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The "Musica" of Hermannus Contractus

The "Musica" of Hermannus Contractus

Edited and Translated by Leonard Ellinwood
Revised with a New Introduction by John L. Snyder
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The "Musica" of Hermannus Contractus
    Book Description:

    Long recognized as one of the most important medieval treatises on music, the Musica of Hermannus Contractus is here presented in a newly revised translation, with commentary reflecting the best current scholarship. A polymath and monk, Hermannus Contractus (1013-54) contributed to the important advancements made in European arts and sciences in the first half of the eleventh century, writing on history, astronomy, and time-keeping devices, among other topics, and composing several chants. His music theory, founded on a systematic treatment of traditional concepts and terminology dating back to the ancient Greeks, is concerned largely with the organization of pitch in Gregorian chant. Hermann's approach stems from Germanic species-based thought, and is marked by a distinction between aspects of form and aspects of position, privileging the latter. He expresses this in terms imported from then-new developments in Italian music theory, thus acting as a nexus for the two traditions. Numerology and number symbolism play significant roles in Hermann's theories, and his critiques of other theorists offer insights into medieval intellectual life. Hermann also uses chant citations and exercises to help his readers apply theory to practice. John L. Snyder's revised edition of Ellinwood's long-standard 1952 text and translation offers a new introduction, including codicological descriptions of the sources; a critical edition of the Latin text with an annotated English translation on facing pages; appendices detailing the documents pertaining to Hermann's life, his citations of plainsong, and his original diastematic notation system; and greatly expanded indexes. Snyder's Musica will serve as the standard version of this major historical document for years to come. Leonard Ellinwood (1905-94) served in the Library of Congress cataloging divisions in music and in the humanities for thirty-five years. He published scholarly works and editions of both medieval music and church music. John L. Snyder is Professor of Music Theory and Musicology at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-646-2
    Subjects: Music
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface to Leonard Ellinwood’s 1952 Edition (pp. ix-x)
    L. E.
  4. Preface to the Second Edition (pp. xi-xii)
    J. L. S.
  5. Abbreviations (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. Introduction (pp. 1-60)

    Information concerning Hermann’s life survives principally in three documents, and there may be some iconographic evidence as well. Some of this information is open to interpretation and even to question; nevertheless, we have a more detailed picture of him than for most if not all other musicians of his time. A very important source is Hermann himself: among his works is a chronicle of world history, in which he mentions himself and some of his family on several occasions.² While the usual caveats concerning autobiographical data apply, Hermann’s information is not contradicted in other sources (though little of it can...

  7. Musica (pp. 61-142)

    In consideranda monochordi positione ea prima speculatio occurrit, quod omnis eius integritas quadruplo, id est bis diapason comprehenditur: quorum utrumque sesquialteri ac sesquitercii id est diapente et diatesseron collatione perficitur. Quare autem non ultra quadruplum extendatur, vel infra sesquitercium coartetur, haec est ratio: quod cum diapente et diatesseron unum diapason perficiant, diapason autem V tonis et duobus semitoniis, diapente vero tribus tonis et semitonio, diatesseron duobus tonis constet et semitonio, diapason autem duplicetur, non erunt deinceps consonantiae quae extensiores sint quadruplo aut contractiores ∥ sesquitercio. Solus qui has coniungat tonus sesquialteri videlicet ac sesquitercii differentia restat. Ergo in utroque diapason...

  8. Variantiae Figurarum (pp. 143-146)
  9. Variantiae Neumarum (pp. 147-154)
  10. Plates (pp. 155-160)
  11. Appendix 1: Biographical Documents in English Translation (pp. 161-168)
  12. Appendix 2: Chants Cited (pp. 169-176)
  13. Appendix 3: Hermann’s Diastematic Notation (pp. 177-182)
  14. Bibliography (pp. 183-196)
  15. Index Verborum (pp. 197-214)
  16. Index Cantuum (pp. 215-216)
  17. General Index (pp. 217-221)
  18. Back Matter (pp. 222-222)