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The Solfeggio TraditionA Forgotten Art of Melody in the Long Eighteenth Century$
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Nicholas Baragwanath

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197514085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197514085.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2022

Canto Fermo and Canto Figurato

Canto Fermo and Canto Figurato

(p.58) 5 Canto Fermo and Canto Figurato
The Solfeggio Tradition

Nicholas Baragwanath

Oxford University Press

The chapter surveys the rudiments in their original medieval notation. These were the first (and often only) music lessons taught to choristers in Catholic Europe. Scholars of early music will find few surprises here, although they may be taken aback to discover that these lessons were written centuries after the Guidonian system is commonly presumed to have disappeared from history. Giacomo Tritto’s Rules (1759) are taken to represent elementary music lessons in general, covering the gamut, the Guidonian hand, mutation, basic liturgical conventions, and the application of ficta accidentals. Sharps and flats were essential for correcting dissonant intervals, desirable for enhancing cadences, and useful for rendering tunes more fitting for contemporary taste. Canto fermo was later adapted to produce a more versatile type of notation known as canto figurato. This enabled apprentices to read any staff effortlessly, regardless of its clef or key signature.

Keywords:   canto fermo, canto figurato, music notation, gamut, Guido of Arezzo, solmization, musical mutation, hexachord, musica ficta

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