QUILISMA. do not hold
  • BGP
    Posts: 218
    Is it not possible that the quilisma itself was simply an indication of the half step?

    Since it is nearly always on MI or TI (when it's not perhaps are errors which crept in) and in the lineless notation.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,093
    Steve, listening to ICRSS canons sing “Amen” is a good exercise. It’s barely perceptible so as to not slam the last syllable.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    I am convinced, without any evidence to support it, that the Quilisma originally indicated a vocal shimmer as is often heard in Jewish, Orthodox, and Islamic chant.

    I am also convinced (with plenty of evidence to support it) that "What was originally intended" is interesting, something worth knowing and studying, that it can indeed have practical application for actual liturgical performance practice, and yet is also not remotely the most important thing to concern oneself when working with an actual choir in an actual church doing actual liturgy. There never will be, neither can there be nor should there be, a one right way of singing the chant. The combination of historical accident and divine inspiration has created a body of literature which has, among its many happy qualities, an extreme diversity of potential performance practices. Inasmuch as beauty is subjective and culturally constructed, a sensitive practitioner in any age or region, schooled in any tradition or idiom, can find a way to sing the chant that is -- for that community, in that place, and at that time -- sacred, beautiful, and universal, as well as practical.

    I am also convinced that Pierrot Lunaire is a beautiful and terrifying piece of music, and one of the more perfect examples of the fact that Schoenberg's music was better when he was working on musical instinct than after he codified his system to define the one right system.

    I am further convinced that there is a connection between paragraphs two and three of this post.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 388
    Original intention is a nebulous thing, and really impossible to gauge, by its definition. However, I think original intention is distinct from the inherent form and rules which can be discovered through study of the chants. There may be different ways to perform the chant, but a way which subverts its internal integrity either in its dual nature as text and melody should be avoided.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,780
    A relevant article by Dirk Van Kampen just came to my attention.

    But to return for just a moment to the thrown gauntlet ;-) the String Trio is so obviously the greater masterpiece that I don't see how one can claim Schoenberg's 'system' ever got in his way. It was after all a method: means to an end.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    > the String Trio is so obviously the greater masterpiece

    Insane clowns > no insane clowns
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • I would find Schoenberg more interesting than Faure most any day.
    Now a dilectably performed quilisma?
    That is another matter.

    The Trio, though, is scintillating!
  • Or even Fauré, outclassed as a painting collector by each of the two. ;-)

    How, I wonder, do you judge a clown's fitness of mind? By whether he could tell you who the president is with a straight face?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    The president is like the pope. You have to respect the office even if you think a bumbling fool is in it. Presidents and popes come and go, blessed be the name of the Lord.
    Thanked by 1WGS
  • Coemgen
    Posts: 48
    The mystery of the quilisma is solved. The quilisma is a rising portamento, Schleifer, or slide, or alternatively a light passing note. This is more or less the interpretation that Solesmes has always called for.

    Performance: The note before the quilisma is always long, always a quarter note, as Mocquereau observed. The note after the quilisma can be short or long, eighth or quarter, depending on context. If you're singing metrically the early medieval way, the quilisma itself in theory takes no time out of the beat. In reality it steals a sliver of time from the long note before it. If you sing plainsong, the late medieval way, this translates to Mocquereau's retroactive lengthening of the note before it.

    Under the original meter, the three notes together can be performed then as any of the following:
    1. Dotted eighth + sixteenth + quarter
    2. Quarter + grace + quarter
    3. Quarter + 2 graces + quarter
    4. Quarter + portamento slide + quarter

    Under the modern free-rhythm interpretation, the same thing, except with the beats relaxed.

    Manuscript evidence:
    1. The quilisma is almost always preceded by a long, exceedingly rarely by a short.
    2. The quilisma is never replaced by a long note.
    3. The quilisma is replaced by a sub-short passing note in some cases.
    4. The quilisma drops out in some cases.
    5. The quilisma is parallel to a portamento grace note on a new syllable.
    6. The three-note rising sequence containing a quilisma (a quilismatic scandicus) is parallel to a two-note rising sequence without a quilisma (a long pes).
    7. The quilismas depicted in Laon-Metz notation and St. Gall notation are alternative medieval symbols for a question mark, as Cardine said. This is irrefutable historical fact, in that the symbols of early Gregorian neums evolved from punctuation marks used in ecphonetic tone chants. You can see pictures of the medieval question marks online. According to the book "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves", another symbol was a lightning bolt shape, which I have seen in some notations, Chartres I think, though I can't recall for sure.
    8. The quilisma depicted in St. Gall notation looks like the same symbol as the German Baroque Schleifer. I have an open talk on the Wikipedia page for the Slide, awaiting comment from others. I have not seen this similarity noticed anywhere else on the internet.
    9. The quilisma is called 'tremula' by Aurelian of Réôme in the 850s. It means literally 'trembling', and its meaning is to be understood as 'timid', not as 'vibrating'.

