Monday 22 June 2009

Gregorian Semiology

by Dom Eugene Cardine is, as my Music Teacher would have said, a slim volume, but as I would say a dense text. So a lot to learn. I blame Hoppin Medieval Music, the set text for my early early Music History Course, for giving the impression that pre Guido d'Arezzo the squiggles were just an aide memoire. Au contraire, there was a method. The Solesmes folks do give the impression that the stave is not the best thing since sliced bread, which is interesting because the usual history of Western Music goes

lots of squiggles from the Ancient Greeks and a few Roman Trumpets and Egyptian ones too, not sure what they played, can't read the music.

Guido d'Arezzo that Antiphon that goes Ut...Re...Mi... etc and bingo, now we know the notes and btw the Medieval guys got all the Greek modes that Plato went on about a bit wrong. Pitch is where it's at folks.

Solesmes is all very different and much more respectful of the past. Like the people (people rather like them, Benedictines for example,) did know what they were up to and it did work. But that's a Catholic interpretation. People in the past told the truth, were not stupid etc.

I've met a few early music bods recently and they have a funny attitude to the music. On the one hand they assume that no-one else has a clue about the people producing it whilst showing that they aren't really in sympathy with them themselves. It's rather like an article I read in The Catholic Herald recently about how people curating exhibitions do not understand the significance of the religious objects they are displaying. They don't know what they are for or even what they are called. I feel more connection with these people in the past. After all they went to the same Mass I'm going to. They were singing the same texts etc.

Enough ramblings. My shoulder is hurting after the kindly (?!) physio wrenched it around a bit this morning. But I have been promoted to Shoulder Class! Still can't reach the C string on the viola quite right, but we are getting there.


Jane said...

Goodness me Leutgeb, there's a lot in this post upon which I'd love to comment including the Chant and ignorant Curators even at the British Museum, but too late tonight so will content myself with saying I'm very sorry to hear that you're still suffering with that shoulder and wish you a full recovery asap.

Husband's home from hospital. For some reason a broken leg meant they had to give him a brain scan.You can imagine his initial horror and later hysterical laughter when he was told the result: 'We didn't find anything.'

All best,

Jane said...

Forgot to mention, I'm blogging again.

leutgeb said...

Great news about your husband.

Look forward to reading your posts.

Ches said...

Isn't the 'Ut re mi' piece the Vespers Hymn for the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (which falls, in fact, tomorrow)?

If I remember rightly, it is a surprisingly trickly little number to sing and not at all like Oscar and Hammerstein's version!

leutgeb said...

You are right, of course, Ches and Valle Adurni had a great post about it last year with the music and everything. I was just too lazy to put a link to it.

Ut, a deer a female deer...

It'll never catch on.

The French have stuck with it.

Cor en ut does crop up.
Bizet wrote a Symphony in Ut, of course.

leutgeb said...

Sorry Symphonie.

berenike said...

There is the neglected parody (in the technical sense) polyphonic setting of the ordinary, the Missa Sonus Musicae. I've forgotten the composer.