Wednesday 12 August 2009

Tales before the stave

An interesting post-lunch prog yesterday, talking about the sqiuggles in The Winchester Troper.

Here on iPlayer.

Needless to say it had to have the,' 'how the English got there first, ' spin which is a shame because it would be interesting to know if the musicians in Winchester had any contact with the people across the water who were doing the same at about the same time. At one point one of the contributers even says that the script is similar to what was being used in France. Sigh.

Anyway what was very interesting was how the m/s ended up in Cambridge as part of the the Reformation plot to make England the centre of the universe. The prog said they wanted stuff pre-1066 and this book fits the bill.

Also, post-Solesmes, it was interesting to hear their take on the notation being an aide memoire and how the pitch is inaccurately notated (to our minds,) as Dom Saulnier siggested the making of books was not necessarily for people to sing from. Also, some of the stuff in this book appears to be for the Coronation of Edward the Confessor.

One wonders how many m/s were lost at the Reformation anyway. I once asked the librarian of one of the oldest Oxford Colleges what they have by way of music manuscripts of the Middle Ages and the answer is none.


Patricius said...

The attempts to relate the survival of the manuscript to the creation of the C of E did seem contrived to me. I was interested, however, to hear of this early polyphony and recall a programme surveying the last millennium of music broadcast on New Year's Eve 1999 on Radio 3 in which the origins of harmony in European music were related to the development of stone vaulting, and the consequent acoustic created in large cathedral and abbey churches from the 12th century onwards.I do not know if Winchester was vaulted at an earlier date but I believe it has the longest nave in England which might be significant.

Clare said...

my father has not stopped going on about this programme. he keeps leaving long phone messages telling me about certain 'interesting' aspects covered in the programme. l haven't listened to it yet so he's really getting on my nerves...

i will try and listen to it tonight before he leaves another message...