    Too many scholars have contended that the quilisma has a vibrato or trill. This is wrong because:

    1. There is no practical way to execute a vibrato or trill on a light passing note. It cannot be done without giving the quilisma a long beat, and there is no evidence of that in the paleography.
    2. The misunderstanding of 'tremula' as meaning 'shaking', as in shaking the voice up and down, is tied to the St. Gall quilisma wherein the pen undulates upward and downward two or three times. But other notations do not depict the quilisma in this way. The Laon-Metz notation uses an upside-down question mark, and a question ends with a rising sliding voice, not with a vibration, as Cardine noted.
    3. The misunderstanding of 'tremula' as meaning 'shaking' may also be due to a confusion in the High Middle Ages between the quilisma (a rising slide) and the salicus (interpreted by Van Biezen as a composite containing a rising mordent). The first two notes of the three-note salicus are sometimes on the same pitch or one pitch apart, and the voice naturally puts a mordent between them to keep them distinct. The symbol for the second note is in fact the oriscus, which in Laon-Metz notation is the same symbol as the modern turn, and as the modern day's symbol for the turn. This is indeed a 'trembling', i.e. a shaking, of the voice. The confusion between trembling = timid and trembling = shaking is a result of the rising quilisma figure and rising oriscus/salicus figure being interchangeable in many circumstances do their rhythmic time equivalence (at least when sung metrically) and their status as ornaments.

    The reason the first note is lengthened (usually) is because it too falls on a downbeat, and because the quilisma is too 'light' to consume much if any of that beat's time. Likewise, the whole idea that the third note is 'important' is because in the original metrical rhythm called for by the medieval theorists, including Guido of Arezzo and the Enchiriadis authorities, the third note falls on a downbeat.

    - If you sing Gregorian chant with meter, per the first-millennium authorities, the quilisma is either a rising passing note or a slide, between two beats.
    - If you sing Gregorian chant with the modern free-rhythm interpretation, per Solesmes, the quilisma is again either a rising passing note or a slide, between two 'important' notes.
  • For myself personally, I think there are several extremes to be avoided in interpreting chant (well, I suppose music in general, but chant in particular). One is a tendency to establish musical dogma. "Thou SHALT always and forevermore hold the ictus of the salicus, or be forever condemned as an illiterate hater of all things chant."

    Related to this is an exaggerated desire to be "authentic".

    Stulte made some points earlier which I think are spot-on... one which was that, as musicians, we should be focused on making music - not on slavishly adhering to some rigid interpretation that may or may not work in a given context or even be accurate in all cases (as in there are occasional differences of opinion regarding earlier manuscripts). Chant is a prayer, first and foremost, and there are different expressions to be found from similar texts or similar musical motifs that are equally valid.

    Not every dot, not every epizema, not every quilisma is the same in all circumstances.

    The other is that while it is always interesting and informative to dig into the original meanings of the notation, that doesn't mean that we are therefore forced to think exactly the same any more than it means we must deride what has been done in the past in order to be "fresh".

    Guido of Arezzo was drummed out of his monastery for his "tampering" with the chant.
    If THAT doesn't put perspective on it, I don't know what will.
  • When, is it believed by those who believe so, did "early medieval measured chant" give place to "late medieval plain song" ?

    And did the later medievals continue singing the older stuff mensurally, or only their own later compositions? (Or is this unknown?)

  • Andrew -

    It is generally held that by the XIIth century chant had lost its moorings as a text-driven form of sacred song and had become very slow with all neumes being virtually equal. Before this development chant was not 'measured' but received its rhythmic impetus from that of the text, though it seems probable that certain hymnody followed the measured poetic metre of its texts. The evolution from text-driven rhythmic freedom to a long and equal performance was accentuated by the development of organum and polyphony, which were woven around the slow-moving chant (cantus firmus). 'Plainchant' refers to this latter, slow and equal, method of singing chant that wasn't enshrined in organum or polyphony, but was 'plain' - though in modern usage 'plainchant' and 'chant' are more or less synonymous.

    Needless to say, 'vertical episemas' and 'ictuses', and counting groups of two and three weren't around in those days - not until another thousand years, in the early XXth century, were they invented.
  • Coemgen
    Posts: 48
    we should be focused on making music - not on slavishly adhering to some rigid interpretation that may or may not work in a given context or even be accurate in all cases (as in there are occasional differences of opinion regarding earlier manuscripts) ... Not every dot, not every epizema, not every quilisma is the same in all circumstances.

    The episema and the puncta in the manuscripts are indeed misused at times, sometimes obviously, sometimes not so obviously. But the quilisma is used quite consistently. Hence my points. I wish I could say the same about the salicus/oriscus!

