What is this St. Gall neume?
  • What is the neume immediately after the quilisma both times in the word "habitat" in the offertory "Sperent in te" (Third Sunday after Pentecost/Ninth in OT)? It looks almost like a virga strata, but a virga strata indicates either unison notes or ascending notes like a podatus. Here, it indicates the first two notes of a climacus, equivalent to a clivis, but should they be long or short?

    In the same passage, I also have a question about the notes before the quilismata. The attached graphic is from Stingl (Gregor & Taube). He gives the first as a normal clivis, the second with an episema. In the Triplex, Fischer correctly copies both without an episema, as in E. Cardine, on the other hand, wrote both with episemata. I don't have my copy of the Novum handy as I write this but will check later. Are these really two short notes before a quilisma? There is no way to connect notes to the beginning of a quilisma, so it is my understanding that the neumatic break means nothing. The interpretation of the quilisma was the topic of another recent thread. Is this an example of a short note before a quilisma? There's also an example in today's introit (at "prope") and last Sunday's (at "vocis"). Any help is appreciated!
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  • While SG uses an oriscus for TI both times in "habitat," Laon simply uses an uncinus, but marks it with a "Tenete" the second time. It seems to me that TI is the most important note in both instances, anchoring and governing the entire neume. So I would want to sing all the notes coming before the quilisma, certainly not quickly, but with a sense of forward direction towards the TI, preparing for it.
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  • Thanks, Royce. Your analysis is helpful! Since I posted, I checked Agustoni/Göschl, which includes very detailed tables of neumes. They consider the neume in question to be an episematic torculus with the quilisma taking the place of the first note; so, two long notes and two short notes in the descending passage. There appears not to be an exact equivalent in L.

    Regarding the notes before the quilisma: I also found recordings directed by Agustoni, not of this particular chant, but of chants with analogous passages - normal (cursive) clivis followed by a quilisma. He interprets all the notes as short.
  • Royce's interpretation of that sign as a quilismatic long torculus is absolutely correct. The TI note is long and carries the rhythmic pulse. It's quite common wherever the melody alternates between the LA-TI-DO and SOL-LA-TI modal trichords in figures that emphasize or end on the SOL, which are common in Mode 3 and Mode 8. Such figures are found in the same Offertory on "quaréntes"; in Verse 1 on "thronum" and "qui"; and in Verse 2 on "páuperum", "in finem", and in "desiderium".

    Both clives lack the episema in the Offertoriale Triplex too, but the duration of both notes is still long. The second note has to be long because it precedes the quilisma in the middle of a neum. The note before a quilisma is always long in Gregorian chant, even if not explicitly notated as such. The first note of the clivis is also long because (1) it is long in Laon, (2) it is long over "páuperum" in Verse 2, and (3) it is a very common figure [C, A, quilisma, C] throughout the repertory, where it is often episematic.
  • The second note has to be long because it precedes the quilisma in the middle of a neum. The note before a quilisma is always long in Gregorian chant, even if not explicitly notated as such.
    This is rehashing the "QUILISMA. do not hold" discussion. Cardine: "The notes which precede the quilisma are almost always written with long signs" (Gregorian Semiology, p. 200). Almost always, he says. A normal clivis is possibly one of the exceptions he had in mind.

    You can find Agustoni's recordings of the last two Sunday introits on YouTube. It's most instructive to listen to his interpretation of the quilisma. With Göschl, he published a nearly 1,000-page (!) Introduction to the Interpretation of Gregorian Chant, which was my reference for the quilismatic long torculus.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,091
    The University of Basel supplied this table of St Gall neumes, as part of their course 'From Ink to Sound' with which I am just struggling. They label that neume as a quilisma subpunctis, FWIW.
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  • Almost always, he says.
    The note before a quilisma is always long (whenever it is part of the same syllable), even if it is not always notated as such. The points made in that discussion prove the fact. The absence of an episema on a clivis does not mean the clivis is always short-short. It could be scribal laziness, oversight, meant to be taken for granted, or diligent copying from another manuscript that itself had the same problem.

    Keep in mind always that the medieval manuscripts were originally descriptive of the Roman melodies, not prescriptive (though they later became treated as prescriptive in the Frankish Empire). The melodies existed independently of the neums, and the neums are known to be full of errors and imprecision. The lack of episema here is a sample.
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