Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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SCALES, NOTATION, CLEFS, AND DESCANT.                                15
initial lines of which the names of the notes, Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, were taken), in old ecclesiastical notation, and in the Chronicle of Tours, under the year 1033, he is mentioned as the first who applied those names to the notes. He did not add the Greek gamma (our G) at the bottom of the scale,a as was long supposed, for Odo, Abbot of Cluny, in Burgundy, had used it as the lowest note, in his Enchiridion, a century before.
To Franco, of Cologne (who, by the testimony of Sigebert, his cotemporary, had acquired great reputation for his learning in 1047, and lived at least till 1083, when he filled the office of Preceptor of the Cathedral of Liege), is to be ascribed the invention of characters for time.h By this he conferred the most important benefit on music, for,* till then, written melody was entirely subservient to syllabic laws, and music in parts must have consisted of simple counterpoint, such, says Burney, as is still practised in our parochial psalmody, consisting of note against note, or sounds of equal length.
The first ecclesiastical harmony was called Descant, and by the Italians, Mental Counterpoint (Contrappunto alia mente). It consisted of extemporaneous singing in fourths, fifths, and octaves, above and below the plain song of the Church; and although in its original sense, it implied only singing in two parts, it had made considerable advances in the ninth century, towards the end of which we find specimens, still existing, of harmony in three and four parts. When Descant was reduced to writing, it was called Counterpoint, from punctum contra punctum, point against point, or written notes placed one against the other.
Hubald, Hucbald, or Hugbald, as he is variously named, and who died in 930, at nearly ninety years of age, has left us a treatise, called Musica Enchiriadis, which has been printed by the Abbe Gerbert, in his Scriptores Ecclesiastici. In chapters X. to XIV., De Symphoniis, he says: " There are three kinds of symphony (harmony), in the fourth, fifth, and octave, and as the combination of some letters and syllables is more pleasing to the ear than others, so is it with sounds in music. All mixtures are not equally sweet." In the fifteenth chapter he uses a transient second and third, both major and minor ; and in the eighteenth he employs four thirds in succession. Burney says: " Hubald's idea that one voice might wander at pleasure through the scale, while the other remains fixed, shows him to have been a man of genius and enlarged views, who, disregarding rules, could penetrate beyond the miserable practice of his time, into our Points d'Orgue, Pedale, and multifarious harmony upon a holding note, or single base, and suggests the principal, at least, of the boldest modern harmony." It is in this last sense of amplifying a point, that we still retain the verb to descant in common use. Guido describes the Descant existing in his time, as consisting of
» To distinguish G on the lowest line of the Base from the G in the fifth space, the formeT was maTked with the Greek r, and hence the word gammut, applied to the whole scale.
b John de Muris, who flourished in 1330, in givlngalist of anterior musicians, who had merited the title of inventors, names Guido, who constructed the gaminut, or
scale, for the monochord, and placed notes upon lines and spaces j after whom came Magister Franco, who invented the figures, or notes, of the Camus mensurabilis (qui invenit in cantu mensuram nguiarum). Marchetto da Padova, who wrote in 1274, calls Franco the Inventor of the four first musical characters; and Franchinus GafTurius twice quotes him as the author of the time-table.