    I see your point against "slavishly adhering to some rigid interpretation". We shouldn't let hangups on 'missing knowledge' cramp our musical devotion.

    However, rigidity is exactly what makes science reliable. If Solesmes admitted their interpretations were novel, we'd have no problem, since their music can still be lovely. But, since they claim to have a (mostly) historically accurate interpretation, per Cardine, when in fact nothing could be farther from the truth, it behooves us, in my opinion, to correct that mistake in our understanding.
  • Coemgen
    Posts: 48
    Jackson, good summary. However, the notion that chant was actually 'measured', contrary to what you said, is demonstrable, and has been demonstrated before. The reason so many honest God-fearing people doubt it is their trust in Solesmes' repeated denial thereof ever since the Vatican edition. The reasons for their denial are sundry but nonetheless unjustified.

    If you are interested to talk about it, I advise we start a new thread or two under the semiology label. I really don't know if people still get offended about measured chant the way they did in the 60s, but I'd be glad to oblige if you wish, as long as we keep it all in good joy.
  • However, rigidity is exactly what makes science reliable.

    But music is not simply a science, but an art.

    An epizema means something (at least usually!)... but not always equivalently for every epizema. It's not like saying - "take the note and double the value every time you see this mark". And yet I see people often falling into that mistake. They see a torculus with an epizema and imagine it is always the same without paying attention to the phrasing and they decide to treat each of the three notes as doubled in length. One only wonders what they must do when they reach the end of the Ambrosian Gloria! I think that holds are much more nuanced. It certainly is more difficult to teach, but when the ensemble starts to really follow the direction rather than blindly doubling notes, the effect can be quite profound.

    If Ralph consistently has his schola hold the note after the quilisma while I consistently have my schola hold the note before the quilisma... and perhaps James consistently has his schola do a tremolo on the quilisma itself with no holds - will the world stop revolving? (Perhaps as per mmeladirectress we might suffer the fate of being stoned to death by popcorn - a most grievous way to go.)

    I understand your point... but I think - as musicians - we unduly limit ourselves when we imagine that there is only one way to do something. I'm not suggesting a free-for-all where there no rules whatsoever... but "consistency" and "rules" might be different from individual director to individual director.
  • Coemgen -

    I can't assimilate exactly what you might mean by 'measured'. Is this an affirmation of Wagnerian theories, or any of some other postulations? The 'semiology' which I had intuited for myself decades before I studied with Fr Columba, who gave me a theoretical foundation for my 'intuitions' was not in any sense measured. You would have to elaborate. Chant from its infancy up through the Carolingian era was not measured. In answer to your assertion as to its measuredness having been 'demonstrated before' I require names and evidence. Further, the mere fact that something has been 'demostrated' does not, ipso facto, attest to the validity of what has been 'demonstrated'. After all, our beloved colleagues who champion the so-called (or no-longer-called) 'Solesmes Method' demonstrate very well to the satisfaction of their gullible acolytes that their 'method' is indisputably the correct way to sing chant. And! One might with some justice point out that there is a certain amount of 'measuredment' implicit in much of the No-Longer-Solesmes-Method's interpretations.

  • Coemgen
    Posts: 48
    I am delighted you gentlemen have the same healthy skepticism I do! I also have to verify things for myself.

    If Ralph consistently has his schola hold the note after the quilisma while I consistently have my schola hold the note before the quilisma... and perhaps James consistently has his schola do a tremolo on the quilisma itself with no holds - will the world stop revolving?

    No, but between the three of you, you would be the only one doing it according to its intended interpretation by the people who invented the sign. I agree with you on the point of science and art. What I don't get is your wariness about adhering to an objective interpretation. Are you concerned past tradition isn't as organic as what we do today, or what?

    take the note and double the value every time you see this mark

    That's exactly what the episema means, according to both the Enchiriadis writings and Guido of Arezzo. Micrologus (c. 1022), chapter 15, paraphrased, says the duration of a note may be long or short or 'tremula' (which refers to the quilisma), and whenever it's long it is marked by a horizontal line that doubles the note.

    Now, granted, the notes marked by episema aren't always doubled, but not for the reasons you suspect. The sign isn't always used consistently in the Carolingian manuscripts. But its intrinsic meaning is still 'double the note'. The torculus with three episemas is exactly what you say it is not: three doubled notes. Comparative analysis with similar four-note figures further supports this.

    Chant from its infancy up through the Carolingian era was not measured.

    This is not correct. By measure I mean exactly what you expect: note value. The term measure is inherent in the medieval word for chant modulatio. The theory for proportional concord between rhythmic units in cantus melodies reaches all the way back to Greco-Roman antiquity and is consistently held down to the Carolingian era and does not vanish till the second millennium. The a priori supposition that chant should be free of rhythm is due to (1) the chant's loss of rhythm in the 1000s, (2) Solesmes' historical bias against fixed rhythm, and (3) the a priori assumption that all chant melody evolved from oratorical prosaic rhythm-free psalmody.

