iv. The Notation (or Otherwise) of Rhythmic Structures

Questions pertaining to the notation of rhythm are not commonly as present in performers’ and scholars’ minds as are those relating to musica ficta. This is perhaps due to the less obvious need for edition-users to input their thoughts on the matter, even though one can argue that because the effect on an edition (and hence on analysis and performance) can be rather large, consideration of these issues should be more commonplace. Here too, little agreement is found between the different commentators. As a result, a number of problematic aspects of the music (at least when it comes to editing it) are presented with some more and some less controversial commentaries. These include the need for integrating un-notated mensuration changes into the reading of some works to make sense of their notation, the question of Modus in the songs and whether it should be applied as a metric unit if not necessarily a notational one, parallels for this problem in instances of irregular Tempus groupings, and the very act of choosing a mensuration for the transcription of notationally ambivalent cases including the possibility of un-notated upbeats. Some special cases are also examined that combine a number of issues.


Uri Smilansky


***********************STOP PRESS!!!!!!!!************************

The Complete Poetry and Music of Guillaume de Machaut Volume 1 is out now!!!!

Volume 1: The Debate Poems is now available in print.

You can also enjoy the entire volume online via the Middle English Texts Website.

Edited and translated by R. Barton Palmer, with art historical commentary by Domenic Leo, and musical commentary by Uri Smilansky, the volume contains  Le Jugement dou Roy de Behaigne, Le Jugement dou Roy de Navarre, and Le Lay de Plour.




The Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript

Full colour facsimile with introductory study by Lawrence Earp, Domenic Leo and Carla Shapreau. Preface by Christopher de Hamel

"It is a vast manuscript of royal luxury, 390 leaves of parchment, 314 mm. by 220 mm., illustrated with 118 enchanting miniatures by a workshop of court illuminators led by the Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy.They include pictures of gothic chivalry and romance, with mythology and natural history. Music is included on 235 pages of the manuscript, with almost the entire corpus of the ballades, lais and motets of Machaut, as well as his great polyphonic setting of the Mass, the four-part Messe de Nostre-Dame.The manuscript has never before been photographed in its entirety or reproduced in colour."

"Vol. 1 introductory study (225 pages colour/mono), vol. 2 facsimile (789 full colour pages) on 150gsm matt art paper. Full size reproduction, hard bound in buckram, presented in hard slipcover."

Available now from DIAMM Publications.

The Art of Grafted Song: Citation and Allusion in the Age of Machaut by Yolanda Plumley

Available now from Oxford University Press

"Presents the first detailed exploration of citational practices in the song-writing tradition of fourteenth-century France. The first monograph-length study on the Ars nova chanson with new evidence about the emergence of the new polyphonic chanson. Provides new evidence about the circle of poets and composers who engaged with Machaut and created a new style of poetry and song. Explores little studied collections of lyrics and songs of the period and provides fresh insights and perspectives on Machaut's works."