Ictus Example
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,634
    The way I hear it: There is no ictus [on Sol]. The climacus Do-la-sol-fa should be one rapidly falling figure of four notes: to subdivide that into two groups of two would slow it down intolerably (to my taste). There really is a difference between:

    1-2-3-4 1-2 1-2 1_

    and

    1-2-1-2 1-2 1-2 1_

    That is: the first would be Climacus: DO-la-sol-fa; the second two Clivis DO-la SOL-fa. The shapes of the neums (particularly in adiastematic notation) really show the true rhythm.
  • Salieri, in the old Solesmes method, the ictus isn't heard per se. There is nothing inconsistent with hearing 1-2-3-4 and having an ictus on 3.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,364
    the ictus isn't heard per se.


    EVERYBODY MAKE SURE YOU MARK IN YOUR SCORE THE NOTES THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO SOUND THE SAME AS ALL THE OTHER NOTES
    Thanked by 1incantu
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,416
    It's "ictus" not "musicus fictus" ... okay, that's a stretch.
  • Is it really much of a stretch?
    Interesting, isn't it, Chuck, how one just sort of thinks of 'ictus' and 'fictus' in the same breath - and, of course, one has trouble not thinking of 'f-ict-ion', or 'f-ict-itious'.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,416
    Jackson, the similarity struck me because of my early music work and editing, in which I've had to deal with issues of musica ficta a lot, fully cognizant of the fact that some ficta are just that ... fictional ... when they fit into the final (fourth?) option "because it sounds right or at least better" to XXth and XXIst century ears and sensibilities(?).
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Wow, I only just now saw that my name was invoked by the estimable Adam Wood. Thanks!

    I will only add, since someone above added the old argument "we don't know what 9th century music sounded like" yadda yadda yadda—we don't know what Bach, Handel, or Mozart sounded like, either... but we're pretty sure. I believe the same is true of 9th and 10th century chant.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    EVERYBODY MAKE SURE YOU MARK IN YOUR SCORE THE NOTES THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO SOUND THE SAME AS ALL THE OTHER NOTES


    While it is true that the ictus itself does not generally impart a special sound to the note to which it is applied, it does designate the beginning of a rhythmic unit which itself may either be arsic or thetic. In this way, observance of the ictus not only keeps the ensemble together, but allows the conductor to breathe life into the interpretation of each phrase.

    Those who stop at placing the ictus without regard to arsis and thesis are missing out on the true innovation of Mocquereau as expounded by Gajard, Suñol, and Ward. The ictus is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Whether the interpretation is based on the text, the chain of thirds, or the manuscript notations, it will hardly result in each note sounding the same as every other note. The Solesmes Method is an excellent framework for a variety of different interpretations, some of which more closely approach the medieval tradition than others.
  • '...but we're pretty sure...'


    Amen!
  • Jackson, I addressed my comment to you because you had written, "There are no beats in chant." I am arguing that they are, and that it is practically advantageous for the conductor and singers to be aware of them. I agree with you, however, that many of the inevitable "footfalls" should be de-emphasized, and that the length of beats should not be rigidly uniform.
  • Many thanks, Bruce -
    We very probably agree with each other in spite of ourselves. Perhaps 'beat' is the wrong word? One cannot direct chant without communicating arsis and thesis, points of climax and points of repose, sometimes gesturing important neume groups which contribute to an understanding of the basic sprechgesang without calling attention to themselves as such (meaning that it is always the language that is undistractably brought to life). Too, there are instances at which I will gesture emphatically for a very strong linguistic 'accent'. Nor is it unthinkable that a syntactical stress of this sort can, with judiciousness aforethought, interrupt the flow. Rhetoric is, first and last, what chant is. But this is a very fluid manner of 'directing'. In fact, perhaps 'directing' is, also, a wrong word. I, at least, by gestures indicating the above and points of accent, like to think that I am merely allowing the chant to unfold in a free (though, to be sure, an 'interpreted freedom'), speech-like, rhetoric-like, manner. There is nothing so regular and temporally patterned as what one would, I think, call a 'beat', even if it is an irregular one. A 'beat', by definition, at least it seems to me, implies that mensuralism that is the death knell of the chant of a, shall we say, 'restored praxis'. A 'beat' seems to me a self-referential determinant.

    One sometimes directs 'beats' in polyphonic music, though there are times, even here, at which one will allow the music to breathe in a rhetorical fashion rather than follow a strictly communicated beat.

    I'm really sure that we are saying the same thing differently. I think so.