    It's a big topic, and I recommend another thread with a better title. Still, to start somewhere, John Rayburn's Gregorian Chant: A History of the Controversy Concerning Its Rhythm, 1964, is required reading.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • It is good to be reminded of Rayburn's book, which puts succinctly in perspective needed the approaches various to chant performance. The sober and refreshingly objective observations of Apel and Sachs are particularly worthy of serious note!

    One has since one's early years been struck with several aspects of chant interpretation that are glaringly ignored by most chant interpreters of all schools - except, perhaps, the speculative-but-often-convincing interpretations of men like Marcel Perez, namely, the Romanian Letters (all of them, not just celeriter!), and the clear and colourful descriptive accounts by mediaeval writers as to how chant was delivered. These accounts are important constituent elements of the paleographic record - elements which we never 'hear' from the very students of that record. Those of the Solesmes camp seem to ignore them more than any others, yet they would have us believe that their method (editorial inventions and all!) is beyond reproach. And, even amongst semiologists there is but the most tepid nod to these aspects.

    Another aspect which we can but with difficulty appreciate over a fifteen hundred year lapse is the long short accent of spoken Latin and that it will have had an unquestionable imprint on any music of that era, especially liturgical chant and cantillation. Few, Solesmes or other, who claim to have recreated historically 'authentic' chant, would shock their people with 'authentically' sung Roman Latin, rife with vibrantly sung Romanian Letters and the rhetorically demonstrative delivery which were, doubtless, hallmarks of the chant which good Pope Gregory heard and had codified.

    It seems to me that few, very few, want their chant to sound too much (if any) differently from what their congregations (have been conditioned to) imagine and expect 'Gregorian' chant to sound like. Hence, applying much of the historical record as to its real performance would just complicate things. We 'semiologists' are far ahead on this score, but we still have a long way to go. It isn't, I think, too far afield to suggest that most chant performance (of any 'method') in our day is to Pope Gregory's chant what playing de Grigny without ornaments and notes inegale would be to French baroque organ music.

    As for the title of this thread -
    it isn't a matter of 'whether' to hold, of 'to hold or not to hold',
    but of which pitch gets holded -
    or, failing that, of what to do (and how to do it) with the middle one.
  • Coemgen, on a purely theoretical level you may well be right.

    On a practical level, I'm afraid we must agree to disagree, although when I sing as part of your choir I will gladly double every epizema even if I suspect the result will not be as fluid and aesthetically pleasing as it might otherwise be. In such a case, I will also follow as (if as I suspect) you speed up or slow down as you phrase the chant, although someone else might well argue that such tempo indications aren't found in the notation (at least, the Solesmes notation).

    I would be very curious to hear how you handle the end of the Ambrosian Gloria where there are two large groupings (18 notes in all) of sequential notes all marked with an epizema.
  • In Early Medieval performance practice, which Solesmes claims is its gold standard:
    - quilisma's first note is always lengthened, if it is present. Paleography proves this.
    - quilisma's second note is never lengthened. Paleography and theory both prove this.
    - quilisma's third note is sometimes lengthened. Depends on the neum.

    It seems to me that few, very few, want their chant to sound too much (if any) differently from what their congregations (have been conditioned to) imagine and expect 'Gregorian' chant to sound like.

    Again, impeccable summary! I would add that, in my opinion, the reason people are against one interpretation or another is nowadays more due to unawareness than anything. We can blame the previous generation for that.

    Incardination, I sympathize with your reservations -- I had the same sentiments a few years back. My comments in reply:

    1) Tempo, according to the medieval theorists, is constant in Early Medieval performance practice, except at the last few notes.

    2) Episema isn't always doubled; that's just the default meaning. Most of the time it is. But, if you follow the theory of Van Biezen, Gregorian chant also has a bit of notes inegales. For example, the figure [short, short, Long, short, Long, Long] is then [8th, 8th, dotted 8th, 16th, 4th, 4th]. This makes sense only if you keep the plausus [pulse] encoded by St. Augustine and enjoined by the Enchiriadis writings. It's a relatively new discovery that removes the chief obstacle that Cardine rejected mensuralism over in 1964, namely that mensural fixity is incompatible with the 'looseness' (what does that even mean?) of the neums. Fluidity and aesthetics are not compromised; quite the opposite rather. In absence of a recording, I recommend Ensemble Organum's Knights Templar album for a loose idea of how it sounds rhythmically.

