NEH logo
[Return to Query]

Products for grant FA-57722-14

The Meaning and Importance of Novelty in 14th-Century European Music
Karen Desmond, University College Cork

Grant details:

Music and the moderni, 1300-1350: The ars nova in theory and practice (Book)
Title: Music and the moderni, 1300-1350: The ars nova in theory and practice
Author: Karen Desmond
Abstract: Music theorists labelled the musical art of the 1330s and 1340s as 'new' and 'modern'. A close reading of writings on music theory and the polyphonic repertory from the first half of the fourteenth century reveals a modern musical art that arose due to specific innovations in music notation. The French ars nova employed as its theoretical fundament a new system for arranging musical time proposed by the astronomer and mathematician Jean des Murs. Challenging prevailing accounts of the ars nova, this book presents the 'new art' within the intellectual context of its time, revises the datings of Jean des Murs's writings on music theory, and presents the intersection of theory and practice for a crucial era in the history of music. Through contemporaneous accounts, Desmond explores how individuals were involved in 'changing' music in early fourteenth-century France, and the technical developments they pursued that precipitated this stylistic change.
Year: 2018
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781316711545

Did Vitry write an Ars vetus et nova? In Journal of Musicology, vol. 32/4 (Article)
Title: Did Vitry write an Ars vetus et nova? In Journal of Musicology, vol. 32/4
Author: Karen Desmond
Abstract: In book 7 of his Speculum musicae, the fourteenth-century music the- orist Jacobus structures a defense of music as it had been practiced in the thirteenth century by such eminent musicians and theorists as Lambertus, Franco, and Petrus de Cruce against the practices of certain unnamed moderni active at the time of Jacobus’s writing. While Jacobus’squotations from various theoretical works by Jehan des Murs have long been recognized, it previously had been supposed that the remaining quotations were jumbled references from many different theorists. With specific reference to Philippe de Vitry only two quotations from the text edited in vol. 8, Corpus scriptorum de musica, had been identified previously. In fact, there is substantial sustained treatment of a single author,whom I have termed the doctor modernus and who is not Jehan des Murs, that occupies at least five contiguous central chapters of book 7. Following Jacobus’s practice in the previous six books of commentary on a handful of specific works, the writing of Book 7 appears to have been structured around the written works of just four theorists: Lambert, Franco, Jehan des Murs, and the doctor modernus. The similarities between the treatise of the doctor modernus and many ars nova theory texts (some of which were attributed to Vitry) hints at the 493 possibility that the treatise of the doctor modernus may have been the ancestor text that these other texts had in common, and hence also that Philippe de Vitry may have been the author of the text known to Jacobus, whose subject was the Ars vetus et nova.
Year: 2015
Format: Journal
Publisher: University of California Press

The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle. Contents, Contexts, Chronologies. (Book)
Title: The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle. Contents, Contexts, Chronologies.
Editor: Catherine A. Bradley
Editor: Karen Desmond
Abstract: The Montpellier Codex (Bibliothèque interuniversitaire, Section Médecine, H.196) occupies a central place in scholarship on medieval music. This small book, packed with gorgeous gold leaf illuminations, historiated initials, and exquisite music calligraphy, is one of the most famous of all surviving music manuscripts, fundamental to understandings of the development of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century polyphonic composition. At some point in its history an eighth section (fascicle) of 48 folios was appended to the codex: when and why this happened has long perplexed scholars. The forty-three works contained in the manuscript's final section represent a collection of musical compositions, assembled at a complex moment of historical change, straddling the historiographical juncture between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This book provides the first in-depth exploration of the contents and contexts of the Montpellier Codex's final fascicle. It explores the manuscript's production, dating, function, and notation, offering close-readings of individual works, which illuminate compositionally progressive features of the repertoire as well as its interactions with existing musical and poetic traditions, from a variety of perspectives: thirteenth- and fourteenth-century music, art history, and manuscript culture.
Year: 2018
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Type: Edited Volume
ISBN: 9781783272723