2. Problematic Places with Different Readings and Solutions

Within the central manuscript tradition, one encounters locations where no manuscript presents a clear and unproblematic reading. Such places are especially hard to resolve in a monophonic context, where voice-alignment and harmonic considerations are not present.

One such case is the beginning of strophe X of L19. The following diagram presents the readings in the different sources:

The only reading that can be fitted into the overall mensural pattern can be found in the musical repetition marking the middle of the strophe, where MS A omits the first rest (in brackets above), probably mistakenly. As it stands, this beginning requires either a mensural or conceptual adjustment. A strict reading of MS C requires the third bar of this section to be shortened.

Sound and Score     ¦     Facsimile

A strict reading of the other sources – exemplified through the version in MS E requires the first bar to be extended to include four beats.

Sound and Score     ¦     Facsimile

The conceptual adjustment adopted for the edition – applied here on MS A – understands the first note of the strophe as an upbeat even though it is not notated as such. To compensate for this, the rest at the end of the previous section is shortened. This arrangement allows for the rest of the strophe to be read without problem.

Sound and Score     ¦     Facsimile

This kind of reading is further discussed in connection with un-notated upbeats here. For another case of all sources presenting unclear versions (rather than actual mistakes), see here.


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."