Sunday, June 17, 2012

Duly Noted

In his Etymologies, St Isidore said,  Unless sounds are remembered by man, they perish, for they cannot be written down.”  He was right in his time, but it didn't take long for people to find a new way to write music. 
"Duly Noted" was an attempt to trace the uneven history of notating music in manuscripts, first with neumes, then with neumes on a staff, to square or diamond-shaped notes on a staff of four to seven lines. There were other methods used in handbooks that didn't quite make it to prime-time. Some of the manuscripts were smaller than a paperback, others were well over two feet tall. 
The best thing I found was the Exultet Roll, which was nothing less than 11th century PowerPoint!  Since this was an event that combined the Stellar University of Northshield with a Scribes and Heralds Symposium, I included lots of manuscripts with heraldry. I also recycled "Now I know my ABGs" -- a history of the alphabet.

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