turin" seems to combine three languages and faulty syntax. The translations of the musical texts are, I hope, less error-prone.


    Though it is often clear what is meant, every paragraph could have benefited from revue by a native speaker. I found some sentences rather tough, however –

    information is added while taking away other elements essential to understanding in the original language and which permit to interpret those elements which may have helped the emergence of the musical act and its conceptualisation, without knowing, naturally, if the concept precedes or follows the act.



    Regarding the rationale behind this edition, I would argue that "to facilitate its polyphonic comprehension", medieval music should rather be heard and not seen. The use of "the score layout ... for … the determination of the addition of accidentals [i.e. music ficta] and also to facilitate the performers' task of realisation when the practical demands of musical rehearsal must be met" is not historically attested and is in practice counterproductive, since when faced with a score, musicians are tempted to watch the music instead of listen. A set of parts would be more practical, and would bring us closer to the original experience.


    Better still, we could sing and play from an edition of the manuscript page in all its glory, not more difficult to read than these transcriptions, and more inspiring. Perhaps it is time to start publishing corrected and readable reconstructions of manuscripts.

This reply was deleted.


and your logo here...

 We need other partners !


Soutenir et adhérer à l'Association Musicologie Médiévale !

Support and join The Musicologie Médiévale Association!