Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/427
MUSIC A FICTA.
upper parts of a Chord, the Bass taking no share in their formation. In such cases, therefore, no correction will be required.
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VIII. The last rule we think it necessary to mention is strongly enforced by the learned Padre Martini, though Zarlino points out many excep- tions to its authority. Its purport is that Im- perfect Concords, when they ascend, must be made Major, and, when they descend, Minor. That this is true, in some of the progressions pointed out in the subjoined example, is evident ; but, it is equally clear that in others the law is in- applicable.
(8) (b) Exception. Erceptlon.
These laws will suffice to give a fair general idea of a subject, the difficulties of which seem greater, at first sight, than they really are. It is impossible but that we should sometimes meet with ambiguous cases as, for instance, when it seems uncertain whether a point of repose in the middle of a composition is, or is not, sufficiently well-marked to constitute a True Cadence ; or the conclusion of a strain definite enough to demand a Tierce de Picardie. But, a little experience will soon enable the Student to form a correct judg- ment, whenever a choice is presented to him ; if only he will bear in mind that it is always safer to reject a disputed accidental, than to run the risk of inserting a superfluous one.
On one other point, only, will a little farther explanation be necessary.
Among the few accidentals introduced into the older Part-books, we rarely find a Natural. Com- posers limited themselves to the use of the Sharp and Flat, in order to remove a trifling difficulty connected with the process of Transposition. It constantly happens, that, for the convenience of particular Singers, pieces, originally written in transposed Modes, are restored, in performance, to their natural pitch. In this case, the B flat of the transposed scale, raised by a Natural, is re- presented, at the true pitch, by an F, raised by a Sharp ; thus
Mode VII, transposed.
���Now, to us, this use of the Natural, in the one case, and the Sharp, in the other, is intelligible enough. But, when accidentals, of all kinds, were exceedingly rare, there was always danger of their being misunderstood : and the early Com- posers, fearing lest the mere sight of a Natural should tempt the unwary, in the act of transpos- ing, to transfer it from the B to the F, sub- stituted a Sharp for it ; thus
Mode VII, transposed.
��This method of writing, which is found as late as last century, is exceedingly puzzling to the beginner ; but, all difficulty will vanish, if he will only remember that notes, flat by the Signature, simply become Natural, when a Sharp is prefixed to them. [W.S.R.]
MUSICA FIGURATA (Figured music). I. In its earliest sense, this term was applied to Plain-Chaunt Melodies, corrupted by the intro- duction of forbidden intervals, and overloaded with those ill-conceived embellishments, which, in the year 1322, were so sternly condemned by the celebrated Bull of Pope John the 22nd. [See MACICOTATICDM.] II. In later times, it was more generally understood to indicate the Polyphonic Music of the I4th, 15th, and i6th centuries, in which the beauty of a Plain-Chaunt Canto fermo was enhanced by the addition of an elaborate and regularly-constructed Counter- point. [W.S.R.]
MUSICA MENSURATA or CANTUS ME\- SUBABILIS (Measured Music). The notes of Plain Chaunt were originally of equal length ; or, at least, were only lengthened or shortened indefinitely, in accordance with the accent of the words to which they were adapted. But, after the invention of Figured Music, it became necessary to design a system of Notation capable of expressing the relative duration, as well as the pitch, of every note intended to be sung ; and thus arose a new species of Song, called Cantut mensurdbilis, or Measured Music.
One of the earliest known writers on this sub- ject was the celebrated Franco of Cologne, who, upon the strength of his Tract, entitled Ars cantus mensurdbilis, written during the later half of the I Ith century, has frequently been credited with the invention of the Time-Table. It is but fair however, to say, that, in this very Tract, Magister Franco himself speaks of ' many others, both re- cent, and antient,' (multos tarn novos quar/i anti- ques'), who have written on the same subject ; whence, notwithstanding the testimony of Mar- chetto de Padova, who wrote two centuries later, we must infer that we are indebted to our author rather for a compendium of what was already known at the time when he flourished, than for a new or original discovery. In confirmation of this view, Coussemaker, in his 'Scriptores de musica medii sevi,' cites several MSS. which appear to be of earlier date than the Treatise of Franco ; and prints, in extenso, examples which set forth systems far less completely developed than that which Franco describes.
Next, in point of antiquity, to Franco's Treatise, is one written by our own countryman, Walter Odington, of Evesham, in the year 1220. Others follow, by Marchetto de Padova, in 1274; Johannes de Muris, in 1321 ; Robert de Handlo another Englishman in 1326 ; Prodoscimus de Beldomandis, in 1410; Franchinus Gafurius, in 1480 ; and numerous other authors, who all con- cur in representing Franco as an authority entitled to the utmost possible veneration.
A detailed analysis of these interesting works would far exceed the limits of the present Article.