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With Voice and PenComing to Know Medieval Song and How it Was Made$
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Leo Treitler

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199214761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214761.001.0001

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Medieval Improvisation

Medieval Improvisation

Chapter:
(p.1) CHAPTER I Medieval Improvisation
Source:
With Voice and Pen
Author(s):

Leo Treitler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214761.003.0001

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.

Keywords:   medieval music, Bruno Nettl, chants, etymological roots, pejorative connotations

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