- Title Pages
- List of Plates
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Musical Examples
- Notes on the Compact Disc
- CHAPTER I Medieval Improvisation
- CHAPTER 2 Written Music and Oral Music: Improvisation in Medieval Performance
- CHAPTER 3 The Vatican Organum Treatise and the Organum of Notre Dame of Paris: Perspectives on the Development of a Literate Music Culture in Europe
- CHAPTER 4 ‘Peripheral’ and ‘Central’
- CHAPTER 5 On the Structure of Alleluia Melisma: A Western Tendency in Western Chant(?)
- CHAPTER 6 Homer and Gregory: The Transmission of Epic Poetry and Plainchant
- CHAPTER 7 ‘Centonate’ Chant: <i>übles Flickwerk or e pluribus unus</i>?
- CHAPTER 8 Lingering Questions about ‘Oral Literature’
- CHAPTER 9 The Politics of Reception: Tailoring the Present as Fulfilment of a Desired Past
- CHAPTER 10 Oral, Written, and Literate Process in the Music of the Middle Ages
- CHAPTER 11 Observations on the Transmission of Some Aquitanian Tropes
- CHAPTER 12 History and the Ontology of the Musical Work
- CHAPTER 13 The Early History of Music Writing in the West
- CHAPTER 14 Reading and Singing: On the Genesis of Occidental Music Writing
- CHAPTER 15 Speaking of Jesus
- CHAPTER 16 Medieval Music and Language
- CHAPTER 17 The Marriage of Poetry and Music in Medieval Song
- (p.1) CHAPTER I Medieval Improvisation
- With Voice and Pen
- Oxford University Press
This chapter discusses improvisation in medieval music-making. It argues that the etymological roots of the word ‘improvisation’ and that its wide usage in the 19th and 20th centuries could have negative and even pejorative connotations when it is held up against the value-norm of through-composed, well-structured, unified music. Bruno Nettl's reflections on the cultural meaning of those connotations are considered. Examples of medieval music are presented.
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