    3) Ambrosian Gloria IV Ad Libitum, Graduale Romanum/Triplex p. 794, I haven't studied, so I can't say. Consequently, I'd sing it oratorically in absence of knowledge. Neums and/or mensural notation, if they exist, would benefit. Without those, one must rely on comparative analysis, which is highly sophisticated to say the least. However, I can say, if neums exist, and Solesmes' markings are precise, then here is a case where the copyist is saying to slow down for the final cadence. It happens in other neum manuscripts too, especially Laon, in melismatic chants. So there's another exception to the rule.
  • What is your authority for a long-swift-short (or, yet, a long-swift-long) performance of the quilisma?
    This is directly counter to Cardine in Gregorian Semiology, and as taught and demonstrated by Fr Columba.
  • Direct observation. All of that evidence is available on the internet. I wish I could say "See for yourself", but I concede most people lack time and patience to sit down and study it. So here's a lengthy synopsis.

    Fact #1: The note before and below the quilisma is always lengthened, never short.
    Mocquereau gives three pages of demonstration. P. 415-417 of his 'Le Nombre', English translation, which I think is on this website. If that's not enough, you can peruse the Triplex editions just to be sure. I've perused both the Proper and the Antiphonary, and I have yet to see a quilisma preceded by a note that isn't long, either explicitly or by comparative analysis.

    Fact #2: The quilisma itself never lands on a downbeat.
    Mocquereau, p. 415: The rhythmic pulse always falls on the note before the quilisma, never on the quilisma itself. Cardine, p. 201: The melody always “tends toward” the note that follows the quilisma, in that the paleography consistently places a rhythmic accent upon the upper note that follows the quilisma, but again never on the quilisma itself.

    Fact #3: The quilisma itself is never long.
    There is not a single instance in the repertory of first-class Gregorian chant manuscripts of a quilisma lengthened by a horizontal episema or by a Romanus letter ‘T’ for ‘tenete’ = ‘hold’. This suggests that the quilisma is never a long note.

    Fact #4: The quilisma is interchangeable with a light passing note.
    We see it sometimes replaced in Laon and Chartres by a breve (short) depicted as a dot. It happens more often when the ascending interval is larger than a minor third. In Old Roman notation, which doesn't depict rhythm but does like to add Italianate decorations, the quilisma is never depicted as any fancy figure, but just an ordinary note on the semitone. (The oriscus, on the other hand, is often replaced by a turn in Old Roman.)

    Fact #5: The quilisma is interchangeable with an ascending grace note.
    The rising initial auxiliary note of an initio debilis sign found on the second of two syllables is interchangeable with a quilisma bridging the same interval over a single syllable. Because the first note of an initio debilis sign is functionally a grace note or appoggiatura (per Cardine, Murray, and Van Biezen), it follows that the quilisma is performed similarly, if not the same.

    Fact #6: The quilisma is omittable.
    It often disappears in parallel places of some Gregorian chant figures (Cardine p. 205), as seen when the quilismatic long pes is replaced by an ordinary long pes and vice versa (Cardine, p. 204; Van Biezen 2016, p. 16). This can also be seen in parallel passages throughout Old Roman Bodmer C74. The quilisma is therefore an ornamental note not necessary to the structure of the melody. Mocquereau, p. 417:
    The history of the quilisma during the period of greatest decadence fully confirms this deduction. One of the most significant and most common characteristics of this epoch was the total omission of the quilisma. The loss would be inexplicable if a fundamental or lengthened note had been in question. There are many instances of such omissions. Where however the quilisma note itself has been retained, it appears as the middle note of the neum of which it formed part, though this again does not imply that it had been originally strong or long.

    Thence we can determine from the paleographical evidence alone that the quilisma is never long, never structural, never on a downbeat, and never important; but rather always light, always ornamental, always functioning like a passing note, and perhaps always optional. Vollaerts 1958/1960, p. 110, gives a list of chants for comparative analysis to confirm the above points. I'd be glad to give my own as well.

    Still, that's not enough, and so here's some more evidence, philological and testimonial:

    Fact #7: The quilisma symbols of at least three medieval notations are medieval question marks customary in their respective regions.
    Cardine's first page on the quilisma chapter mentions this. The medieval punctus interrogativus calls implicitly for a rising intonation of the voice. Well, likewise, a rising portamento or slide is musically equivalent to, even acoustically the same vocal effect as, the rising of the voice at the end of a spoken question.

    Fact #8: The German Baroque Schleifer is identical to the St. Gall quilisma.
    I have yet to find whether there is a continuity here over five centuries, but, even if there wasn't, it's a striking coincidence, given the equivalence between the Schleifer's performance and the quilisma's performance, as supported by all the evidence I just gave.

    Fact #9: Aurelian of Reome, circa 850, calls the quilisma 'tremula', or "tremulous inflection".
    He points to the word "canticum" in the verse of Gradual "Exultabunt sancti", which has a quilisma. See also Treitler, p. 191. Or, for Aurelian's actual text, see the online Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum. He uses the Latin word "tremula" ("trembling") more than twice in his writing, and that suggests the meaning was clear through the word itself.

