Taking the Rough with the Smooth

Susan Rankin

in The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages

Published in print August 2000 | ISBN: 9780195124538
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868421 | DOI:
Taking the Rough with the Smooth

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The song Diastematica vocis armonia belongs to an extensive repertoire of songs with which, from the late 11th century on, clerics in France and related areas were accustomed to celebrate the highest feasts of the church year. Comparison of this song and its source, GB-Cu MS Ff.1.17 (the so called Younger Cambridge Songbook), with similar songs, as copied in the later MS I-Fl MS Plut. 29.1 (F), shows that conductus songs of this sort were evidently on the margins of the liturgy in the 11th and 12th centuries, but by the mid-13th century had become an officially supported part of the performance of the Divine Office in many parts of France. The nature of the manuscripts that survive containing the repertory reflects its change in stature.

Keywords: conductus; Office; manuscripts and prints; Diastematica vocis armonia; Pluteus 29.1; monophonic Latin songs; musical notation; Middle Ages; performance practice; scribal techniques

Chapter.  5966 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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