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Encyclopedia > Neume
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Neumes are the basic elements of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of staff notation. Neumes are typically inflective marks which indicate the general shape and not necessarily the exact notes or rhythms to be sung. Image File history File links Stop_hand. ... Music notation is a system of writing for music. ... You may be looking for information on: Look up staff on Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

A sample of the Kýrie Eléison (Orbis Factor) from the Liber Usualis. Neumes would be (invisible in this picture) above the square notes.Listen to it interpreted.
A sample of the Kýrie Eléison (Orbis Factor) from the Liber Usualis. Neumes would be (invisible in this picture) above the square notes.Listen to it interpreted.

Contents

Image File history File links Sample of Gregorian chant; Kyrie orbis factor File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...


History

Although chant was probably sung since the earliest days of the church, for centuries they were only transmitted orally. Chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, either on a single pitch or with a simple melody involving a limited set of notes and often including a great deal of repetition or statis. ...


The earliest systems involving neumes are of Aramaic origin and were used to notate inflections in the quasi-emmelic recitation of the Christian holy scriptures. As such they resemble functionally a similar system used for the notation of recitation of the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. This early system was called ekphonetic notation, from the Greek ekphonesis meaning quasi-melodic recitation of text. Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... The , (Arabic: recitation, also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and Alcoran, Turkish Kuran), is the central text of Islam. ...


Around the 9th century neumes began to become shorthand mnemonic aids for the melodic recitation of chant proper. A prevalent view is that neumatic notation was first developed in the Eastern Roman Empire (see Byzantium and Byzantine music). This seems plausible given the well-documented peak of musical composition and cultural activity in major cities of the empire (now regions of southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel) at that time. The corpus of extant Byzantine music in manuscript and printed form is far larger than that of the Gregorian chant, due in part to the fact that neumes fell in disuse in the west after the rise of modern staff notation and with it the new techniques of polyphonic music, while the Eastern tradition of Greek Orthodox church music and the reformed neume notation remains alive until today. As a means of recording the passage of time the 9th century was that century that lasted from 801 to 900. ... Byzantium was an ancient Greek city-state, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas or Byzantas (Βύζας or Βύζαντας in Greek). ... Byzantine music is the music of the Byzantine Empire and by extension the music of its culture(s) as they continued in the Orthodox Christian parts of the population after the fall of the empire to the rule of the Ottoman Empire. ... Gregorian chant is also known as plainchant or plainsong and is a form of monophonic, unaccompanied singing, which was developed in the Catholic church, mainly during the period 800-1000. ...


Slavic neume notations ("Znamennoe singing") are on the whole even more difficult to decipher and transcribe than Byzantine or Gregorian neume notations. An example of hook and banner notation used by Okruzhniki Old Believers in 1884. ...


The earliest Western notation for chant appears in the 9th century. At first the markings only appear as curvy signs above the text, based loosely on ancient Greek inflection marks. While these signs indicated whether the melody went up or down, and how many notes there were, there was no indication of what intervals were to be sung; these are called chironomic or in campo aperto neumes. Presumably these were intended only as mnemonics for melodies learned by ear. The earliest extant manuscripts (9th-10th centuries) of such neumes include: In music theory, an interval is the relationship between two notes or pitches, the lower and higher members of the interval. ...

In the early 11th century, Beneventan neumes (from the monastery of St. Benevant in southern Italy) were written at varying distances from the text to indicate the overall shape of the melody; these are called diastematic neumes. Shortly after this, one to four staff lines clarified the exact relationship between pitches, an innovation traditionally ascribed to Guido d'Arezzo. All of these neumes resembled the same thin, scripty style of the chironomic notation. In 13th century England, Sarum chant was notated using square noteheads, a practice which subsequently spread throughout southern Europe (although in Germany a variant called Gothic neumes continued to be used until the 16th century). Abbey of St. ... City motto: Si paix dedans, paix dehors (French: If peace inside, peace outside) City proper (commune) Région Lorraine Département Moselle (57) Mayor Jean-Marie Rausch Area 41. ... Capital Bordeaux Land area¹ 41,309 km² Regional President Alain Rousset (PS) (since 1998) Population  - Jan. ... Interior of the cathedral Notre-Dame of Laon is a cathedral located in Laon, France. ... Cathedral of Chartres, western spires The Cathedral of Chartres (Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), located in Chartres, about 50 miles from Paris, is considered the finest example in all France of the high Gothic style of architecture. ... Location within France Montpellier (Occitan Montpelhièr) is a city in the south of France. ... In musical notation, the staff or stave is a set of five horizontal lines on which note symbols are placed to indicate pitch and rhythm. ... Guido of Arezzo or Guido Monaco (995-1050) is regarded as the inventor of modern musical notation (staff notation) that replaced neumatic notation. ... Woodcut of Old Sarum as it was during its height Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, England, with evidence of human habitation as early as 3000 BC. It sits on a hill about two miles (3km) north of modern Salisbury on the west side of...


