• I'm looking for information on the use of the Bb in Solesmes editions.

    Any suggestions?
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    The Willi Apel book treats this
  • Jeff:

    Thank you. I'm familiar with that section in Apel's book (1958).

    Are you aware of any other sources that address this topic?
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    Perhaps this is relevant to your query - Here is a quote from Dom Saulnier (someone's translation of an essay that's on the website of the Solesmes Atelier de paléographie) explaining the prevalence of B naturals in the 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum, and why they are often flat in the new Antiphonale:

    When one compares the AR 1912 and the AM 1934, one is struck by the number of si flats that have been changed into si natural. In studying the charts compiled under the direction of D. Gajard, one can conclude that it is he who, at the last moment, i.e., on the galley proofs of the AM 1934, crossed out by hand numerous si flats to change them into si natural. Why did he do that? There are several reasons.

    The first stems from an erroneous interpretation of the manuscripts from Italy, especially those of Benevento. These manuscripts do not distinguish between si flat and si natural. They do not recognise the flat sign; they write si with any other indication and entrust the rest to the memory of the singers. As these are also very reliable manuscripts for the teneurs si and mi of the 3rd and 4th modes [J. GAJARD, “Les récitations modales des 3e et 4e modes dans les manuscrits bénéventains et aquitains”, Etudes grégoriennes 1 (1954), p. 9-46.], D. Gajard believed that the absence of the flat sign was for them a kind of evidence in favour of si natural.

    The second seems to correspond to a taste of the period: to maintain the original character of medieval chant, certain people tried to give it an exotic, extraordinary flavour. But the comparison of the medieval manuscripts shows that it is often the Vatican edition owed to D. Pothier (1912) that has the right of it on this point, in accord with the monastic tradition (Saint-Denis, Saint-Maur des Fossés, Metz), a part of the Germanic tradition (Saint-Georges de Willingen, Aix-la-Chapelle, Utrecht), and the Solesmes antiphonaries of D. Guéranger until 1934. Thus numerous antiphons of the new antiphonary bring back the traditional si flat, especially in the 1st and 4th modes, but also, sometimes in a little less notable way, in the 8th mode and even by way of exception in some antiphons in the 3rd mode, where it contrasts with the structural si natural.
  • Robert:

    Thank you.
  • WGS
    Posts: 258
    from: The Story of Notation by C. F. Abdy Williams, 1903

    Under the heading of "The Greek System", the author asserts that early Egyptian and Greek lyres were tuned to a tetrachord: B, C, D, E. According to Cleonides, Terpander expanded this in conjunction by another tetrachord: E, F, G, a.

    This was subsequently expanded to the Greater Perfect Sytem of four tetrachords by adding:
    b, c, d, e, f, g, a'.

    "This system was also called 'disjunct' owing to the fresh start above the middle "a".

    "The Lesser Perfect System, called the 'Conjunct System', consisted of three tetrachords."
    B, C, D, E, F, G, a, b flat, c, d

    "The reader will perceive that a new note, B flat, is here introduced, in order to bring the conjunct tetrachord into agreement with the others as to its intervals. The tetrachord prevailed over the octave at this time, and allowed a B natural and a B flat to occur in the same scale."
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    WGS - any idea when the concepts of "A" thru "G" were first introduced? (And why our 'major' octave runs C to C?)It's unlikely to have been before the western alphabet! :)