Machaut (Prelims) lecture 4

Podlecture 4 is about notation.

Showing longs in the refrain of B12 in C, f.163r

Podlecture 4: Machaut’s notational technology

A reminder that for Oxford students, the reading is available via ORLO.

For an overview of theory in this period, see:
• Herlinger, Jan. “Music Theory of the Fourteenth and Early Fifteenth Centuries.” In Music as Concept and Practice in the Late Middle Ages, edited by Reinhard Strohm and Bonnie J. Blackburn. The New Oxford History of Music, 244-300. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Editions and translations of Philippe de Vitry’s theory
• Reaney, Gilbert. “The Ars Nova of Philippe de Vitry.” Musica Disciplina 10 (1956): 5-34.
• Plantinga, Leo. “Philippe de Vitry’s “Ars Nova”: A Translation.” Journal of Music Theory 5, no. 2 (1961): 204-23.
• Gray, John Douglas. “The Ars Nova Treatises Attributed to Philippe de Vitry: Translations and Commentary.” PhD dissertation, University of Colorado, 1996.

The argument about Vitry’s treatise
• Fuller, Sarah. “A Phantom Treatise of the Fourteenth Century? The Ars Nova.” Journal of Musicology 30 (1985-6): 23-50.
• Desmond, Karen. “Did Vitry write an Ars vetus et nova?”. Journal of Musicology 32, no. 4 (2015): 441-93.

On Jean de Murs
• Desmond, Karen. Music and the moderni, 1300–1350: The ars nova in Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2018.
• Desmond, Karen, C. Philipp E. Nothaft, and Matthieu Husson. “Jean des Murs’s Quadrivial Pursuits: Introduction.” Erudition and the Republic of Letters 4 (2019): 1-12.
• Desmond, Karen. “Jean des Murs and the Three Libelli on Music in BnF lat. 7378A: A Preliminary Report.” Erudition and the Republic of Letters 4 (2019): 40-63.

On Jacobus
• Desmond, Karen. “New light on Jacobus, Author of Speculum musicae“. Plainsong and Medieval Music 9/1 (2000): 19–40. doi:10.1017/s0961137100000024
• Bent, Margaret. Magister Jacobus de Ispania, author of the Speculum musicae. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2015.
• Wegman, Rob C. “Jacobus de Ispania and Liège”. Journal of the Alamire Foundation 8 (2016): 253-276.

On the updating of ars antiqua notation, see:
• Desmond, Karen. “‘One is the loneliest number…’: The Semibreve Stands Alone.” Early Music 46, no. 3 (2018): 403-16.

On Machaut’s notational practice, see:
• my notation tutorials at
• the notes about editorial approaches in the new Machaut edition.

For specific uses, see:
• Leach 2011, pp.152-4.
• Stokes, Jordan. “In Search of Machaut’s Poietics: Music and Rhetoric in Le Remede de Fortune.Journal of Musicology 31, no. 4 (2014): 395-430.
• Stone, Anne. “Music Writing and Poetic Voice in Machaut: Some Remarks on B12 and R14.” In Machaut’s Music: New Interpretations, edited by Elizabeth Eva Leach. 125-38. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2003.


Check you know what or who the following are:

1. modus, tempus, prolation
2. the ‘four prolations’ (this requires a subscription; if you don’t have one, see links for no.1)
3. coloration
4. imperfection
5. alteration
6. Philippe de Vitry or, if you don’t have a Grove Music online subscription, use Wiki
7. Jean des Murs or, if you don’t have a Grove Music Online subscription, use Wiki
8. papal schism
9. Jacobus or, if you don’t have a Grove Music Online subscription, use Wiki, which is actually MORE UP-TO-DATE on the recent scholarly arguments!
10. ars antiqua or, if you don’t have a Grove Music Online subscription, use Wiki 


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