    Robert Fowells, Cardine's translator, says the following (Gregorian Semiology: The New Chant. Part II, in Sacred Music, volume 114, number 3 (1987), p. 9):
    Because its appearance looks somewhat like a mordent and early manuscripts say it should be sung with a “tremulous” sound, many musicologists feel that it is a sign for a mordent or a shake, somewhat in the baroque sense. However, “tremulous” not only means “shaking” but “timid”. The Solesmes school has always held that the latter interpretation should prevail and that the note should be passed through lightly.

    Fact #10: Guido of Arezzo, circa 1022, enumerates 'tremula' with long and short as a separate category of duration.
    Micrologus, chapter 15:
    ... and some notes compared to others have a duration twice as long, or twice as short, or trembling, i.e. a varying duration which, whenever long, is signified by a virgula plana assigned to the letters.

    The virgula plana, which means a horizontal line, is the episema. But the 'trembling' or 'tremula' note, i.e. the quilisma, is never long, because it is never furnished with an episema. So it is obvious in Guido's grammar here that he means the 'trembling' note is a third category of note duration that is not long and not exactly short either.

    Fact #11: The 'tremula' is defined in the medieval theory as two or three small notes.
    From the Quid Est Cantus and other medieval treatises, a 'tremula' note is:
    ex tribus gradibus componitur, id est, ex duabus brevibus et acuto
    composed of three pitches, i.e., of two short notes and a high note

    The high note is the third note we talked about. The "duabus brevibus" here are together the single note that we call the quilisma itself. Elsewhere in the testimony, it is described as "two or three" short notes. When you're singing two or three short (enharmonic) notes compressed into the timespan of a single swift note, as the paleographical facts above require, the result is a slide.

    Fact #12: Nonantola notation depicts the quilisma not as a question mark but as two rising dots.
    So two rising dots in Nonantola are equivalent to the swift note implied by the paleographical facts. The only resulting interpretation then is exactly what the medieval theorists' definition calls for.

    First note = long. Second note = slide or swift passing note. Third note = not restricted by the above evidence; its length depends on the melody.
  • You spend much time asserting that the quilisma is never elongated.
    Well, indeed it isn't.
    No one has suggested otherwise.

  • What is your authority for a long-swift-short (or, yet, a long-swift-long) performance of the quilisma?
    This is directly counter to Cardine in Gregorian Semiology, and as taught and demonstrated by Fr Columba.
    You spend much time asserting that the quilisma is never elongated.
    Well, indeed it isn't.
    No one has suggested otherwise.
    But what part of long-swift-short or long-swift-long contradicts Cardine? If you're in agreement with Coemgen about the non-lenthening of the quilisma, the long note preceding it would seem to be the point of contention, but Cardine notes that these notes are normally written long (as does Mocquereau, quoted above). It's unclear what interpretation you're actually advocating.
  • My reading of Cardine and my studies with Fr Columba Kelly have brought me to the short-speedy-lengthened performance of a quilisma group - with the understanding, in agreement with Cardine, that there is, depending on context, some latitude. Actually, while I am in theoretical agreement with Fr Columba, I'm not comfortable with the rather cavalier way which is typical of his performance. This is not my only disagreement with his praxis, as opposed to his theoria. I shant go into detail about his and my differences, for they are not of substance. This is, perhaps, only natural because I stress superb diction and refined choral tone, to which he, for all his emphasis on the word and the text, gives scant attention. He, on the other hand, takes issue with my 'Anglican ways' in chant and choral work. I can only say that no Anglican choir ever sang chant the way I do, having been influenced by him. I really don't like criticising him because we are friends, I am a disciple of his, and because he has provided me with the theoretical basis for what I had intuited for decades, having been greatly dissatisfied with the LU's horribly dated dicta, its presumptuous and free handed editorialisms, and the inconsistencies in the so-called 'Solesmes method' - which is no longer the method followed at Solesmes (and, thus, is not really The Solesmes Method - which is all crudely deceiving to the uninitiated!). Too, I tire of the cant of those who seem to think that Mocquereau and the LU are as inerrant as a Southern Baptist thinks the Bible is. It isn't and they aren't.

    Further, it is preposterous that at most colleges and universities, even those of great renown, the default reference for chant seems to be the LU. No other period in music history, or any other discipline, will assume and teach one hundred-year-old scholarship as if it were the last word, while ignoring or actually being ignorant of, scholarship which supersedes it.
  • I gave the data to settle the matter, because the interpretation of the quilisma itself as a sliding transition requires the length of the note before it, and since the quilisma cannot be interpreted any other way according to the evidence, it follows that the note before it is required to be long. If the note before it were short, it would merge into the quilisma and become part of the slide. This is a more musicologically accurate way to say what Mocquereau always said: that the quilisma retroactively lengthens the note before it.

