Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/844

This page needs to be proofread.




torculiis (phirpil one ovit the iitlior) arc only graphi- rally dilTi'ivnt from tlic |i(s iiiul clivis. On the first svllalilf of it/uas a Iristoplia lakes tlic |)la«' of the t'rigoii. On I he sooonil syllabic of dicil tlu> MS. omits tho last note of the print. On the second syllable of dominus the disjoint punctum and clivis correspond to the conjoint torculus. The second figure on non is a liquescent torculus. It begins below with the gravis to which the acutus is attached in the usual manner, but the last, liquescent, gravis is represented by a curve to the left of the acutus. The remaining slight difTerences are like those already explained.

As hiis been sufficiently indicated, t he neums merely marked the rise or fall of the melody. They gave, in themselves, no clear information as to the exact amount of rise and fall, in other words, they did not mark the intervals. A |)Oilatus, e. g., may indicate a second, a third, a fourth or a fifth without change in its form. This may now be accepted as an established fact. The various efforts made from time to time, most recently by Fleischer in his "Neumenstudien", to find interval signification in the neums, have failed completely. It is clear then, that at no time could the melody be read absolutely from the neumatic notation. Kather this served merely as an aid to memory. Nor did the choir sing from the notation. The MS. was only for the choir-master, or at most for the solo singer. The whole body of the Plain Chant mcNidies had to be committed to memory in the re- hearsing room, and we know from contemporary writers that it took a singer several years to become acquainted with all the melodies. In the course of time, as oral tradition began to grow less reliable, a desire was felt to have also the amount of rise or fall fixed. Accordingly we find even at the date of our earliest MSS. the use of letters, added to the neums, to warn the singer here and there as to the intervals, as we have mentioned above. These indications, how- ever, were again merely vague and could not finally satisfy. Various efforts which space forbids us to de- tail here, were then made to supplement the neumatic notation. All of them, however, were destined to dis- appear before the introduction of a new principle, which was to distinguish the higher or lower pitch of the tones by the higher or lower position of the notes, grading the distances between the notes in strict ac- cordance with the intervals. Attempts in this direc- tion can be noticed even in the class of MSS. which have been considered up to this. Our example of Metz notation shows pretty clearly an endeavour on the part of the scribe to place the notes according to pitch. The full, systematic carrying out of this idea is found in the tenth century, first in the Lombardic notation, shortly afterwards in the Aquitanian. Illus- tration V, taken from an eleventh-century Versicu- iary and Prosary from St. Martial in Limoges ("Pal. Mus.", II, pi. 80) belongs to the latter class, which is further characterized by the almost complete dis- joining of the neums. There being no clef, the semi- tones cannot be found from the notation. Hut apart from that the intervals can be read without difficulty, it being kept in mind that notes placed perpendicularly should be read ilownwards, as in the Melz notation. A few remarks will suffice to point out t he difference between the MS. and the reading of the Vaticana given above. On pnhnu the .\I8. gives a liquescent note, on the first syllable of winunciandum it has a podatus fa c, or d f, as this notation should be read a fifth lower) instead of a single note; in the last, a podatus instead of an epiphonus. The first grouj) on mane is the same as in the Vaticana, the lowest mark being a mere blot. In the third group the MS. has a fourth (c g, or f c) instead of a third (b g). After the fifth group there is an omission of the whole passage which in our .staff notation example is placed between the two little bars at the end of the second line. Such omissions are not uncommon, it being supposed that

the singer knew frequently-occurring long neumata by heart. The omission is indicalcd in Ihc MS. by the little perpendicular line. t)n tin- lirsl syllalil<> of mia- ericordiam, the first two notes of tlie Vaticana are omitted. At the end of the line we observe the cus- tos, indicating the pitch of the first note of the second line. On luam there is again an omission of a whole group indicated as above. On vcrilcitem the fourth dot is an accidental blot. At the end of the second luam the MSS. has a third (f d) instead of a fourth (c g). The final ni-unia is left incomplete.

This procedure solved in principle the problem of diasteniatic (interval) notation. Kor greater con- venience, however, scribes soon began to draw hori- zontal lines which helped to facilitate the correct plac- ing and reading of I he notes. It was the work of the Benedictine monk (luidoof Arezzo (about 1000) to fix the of tlies<' lines finally in such a way that ad- jacent lines mark the interval of a third, the interven- ing note being placed between the two lines, betters were also affixed to the beginning of the staff to give the alphabetical name of one or s<' places on the staff and thus to indicate the position of the semitones. Soon c and f were used for this j)urp(ise by preference and out of them by a graphic transformation, our present C and F (bass) clefs evolved. Later the letter g was employed, which through the addition of an ornamental flourish developetl into the modern violin clef. In the beginning, however, the f and c lines were run over with various colours, or if f fell into space, a coloured line w:is drawn between the e and g lines.

In the staff thus perfected the neums were written according to the forms that had been previously in use in the various localities, such modifications being introduced as were necessary to mark the exact posi- tion of the notes, notably the thickening of the head of the acutus. Illustration VI, taken from a twelfth- century Gradual of St. Evroult ("Pal. Mus.", Ill, pi. 194), shows the process clearly. It has four dry lines drawn on the parchment, of which the one for f was coloured red, that for c green. The other two lines have the clef letters a and e.

From the thirteenth century the notes began to be written larger, so that they might be read by a num- ber of singers at the same time. The thickening of the strokes at the exact place the notes occupy also became more pronounced. Thus gradually in the Latin coun- tries the type shown in the foregoing illustration evolved which is practically the one adopted in our modern chant books.

Illustration VII ("Pal. Mus.", Ill, pi. 207 B) is taken from a fourteenth-century plenary Missal be- longing to Notre Dame in Paris. In the first line on the right-hand column the group a c b g has been written twice by mistake. Of interest is the disap- pearaniM' of the (luili.sma at the end of the final neuma, also the substitution of c for b on JUirchil at the end of the group on per (which word is written a little too far to the left). ration VIII ("Pal. Mus.", Ill, pi. 146) shows the peculiar type of notation which developed in Germany and is called Hufnagelschrift (horseshoe- nail writing). The illustration is from a Gradual written at Trier in 1435. There are five black lines, but the f line was coloured red. The illustration shows clearly that a second line was drawn over the first. In the third staff we find the g clef and the red f line drawn in the space between e and g. Melodi- cally the frequent svibstitutes of <■ for b is remarkable on Justus, twice on florebit, on cedrus, etc.). This is a peculiarity of the German tradition.

For the rhythmic signification of the neums see the article on Plain Chant.

The principal work on the subject is the PaUographie MusicaU, publi.iheil in quarterly issues since 1889, first at .Solesmes, after- wards at Tnurnai. An exhaustive list of the earlier literature is given in the preface to the first volume. Supplemental to this are