Complete Encyclopaedia of Music/A/Ancient music
Ancient music. The epithet ancient, when applied to the term music, is not, as when conjoined with the word literature, to be referred to the productions of the classical Greeks and Romans. The eleventh century of the Christian era arrived before the appearance of Guido's scale ; to the age of De Muris (i. e., the fourteenth century) we are indebted for the introduction of the bass, tenor, and treble clefs ; and half of the seventeenth century had elapsed be-fore the art was attained of composing in a plurality of real and distinct simultaneous parts. It is, therefore, chiefly to the composers of the eighteenth century, that the expression ancient music properly relates ; and, indeed, it seldom alludes to productions of an earlier date. M. F�tis, in 1843, made some discoveries at Brussels, which are interesting in respect to the history of music. The best is a manuscript which was placed in the Royal Library, among the books of plain chant. It contains masses and motets, by celebrated composers of the close of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth century. The most important pieces in the volume were, "Three masses, for three voices, by Guillaume Dufay ; two masses, for four voices, by the same ; one mass, ' Omnipotens Pater,' for three voices, by a hitherto unknown composer, named Jean Plourmel ; the mass ' Deus Creator Omnium,' by an English composer named Riquarett [Richard] Cockx." All these authors wrote from about 1390 to 1420. Then came the motet, "Orbis Terrarum," for four voices, by Busnois; a Magnificat, for four voices ; and several other pieces by the same author. The volume concludes with a mass by Le Roy. These highly interesting compositions fill up a considerable hiatus in the his-tory of the art. The other discovery, though less important, is worthy of' notice ; it is a beautiful manuscript, twenty-eight inches high and nine-teen broad, on very fine vellum, most admirably written, with arabesques, among which is seen the portrait of the foot of Mary of Burgundy. In this volume was found entire an admirable composition by Josquin de Pres, for six voices, and six or seven other important compositions, written about 1430.