The Berkeley Manuscript: University of California Music Library, Ms. 744 (Olim Phillipps 4450)

Synopsis

Completed in Paris in 1375, this important manuscript combing several musical treatises was kept in private hands until the 1960s, when it was sold to the University of California at Berkeley and at last became readily accessible to scholars. This is the first complete edition and translation of the manuscript to be published, and extensive notes, a critical introduction, and indexes rerum et verborum augment the volume. Inasmuch as some of the treatises appear in later manuscripts located in Britain, Belgium, and Italy, full collations are provided. An appendix reviews more distantly related manuscripts. This edition will make widely available a collection of treatises that has already revised the history of music theory and practice.

The treatises collected in the Berkeley Manuscript ( olim Phillipps 4450) consider topics as fundamental and diverse as counterpoint, notation, tuning, chant, and speculative matters, for example, the history of the development of the scale. There is thorough coverage of the doctrine of coiuncta, which provides a means for accounting for chromatic accidentals in music, previously thought to be an invention of a century later. The discussion of tuning suggests the possibility of equal temperament some two centuries earlier than had been assumed.

Two plates illustrate the edition. The first depicts musical instruments of the fourteenth century; the second provides a representative example of the handwritten manuscript.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Lincoln, NE
Publication year:
  • 1984