b. Interpretation and creativity

This section spotlights changes in ficta that do not rely on the application of theoretically codified concepts to purely musical analysis of the works in question. Instead, it presents changes that amplify existing tendencies in the music or are inserted due to other expressive or technical parameters such as the work’s text, or the instrumentation chosen for its execution. As much of the theoretical codification work is retrospective (both in terms of medieval theorists trying to regulate usage and modern researchers attempting to reconstruct it), this kind of approach can be seen as central to the original attitudes of musicians to their materials. It can even be argued that practical medieval musicians were likely also to approach all the more technical aspects of ficta adding presented above as amplification or a full reading of their given materials, which are inevitably reliant on external forces such as a performance’s context and function.

The section is divided further to discuss inflection designed to support and amplify effects already present in the music, ficta additions reliant on textual links or the need for variety, the treatment of intentionally difficult passages, inflections justified only by personal taste (which I named "Because I like it"), and finally, ones that appear following various technical 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."