Academic journal article Notes

Introduction to Early Medieval Notation

Academic journal article Notes

Introduction to Early Medieval Notation

Article excerpt

Introduction to Early Medieval Notation. By Constantin Floros. (Detroit Monographs in Musicology/Studies in Music, No. 45.) Enlarged Second Edition. Revised, Translated and with an illustrated chapter on Chei - ronomy by Neil K. Moran. Warren, Michigan: Harmonie Park Press, 2005. [xxiv, 145 p. ISBN 0-89990-129-8. $35.] Tables, music examples, illustrations, bibliography, index.

This newly published book in English translation by Constantin Floros is an important reference tool on the history, theory, and paleography of neume studies. It opens new horizons in the field of medieval chant and launches new research initiatives. The author studies the three major early chant traditions that developed notational systems and are transmitted in numerous musical sources: Byzantine, Latin, and Slavonic. The approach to this material is quite innovative; Floros insists on thorough study of the neume repertories based on an interdisciplinary and comparative methodology. The theory of neumes is considered not simply as a paleographical discipline, but as a theory of musical figures and their musical meaning, a statement, which is proved in the course of the entire book. Problems from the field of history, theory and palaeography of music, liturgy, linguistics, theology, archeology, and cultural anthropology are sharply outlined. The systematization and classification of the neumatic notations are based on a series of objective criteria. It is always the musical text and the historical evidence that control the research and conclusions. The author shows that the connections between early Byzantine church music and the music of the Western church are much closer than one had assumed. Thus new perspectives on the study of medieval music between East and West are opened.

Byzantine, Slavonic, and Latin neume notations are presented in three major chapters. The development of the Byzan - tine notation, according to changes from the tenth to the nineteenth centuries, is divided into four stages that are confirmed in Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian, Walachian, and Moldavian sources. Floros's classification of the stages of Paleobyzantine notation was recognized as the standard classification in 1992 and this is among the greatest achievements of his research. …

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