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Journal Article

Adémar de Chabannes (989–1034) and Musical Literacy

James Grier
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Vol. 66, No. 3 (Fall 2013), pp. 605-638
DOI: 10.1525/jams.2013.66.3.605
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jams.2013.66.3.605
Page Count: 34
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Adémar de Chabannes (989–1034) and Musical Literacy
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Abstract

Abstract In the second half of 1027, Adémar de Chabannes contributed the musical notation to the production of an elaborate liturgical manuscript (currently Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS latin 1121) at the scriptorium of Saint Martial in Limoges. While doing so, he introduced the innovative technique of placing the neumes in strict alignment along the vertical axis of writing in accordance with their relative pitch. The accurate heighting of the neumes revolutionized the teaching of music at Saint Martial, and eventually throughout Aquitaine. Instead of relying on the rote communication of melodies from more experienced singers, younger musicians could turn to the visual transmission of chant through the medium of notation, now made more transparent by the use of accurate heighting. This article investigates the musical and intellectual context in which Adémar introduced the innovation of accurate heighting to the scriptorium at Saint Martial, the role of tonaries (now equipped with precise intervallic information) in musical pedagogy, and the impact of these devices on musical practices at Saint Martial through the eleventh century.

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