Solesmes notation

The paragraph below incorrectly labels square notes as neumes. Neumes often go together with square notes, but they are interpretatory signs indicating length and accentuations, that stand above the square notes (or above the plain text). No neumes are visible anywhere on this page. Examples of neumes may be seen here: [1],[2].


Various manuscripts and printed editions of Gregorian chant, using varying styles of square-note neumes, circulated throughout the Catholic church for centuries. Some editions added rhythmic patterns, or meter, to the chants. In the 19th century the monks of the Benedictine abbey of Solesmes, particularly Dom Joseph Pothier (1835-1923) and Dom André Mocquereau (1849-1930) collected facsimiles of the earliest manuscripts and published them in a book called Paléographie musicale. They also assembled definitive versions of many of the chants, and developed a standardized form of the square-note notation which was adopted by the Catholic church and is still in use in publications such as the Liber usualis (although there are also published editions of this book in modern notation). The Solesmes monks also determined, based on their research, performance practice for Gregorian chant, based generally on giving every note equal length, but the rhythmic practices of chant are a subject of deep dispute among modern musicologists. Metre or meter is the measurement of a musical line into measures of stressed and unstressed beats, indicated in Western notation by a symbol called a time signature. ... Solesmes (St-Pierre-de-Solesmes), a Benedictine abbey near Sablé, in the Sarthe department in France, founded in 1010. ... This page is a candidate to be moved to Wiktionary. ... The Liber usualis is a book of commonly-used Gregorian chants compiled by the monks of the Abbey of Solesmes in France. ... The authentic performance movement is an effort on the part of musicians and scholars to perform works of classical music in ways similar to how they were performed when they were originally written. ...


Neumes are always used syllabically; a three-note neume, for example, indicates that (at least) three notes are to be sung to a single syllable. The single-note neumes indicate that only a single note corresponds to that syllable. Chants which primarily use single-note neumes are called syllabic; chants with typically one multi-note neume per note are called neumatic, and those with many neumes per note are called melismatic.


Clefs

Neumes are written on a four-line staff on the lines and spaces, like modern music notation. A clef at the beginning of each line indicates the location of C or F on any of the lines, as shown: In musical notation, the staff or stave is a set of five horizontal lines on which note symbols are placed to indicate pitch and rhythm. ... A clef (French for key) is a symbol used in musical notation that assigns notes to lines and spaces on the musical staff. ...

Image:c_clef_neume.gif C clef
Image:f_clef_neume.gif F clef

Note that chant does not rely on any absolute pitch; the clefs are only to help find the half and whole steps (see hexachord). Image File history File links C clef for Gregorian chant File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links F clef for Gregorian chant File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Absolute pitch, widely referred to as perfect pitch, refers to the ability to identify a note by name without the benefit of a reference note, or to be able to produce a note (as in singing) that is the correct pitch without reference. ... In music, a hexachord is a collection of six tones. ...


Single notes

Image:punctum1.gif Punctum ("point")
Image:virga1.gif Virga
Image:repercussive.gif repercussive neume

The virga and punctum are sung identically. Scholars disagree on whether the bipunctum indicates a note twice as long, or whether the same note should be re-articulated as the name repercussive implies. Image File history File links Punctum neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Virga neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Repercussive neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...


Two-notes

Image:clivis.gif Clivis Two notes descending
Image:podatus.gif Podatus or Pes ("foot") Two notes ascending

When two notes are one above the other, as in the podatus, the lower note is always sung first. Image File history File links Clivis neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Podatus neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...


Three-note neumes

Image:scandicus.gif Scandicus Three notes ascending
Image:climacus.gif Climacus Three notes descending
Image:torculus.gif Torculus down-up-down
Image:porrectus.gif Porrectus up-down-up

The fact that the first two notes of the porrectus are connected as a diagonal rather than as individual notes seems to be a scribe's shortcut. Image File history File links Scandicus neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Climacus neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Torculus neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Porrectus neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...


Compound neumes

Several neumes in a row can be juxtaposed for a single syllable, but the following usages have specific names. These are only a few examples.

Image:pressus.gif Praepunctis a note appended to the beginning is praepunctis; this example is a podatus pressus because it involves a repeated note
Image: scandicus_subbipunctus.gif Subpunctis One or more notes appended at the end of a neume; this example is a scandicus subbipunctis

Image File history File links Pressus neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Scandicus subbipunctus neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...

Other basic markings

Image: flat_neume.gif Flat same meaning as modern flat; only occurs on B, and is placed before the entire neume, or group of neumes, rather than immediately before the affected note.
Image: custos.gif Custos At the end of a staff, the custos indicates what the first note of the next staff will be
Image: punctum_mora.gif Mora Like a dot in modern notation, lengthens the preceding note, typically doubling it

Image File history File links Flat sign used in Gregorian chant File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Figure 1. ... Image File history File links Custos (part of neumatic notation) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Punctum mora neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...

Interpretive marks

These markings, although present in almost all early manuscripts, are subject to great dispute.

