· blog d'nformations et documents de travail ·

vendredi 15 décembre 2006

Documents de travail

Vous trouverez ici quelques liens vers des lectures préalables.
Note : Cette page est enrichie au fur et à mesure (la disponibilité des documents sous forme électronique conditionnant aussi le choix). Aussi, n'hésitez pas à m'envoyer des textes que vous voudriez faire lire préalablement aux participants.
[cliquez sur le titre pour accéder au texte en ligne, ou sur le bouton droit de la souris, puis sur « enregistrer la cible sous... » pour le télécharger]


1. Claude Perrault, De la musique des anciens (1680) – [2250 Ko]

Si la musique antique, restaurée, retrouvée dans sa théorie et dans le résultat sonore, a déçu les oreilles du xviie siècle, c’est peut-être que celles-ci y cherchait des propriétés que leur propre héritage musical (polyphonique, médiéval, humaniste) les menaient à y projeter. Cet argument, parmi d’autres, est ici développé par Claude Perrault, dans l'un des textes les plus importants relatifs à la « querelle ».

2. Étienne Loulié, Mathématicien musicien (ca 1690-1700), ms. – [50 Ko]

Anecdotique par sa forme (manuscrit, il fait partie des papiers personnels de Loulié), ce texte reflète l'attitude probablement la plus extrême dans l'analogie – et la transposition de la querelle – entre Anciens et Théoriciens puis Modernes et Praticiens.

3. Gioseffo Zarlino, « Proemio » de ses Istituzioni harmoniche (1558)
[52 Ko ; ouvrage mis en ligne intégralement sur CHMTL]
Guido Mambella commente l'archéologie de la querelle en partant de ce Proemio. Philippe Canguilhem s'y réfère également.

4. Charles Perrault, le dialogue concernant la musique, extrait du Parallèle des Anciens et des Modernes. Où il est traitté de l'astronomie, de la géographie, de la navigation, de la guerre, de la philosophie, de la musique, de la médecine, etc., cinquième et dernier dialogue. Tome quatrième (1697) [431 Ko ; ouvrage disponible intégralement sur Gallica]

· Giovanni Maria Artusi, L’ Artusi, overo Delle imperfettioni della moderna musica (1600)[ouvrage mis en ligne intégralement sur CHMTL]

· Marin Mersenne, « Question V » de ses Questions harmoniques (1634) – [50 Ko]


1. Hippolyte Rigault, Histoire de la querelle des anciens et des modernes (1856)
– [document numérique Gallica]

La première étude globale de la question
(et une des seules) ; la musique n'y est toutefois pas considérée.

vendredi 1 décembre 2006

Points du programme - I.1 : Peter Hauge

Présentation de la proposition de Peter Hauge (Bibliothèque royale du Danemark) :
Updating music theory in 17th-century England: discussions between musicians and natural philosophers of the Royal Society

[Argument · Mots-clés · Introduction · Points de discussion]

  • Argument:
It is evident that in England, during the middle of the seventeenth century amidst the serious political and religious turmoil, the clashes between the musicians (the old) and the natural philosophers of the Royal Society (the new) created many heated discussions and led to the development of a new musical ‘language’: traditional terms and definitions were redefined and new ones were proposed in order to bring the old music theory in accordance with music practice. That is, the philosophers sensed that musical works were composed not employing the rules and methods argued in the traditional music theoretical works, but according to rules not explained. One very interesting consequence was that the natural philosophers proposed new concepts which utimately led to the theory of major and minor key they.
  • Keywords:
Musical experiments at the Royal Society; a ‘scientific’ method of composing; the octave (ladder => circle => spiral); tuning and scales; Zarlino, Morley, Kepler, Mersenne, Butler, Birchensha, Salmon, Purcell; the musical amateur.
  • Introduction:
The interaction between members (especially the natural philosophers) of The Royal Society of London and the practitioners of music (composers and musicians) especially during the middle of seventeenth century had enormous ramifications. Thus traditional musical concepts, such as ‘major’ (durus) and ‘minor’ (mollis), were redefined and new were developed during the - at times - rather heated discussions. Among the most heated quarrels was that between the composer and musician, John Locke, and the consultant at the Society, Thomas Salmon, who argued in favour of simplifying the reading of music by employing only the G-clef. In addition he argued that the traditional solmisation system was completely out-dated and that it would be more convenient to interprete the octave-scale as a circle rather than a ladder to which Locke protested vehemently.

However, before things came that in the late seventeenth century, it is important to keep in mind that already in the beginning of the century the growing class of musical amateurs and connoisseurs played an seminal role in the development of new musical concepts. Thus the intellectual, affluent gentleman (and lady) could play the lute using tablature avoiding the complexities of having to learn to read a notational system. The amateur student was content with only knowing how to put the fingers on the frets and reading the rhythmic line above the tablature. Any knowledge on modes, scales, intervals, dissonances, consonances, note names, and solmisation for example was superfluous and hence discarded.

Many amateurs wished also to composed and consequently most treatises published in England during the seventeenth century are addressing this group of readers. Again, complex music theoretical issues were normally avoided or at least relegated to appendices (see e.g. Thomas Morley). This has lead musicologists to argue that professional composers and musicans were not educated in the traditional theory rooted in for example modal practice: they had no knowledge of the church modes; English musicians had no real music theoretical knowledge as French or Italian ones (however, there are signs implying that this statement is very simplistic). During the middle of the century, suggestions were proposed to the Royal Society regarding a simpler, more ‘scientific’ method of composition. The Society appointed a committee, consisting of a few musical members and a consultant, to investigate the matter; a book was proposed but never saw the light-of day. The famous diarist, Samul Pepys who later became president of the Royal Society, tried out the new method though he later had to admit that it did not seem to work.

Another subject of importance for these changes is the historical fact that around this time England was enveloped in a serious political and religious turmoil, ending with civil war and the execution of the king. Music disappeared from Court and Church and was now relegated to the private sphere making it very difficult for professional composers and musicians to survive. Thus many intellectuals, in order to distance themselves from the old regime and also due to lack of musical education, could begin to ask inquisitive questions about for example music, music theory and practice. Misunderstandings of music theoretical concepts was very close at hand: the mathematician, John Pell (a friend of Descartes whose treatise on music he also copied), asked why musicians only use three different scales (hard, soft and natural) when there must be seven different ones as each scale starts on a different step and there are seven different steps.

The two very distinct worlds - that is, the one of the musicians and the other of the natural philosophers (including the intellectual amateur) - created a fertile ground for the development of new ideas on music theoretical questions. It is evident that the most conservative and those most opposed to changes were the musicians. The natural philosophers merely argued that their purpose with suggesting new definitions and solutions to musical problems was to bring music theory closer to the music practice as they saw being practiced by musicians and seen in the works of composers.
  • Topics:
- The importance of Zarlino’s senario-concept for the development of the major/minor key theory in England by members of the Royal Society (Zarlino, Kepler, Mersenne and English theorists);
- The attempt to develop a better tuning system (that is, employing the Ptolomeian, diatonic syntonic scale rather than the Pythagorean) discussed among natural philosophers and musicians, the system was also demonstrated at various concerts playing Corelli’s works;
- The concept of the octave (ladder => circle => spiral), that is from the traditional hexachordal theory with solmisation (the Gamut as only containing 22 notes, that is ‘ladder’) to the modern understanding of the Gamut as being infinite (that is, ‘spiral’);
- Is it possible to trace the new trends in music theory in the compositions?
- Did music theory develop through what was practiced by musicians and composers or on the contrary, were they inspired by the philosophers discussions on music theory?