    I don't have Cardine with me -- I loaned it to a friend -- but I don't recall him really disagreeing substantially with Mocquereau. I think his observation that the first note is long on account of its sign is easier to reckon with than Mocquereau's retroactivity, but that's splitting hairs. Mocquereau might have made mistakes in interpreting the data, but in my opinion when it came to data observation he was a fantastic paleographer. Same with Cardine.

    On the other hand, I admit showing the first note is long in and of itself would require good examples. And showing it is never short is harder, since it would require all examples! To ease things, might you be willing to flip the burden and explain why Fr. Columba (if I read you right) advocates the first note being short? I'm not too acquainted with his teachings.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    Not every dot, not every epizema, not every quilisma is the same in all circumstances.

    This reminds me of a master class in which it was mentioned that (after a relative key change) that high G has to sound different. G isn't the same in c-minor and Eb Major, or C Major and a-minor. You have to look at the context and prove that you know what the words and notes mean..

    A good example of variance is how often the attached motif sung with a lengthened 2nd note in the first iteration of the salicus, but sung straight through on the second.
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  • "The notes which precede the quilisma are almost always written with long signs" (Cardine, p. 200). Pretty straightforward. If you find a quilisma with a puntum preceding it, then sure, sing it short, but that would be the exception, not the rule. I see nothing in Gregorian Semiology to suggest lengthening the note after the quilisma unless it's marked long, but I'm willing to admit I might have overlooked something.
  • Fr Columba's teaching about the quilisma is indeed, in effect, that the initial neum of the group is but the starting point (spring-board?) for a rapid glissando-like ascent to the final neume. The effect is not unlike that of a French baroque coule. The first neum is almost totally subsumed (drawn) into the rapid quilisma itself while the final one is held, sort of in suspended animation, before proceeding. In this fashion the quilisma is not so much a rapid neum or pitch, but sort of a glissando into the higher pitch. He makes a point of this being the direct opposite of the so-called Solesmes method and the LU, and in imitation of the rising voice which rests on the higher pitch of an interrogation. This, I must admit, is in some (though not all) contexts, rather awkward, even artless, and I am not always altogether satisfied with it. In other contexts it seems to work with grace. Its most problematic moments are those in which the quilisma is a third (in very rare instances a fourth) higher than the initial pitch - such as was one of them in the recent All Saints' propers - the communion I think it was.

    Fr Columba is, after all, one of the world's foremost chant scholars, who has studied, written, and published about chant for over sixty years, and is certainly in the top-most rank of Anglophone chant scholarship.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CCooze
  • His logic, at least the way you worded it, makes sense. A fast rising quilisma puts much melodic 'energy' into that high note. The energy stops, emphasizing note 3. I don't see the awkwardness that you see, but then I haven't heard his recordings.

    However, it's not the only option. If note 3 is not the end of the neum, say in Introit Gaudeamus's cadence, then you can justify its shortness by imagining that energy moving past it, through note 4, to note 5, which then is lengthened.

    D [E] F E F
    long + quilisma + porrectus
    quarter + slide + eighth + eighth + quarter
    dotted eight + sixteenth + eighth + eighth + quarter
    or, in Cardine's terms,
    heavy + lightest + light + light + heavy
  • A good example of variance is how often the attached motif sung with a lengthened 2nd note in the first iteration of the salicus, but sung straight through on the second.

    The second note of a salicus is never lengthened (without the rest of the salicus).
  • The second note of a salicus is never lengthened (without the rest of the salicus).

    Again, on a theoretical level I would agree... but not always from a practical level. Of course there are regiments of people who always hold the ictus of the salicus, but entirely apart from that there is the quite common interpretation to hold the ictus when the interval is 5th or higher - as in the intonation of the Ave Maria.

    I knew one director who (quite successfully, I would have to say) held the note following the ictus.
  • Putting the energy into the higher pitch is exactly what Fr Columba intends, and it makes sense. Further, we all have dealt with choristers who have trouble singing scale degrees in succession but 'scoop' up from one note to another in an interval. We expend much time eliminating 'scooping'. Well, swiftly 'scooping' is exactly how to perform a quilisma group according to Fr Columba's teaching. I tell my scholars and choristers that the only time they are allowed to scoop is at a quilisma in chant. This is, of course, the literal opposite of the so-called Solesmes Method's practice, which by focusing the energy on the first pitch has expended it before the climactic ascent to the highest pitch. It is as if a Roman candle would burst on the ground before shooting skyward to illuminate the sky.
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  • Of course there are regiments of people who always hold the ictus of the salicus, but entirely apart from that there is the quite common interpretation to hold the ictus when the interval is 5th or higher - as in the intonation of the Ave Maria.

