Nuanced Rhythm before Mocquereau
  • Dom Gregory Murray: "Dom Mocquereau admits that there were mensuralists during the Gregorian centuries; it would be interesting if clear evidence could be cited to show that during the same period there were some who were not mensuralists." Upon reading this, one of my choir members asked me, "Is that really true that there may not have been any non-mensuralists??" My answer: "I'm fairly certain it's true! I've never come across a shred of evidence for 'nuanced' rhythm before the late 19th century."

    Am I mistaken? Are there writings - or transcriptions - that I should be aware of? My understanding is that proportional rhythm morphed into a slow/long equalist interpretation, then the Medicean edition altered the neumes but restored a sort of proportional rhythm.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,697
    The second, 1753, of these French Oratorian books https://data.bnf.fr/fr/16218278/francois_bourgoing_brevis_psalmodiae_ratio/ is strongly in favour of nuanced rhythm. It attempts to notate it with six different note lengths. The text I attach is translated from Czech but it captures the point.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,697
    Here is an attempt I made to use gabc to transcribe Salve Regina. I am imposing my own understanding of the authors intention, of course, but the rhythm seems very like the way I would say it.
  • Thanks again, @a_f_hawkins. I thought the collective knowledge of the forum participants might have produced more than a single reference. As it stands, I can only revise my claim slightly: "I've never come across a shred of evidence for 'nuanced' rhythm before the late 19th 18th century."