How did musical notation travel? Singers, manuscripts, and routes in Italy (c. 800-1100)

Giovanni Varelli - Oxford University


Recent studies on early music writing definitely confirmed that neumatic notations originated from a common base of graphic techniques for the representation of sounds, rather than from a single ‘script’. These conventions were consequently developed and shaped by some of the most important carolingian centers of liturgical chant, implying that an exchange of skills and musical ‘materials’ took place during the early ninth century. However, while a series of historical records tell of the movement of singers and ‘chant’ manuscripts already in pre-Carolingian Europe, only very few later notated sources can actually provide information on how written music travelled, and on how singers may have responded to their encounter with a ‘foreign’ music script. Three case studies of Italian manuscripts – or that had an impact on Italian centers – will be analyzed from the point of view of the materiality of the various supports for the transmission of chant, assessing also the role of geography and topography in the spreading of musical notation.

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Registrazione presso la Cancelleria del Tribunale di Pavia n. 552 del 14 luglio 2000 – ISSN elettronico 1826-9001 | Università degli Studi di Pavia Dipartimento di Musicologia | Pavia University Press

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