Category Archives: Middle Ages

Nonsense neumes

Built at the behest of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick (1382–1439), the Beauchamp Chapel at the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, is a remarkable survival of fifteenth-century architecture, sculpture, and—above all—stained glass. These windows are well known to organologists for their depictions of instruments and performance practice; they also provide useful information about chant and polyphony in fifteenth-century England by preserving fragments of neumatic notation.

Over the centuries craftspeople have restored damaged windows, and, lacking the requisite musical training, they often left replacement staves blank; but in two cases nonsense neumes were devised, supplying consistent-looking décor that most observers would never suspect was counterfeit.

This according to Alexandra Buckle’s “Fit for a king: Music and iconography in Richard Beauchamp’s chantry chapel” (Early music XXXVIII/1 (2010), pp. 3–20).

Comments Off on Nonsense neumes

Filed under Architecture, Curiosities, Middle Ages, Notation, Visual art

Music theory from Boethius to Zarlino

The winner of the Music Library Association’s 2009 Vincent H. Duckles Award, Music theory from Boethius to Zarlino: A bibliography and guide by David Russell Williams and C. Matthew Balensuela (Hillsdale: Pendragon Press, 2007) is a companion volume to Pendragon’s  Music theory from Zarlino to Schenker: A bibliography and guide by Williams and David Damschroder (1990). Like the earlier volume, the book aims to create a logically organized introduction to major Medieval and Renaissance theorists and a thorough review of scholarly work on them.

Comments Off on Music theory from Boethius to Zarlino

Filed under Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Resources, Theory