Solmization and the Guidonian hand in the 16th century

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1 [03:12] We used the term tone system for describing the basic set of available notes. However, the term is often used in another way, for example, for describing a particular system of a certain temperament. Here are "tone system" diagrams by [a] Giovan Maria Lanfranco, Scintille di musica, 1533 [imslp], [b] Juan Bermudo, Declaratión de instrumentos musicales, 1555 [imslp], [c] Francisco de Salinas,  De Musica libri septem, 1577 [imslp]; Adam Gumpelzhaimer [the one from the video], Compendium musicae, 1591 [imslp]. 

2 [08:04] Mutations according to 16th-century sources; presented on staff systems and on the Renaissance tone system:

3 [08:34] A possible explanation for the difference between the rules of sharps and flats is that musica ficta on the sharps is often not crucial; without these sharps there will still be consonant intervals. Musica ficta on flats, however, is very often necessary in order to avoid diminished intervals.

4 [11:14] When using only one hand, the digit used to indicate the relevant joint is primarily the thumb. The index finger serves this purpose for the first three notes of the gamut which are located on the thumb. The two notes requiring both the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index finger (G ut and e la mi) are differentiated through their context. It should be noted that this information is not found in the sources, but seems like a plausible way of using only one hand.

5 [12:32] Canguilhem, Philippe, and Alexander Stalarow. “SINGING UPON THE BOOK ACCORDING TO VICENTE LUSITANO.” Early Music History 30 (2011): 55–103.

6 [13:39] Martin Agricola, Musica Choralis Deudsch (Wittenberg, 1533): (taken from Anne Smith, The Performance of 16th-Century Music, p.26.)

 "Von unterscheid der stimmen.

Aus den obgemelten sechs stimmen/werden zwo bmooles genant/als/ut und fa/denn sie werden gar fein linde/sanfft/lieblich und weich gesungen. Sie sind auch einerley natur und eigenschafft/darüumb/wo eine gesungen wird/do mag auch die andere gesungen werden.

        Re und sol/werden mittelmessige odder natürliche stimmen genennet/drümb das sie einen mittelmessigen laut von sich geben/Nicht zu gar linde/odder zuscharff.

        Mi und la/heissen durales/das ist/scharffe und harte syllaben/Denn sie sollen und müssen menlicher und dapfferer gesungen werden denn die bmooles und naturalis.

        Diese unterscheid/wo sie wol gemerckt/und im gesang recht gehalten wird/macht sie alle melodey süsse und lieblich/Darümb sol es auch der furnemesten stück eins sein/das man den knaben [z]um ersten einbilden/und sie daran gewehnen sol/das sie dieser unterschied fein gewis werden"

"About the difference between the voices.

Of the above-mentioned six voices, two are called b molles, namely ut and fa, for they are sung extremely mildly, gently, sweetly and softly. They are of one nature and character; therefore where the one may be sung, so may the other also be sung.

        Re and sol are called the middle or natural voices because they emit an average sound, not too mild or too clear.

        Mi and la are called durales, that is clear and hard syllables. For they should and must be sung in a more manly and stronger way than the b molles and naturales.

        This difference, when it is well noted and truly observed in singing, makes all melodies sweet and pleasing. Therefore it should be the primary matter that one should first get into the boys' heads and then get them accustomed to, so that they are very sure of this difference.

7a [13:54] See our episode "Durum & Molle in the Renaissance".

7b [15:15]  Hermann Finck, Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556; facsimile, Hildesheim-New York, 1971, Bv–Biiv. Quoted in Anne Smith, "The Performance of 16th-Century Music", p.28.

8 [18:35] It should be noted that only the canto line is coherently composed in that manner.

9 [19:00] Fantasia sopra sol la re, Libro secondo, A-Wn Mus.Hs.18706, f. 39v [imslp]

10 [19:55] By 'unusual keys' we mean keys with sharp/s or with more than one flat.