Image: vertical_episema.gif Vertical episema
(vertical stroke)
Seems to indicate a subsidiary accent when there are five or more notes in a neume group
Image: horizontal_episema.gif Horizontal episema
(horizontal stroke)
Used over a single note or a group of notes (as shown), essentially ignored in the Solemnes interpretation; other scholars treat it as indicating a lengthening or stress on the note(s).
Image: liquescent.gif Liquescent neume
(small note)
Can occur on almost any type of neume; usually associated with certain letter combinations such as double consonants, consonant pairs, or diphthongs in the text
Image: quilisma.gif Quilisma
(squiggly note)
Always as part of a multi-note neume, usually a climacus, this sign is a matter of great dispute; the Solemnes interpretation is that the preceding note is to be lengthened slightly.

Other interpretations of the quilisma: Image File history File links Vertical episema, notation used in neumes File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Horizontal episema, sign used in neumatic notation File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Liquenscent neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Quilisma, a type of neume File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...

  • Shake or trill -- Prof. William Mahrt of Stanford University supports this one
  • Quarter-tone or accidental. The support for this interpretation lies in some early digraphic manuscripts which combine chironomic neumes with letter-names. In places where other manuscripts have quilismas these digraphs often have a strange symbol in place of a letter, suggesting to some scholars the use of a pitch outside the solmization system represented by the letter names. The trigon is a neume peculiar to St. Gall which may also have a microtonal meaning.

There are also litterae significativae in many manuscripts, usually interpreted to indicate variations in tempo, e.g. c = celeriter (fast), t = tenete (hold), a = auge (lengthen, as in a tie). The Solesmes editions omit all such letters. In music, a trill is a type of ornament; see trill (music) In phonetics, a trill is a type of consonant; see trill consonant In the fictional Star Trek universe, the Trill are two symbiotic races of aliens; see Trill (Star Trek). ... A quarter tone is an interval half as wide (aurally, or logarithmically) as a semitone, which is half a whole tone. ... An accidental is a musical notation symbol used to raise or lower the pitch of a note from that indicated by the key signature. ... In music and sight singing solfege or solmization is a way of assigning syllables to degrees or steps of the diatonic scale. ... Microtonal music is music using microtones -- intervals of less than a semitone, or as Charles Ives put it, the notes between the cracks of the piano. ... In music, a tie is when multiple notes of the same pitch are to be played as one note with a duration equal to the sum of the individual notes durations. ...


Rhythmic interpretation of neumes

The following text again confuses neumes with square notes. Neumes ARE describing the rhythm of a choral.


While most scholars agree with the Solemnes monks that the shapes of the notes do not indicate any kind of rhythmic variation, and the notes are all of equal length (except when the mora is encountered), there are many differing interpretations. Some champion two note values, one shorter and one longer (twice, or even three times, as long); but that school of thought cannot achieve consensus on how the two note values are to be applied. Musicologist Gustav Reese said that the second group, called mensuralists, "have an impressive amount of historical evidence on their side," (Music in the Middle Ages, p. 146), but the equal-note Solemnes interpretation has permeated the musical world, apparently due to its ease of learning and resonance with modern musical taste.


Other types of neumes

  • Ecphonetic neumes annotating the melodic recitation of (Christian) holy scriptures.
  • Neumes of byzantine music - in several stages, old byzantine, middle byzantine, late byzantine and post-byzantine, and neo-byzantine (reformed).
  • Neumes of slavic chant (slavic neumes).
  • Mozarabic or hispanic neumes (Spain), also called Visigothic script. These neumes have not been deciphered, but the Mozarabic liturgy varies somewhat from the Roman rite.
  • Daseian notation - an early form of byzantine music notation.
  • Buddhist chant uses a type of neume.

Byzantine music is the music of the Byzantine Empire and by extension the music of its culture(s) as they continued in the Orthodox Christian parts of the population after the fall of the empire to the rule of the Ottoman Empire. ... Visigothic script was a type of medieval script, so called because it originated in the Visigothic kingdom in Spain. ... Mozarabic was a continuum of closely related Iberian Romance dialects spoken in Muslim dominated areas of the Iberian Peninsula during the early stages of Romance languages development in Iberia. ... Latin Rite, in the singular and accompanied, in English, by the definite article (The Latin Rite), is a term by which documents of the Catholic Church designate the particular Church, distinct from the Eastern Rite Churches, that developed in western Europe and northern Africa, where Latin was the language of... Buddhist chant is chant used in or inspired by Buddhism, including many genres in many cultures: Repetition of the name of Amitabha in Pure Land Buddhism. ...

References

  • Graduale triplex, ISBN 2-85274-094-X, a special edition of the Graduale Romanum with chant notation in three forms, one above the other, for easy comparison: Laon, St. Gall, and square-note
  • Paléographie musicale, ISBN 2852742195, facsimiles of early adiastamatic chant manuscripts
  • Constantin Floros, "Universale Neumenkunde" (Universal Theory of Neumes); three-volume covering all major styles and schools of neumatic musical notation in three major divisions: Byzantine, Gregorian and Slavic.

External links


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