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Anonymous IV as an Informant on the Craft of Music Writing

JOHN HAINES
The Journal of Musicology
Vol. 23, No. 3 (Summer 2006), pp. 375-425
DOI: 10.1525/jm.2006.23.3.375
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jm.2006.23.3.375
Page Count: 51
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Anonymous IV as an Informant on the Craft of Music Writing
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Abstract

ABSTRACT For the 13th-century music writer known as Anonymous IV, the craft of music writing was a primary literary concern, though one virtually ignored by previous modern writers on music. The importance of music writing to Anonymous IV is evident from the variety and quantity of references in his treatise, many of which are found in its central second chapter. This information-rich chapter includes a history of music notation and a miniature handbook for music scribes. The Anonymous is indebted to the then recent surge in production of how-to manuals of all kinds; his miniature handbook for music scribes partakes of their style and vocabulary. This practical work of Anonymous IV is tied to the revival of Euclidean geometry in the liberal arts curriculum at Paris. The specialized geometric terms he uses are attested in numerous sources, including student handbooks from the university. It is possible that the anonymous writer came under the spell of Roger Bacon, also an Englishman at the University of Paris in the late 13th century, whose writing and pedagogy reveal several similarities with the music treatise of Anonymous IV.

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