By Margaret Bent
Musica ficta is the perform of sprucing or knocking down definite notes to prevent awkard periods in medieval and Reniassance track. This assortment gathers Margaret Bent's influential writings in this debatable topic from the earlier thirty years, in addition to an in depth author's advent discussing the present kingdom of scholarship and responding to critics.
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Additional resources for Counterpoint, Composition and Musica Ficta (Criticism and Analysis of Early Music)
To use it as he intended it to be used, or as musicians of the time used it, can bring us even closer to those thought processes. To gain fluency, not only in reading an individual part but in the new kind of musicianship that it demands for coordination with others, enables one, when using modern editions, better to keep in mind the language behind the translation. It is also a way for a musicologist to introduce professional singers to aspects of the music, including ficta decisions; even slight exposure to the different musical demands of an underprescriptive notation is educative, and can only improve understanding when they return to performing the music from critical editions that may be excessively timid.
24 Tuning Jonathan Walker points out that what I say about shifting (Chapter 4, p. 25 The situation arises in the case of triadic sonorities that I believe may in practice have been tuned as just, not as Pythagorean thirds. He writes: Frequent (or even occasional) shifting by syntonic commas would not have arisen until pervasive triadic sonorities became the stylistic norm during the second half of the fifteenth century [“triadic sonorities,” in order to avoid implying that triads had any theoretical status at this time]; before then, the pervasive movement from imperfect to perfect consonances in all parts meant that Pythagorean intonation was appropriate and easily intuited by singers, and the syntonic comma does not arise, of course, in Pythagorean intonation.
124; see annotations to pp. 124, 126). In other words, successive changes are locally defined and, like tempo changes, may not need to refer back to the beginning, which is quite a different claim from saying that musicians would not have noticed or cared about such change. Josquin, Ave Maria Chapter 6 is a closely related revisitation of Chapter 4; the two should now be read in conjunction for correctives to “Diatonic Ficta,” particularly with respect to the Josquin example. Roger Wibberley graciously agreed to this publication of my part of our exchange.