    I knew one director who (quite successfully, I would have to say) held the note following the ictus.
    CCooze's example (Communion for Pentecost+XVI/Ordinary Time XXIII) has two true salici. I don't have the neumes for the Ave Maria handy, but I suspect it's a case where the neume in question is actually a scandicus with a neumatic break, like the Gadeamus introits. Here, the top note of the podatus should be lengthened, just like in the old Solesmes style. See Dom Bevenot's article in Sacred Music, vol. 115.4.
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  • It is as if a Roman candle would burst on the ground before shooting skyward to illuminate the sky.

    Love it!
  • madorganist
    Posts: 906
    According to Gregorian Semiology, "the virga after the quilisma . . . is always followed by an intentional neumatic break" (p. 202). Why is the neumatic break here presumed to be intentional? How would one notate two or more ascending notes after a quilisma using the St. Gall neumes without a neumatic break? Is it possible?
  • @madorganist

    I believe he has in mind situations such as the following.

    Consider the porrectus flexus. Sometimes it is written with what Cardine calls a neumatic break, as in his example 114, where the initial neume can be seen as a virga, and the remainder as a torculus. I believe he is saying that even if, melodically speaking, the sequence of (in this case, four) notes following the quilisma has the 'shape' of the porrectus flexus, it will be written as in example 114 -- i.e., a break after the virga following the quilisma -- and not in the ways (of writing the porrectus flexus) that 'join' the virga to the remainder (as in his examples 111-113).


    I find the use of the term 'proves' in the context of paleography very problematic. I agree that paleography shares some methodological and epistemic features with science. This similarity only heightens my unease with such terminology. Some late 19th century physicists, for example, seemed quite confident that physics was essentially done by that point. Oops. (Not Kelvin! The thought is, I think, often misattributed to him. Michelson seems to have thought so, and some others.) Similar thoughts about biology circulated not long prior to Darwin's work.

    The fact that so much relevant evidence is lost, perhaps even irretrievably, does not bolster one's confidence, either.

    None of the above is meant to diminish in any way the value of careful study of the manuscripts. It is fascinating, and sometimes even informative. Indeed, I would suggest that the value of that study is (no doubt unintentionally) diminished by the use of language that suggests 'inescapable' conclusions and 'proven' claims, and the like.

    Thanked by 2Incardination Robert
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,475
    Amazing! Who would think a couple of dots would spawn so much!!!
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,225
    quite confident that physics was essentially done by that point

    Similarly, Watson of IBM expressed his conviction that there would never be development beyond that of c.1950 computing machines.

    "Oops", indeed!
  • I wanted to revisit the conversation because it dawned on me where the misunderstanding about the old Solesmes salicus interpretation might have crept in. CCooze wrote:
    A good example of variance is how often the attached motif sung with a lengthened 2nd note in the first iteration of the salicus, but sung straight through on the second.
    Attached is an example notated a little differently from hers, from the gradual "Propitius esto" for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost/Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
    Similar examples can be found in the graduals "Pacifice," "Domine, Dominus noster," and "Liberasti nos." In the Vatican edition, the first salicus is printed as a punctum followed by a podatus, but the second salicus is printed as a podatus followed by a virga with the vertical episema above the podatus. The Liber "Rules for Interpretation" state that the marked note in the first type is to be "emphasized and lengthened, just as in the case of the note which precedes the quilisma" [which "should be notably lengthened"] and that the vertical episema in the second type "indicates a rather important ictus which should be brought out in the rendering" and that at the interval of a fifth, the upper note "should be notably lengthened." This has perhaps given some choirmasters the impression that the marked note in the second form of the salicus is shorter than in the first unless the interval is a fifth. How they bring out the "rather important ictus" without lengthening the note is anyone's guess. Richard Rice's "Guide to Singing Chant" in the Parish Book of Chant seems to suggest that the second form of the salicus has a long note only if the interval is a fifth.
    The early manuscripts, however, show identical markings for both of the consecutive neumes in the St. Gall notation: two salici with a long top note, and two scandicus in the Laon neumes, the first with a T over the virga. The new graphics as used by Anton Stingl on the Gregor und Taube site also show an identical form for both salici.
    I hope this is helpful to someone!
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Following the Liber rules, I would take it to mean that the punctum-podatus is to be sung where the final note of the group is an escape tone from the first note of the podatus, and either that note is taken more lightly or the first note of the podatus is slightly emphasized, either by length or volume (or both). With the podatus-punctum, the first note is an approach toward the second, and should be slightly softer/quicker.

    Of course the St Gall above indicates something else entirely ... so just sing whichever sounds best. :-)
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  • And from Gregorian Semiology, p. 171:
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  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Yes 353 is a great example. Same neumatic gesture immediately repeated but it means two different things! (or a tipsy scribe)
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  • the graphics of the second salicus of C and G is influenced by the pressus major following it. The graphic separation and rythmn is relative to what is preceeding or following. no one was tipsy. Quilismas emphasize a smooth steady flow to a final note which may be beyond the neume. it is also a warning that you will singing thru a structure pitch which will not be as important as you think. A warning to look beyond.