The Reception of Ancient Texts in the Carolingian Era

Charles M. Atkinson

in The Critical Nexus

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780195148886
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852185 | DOI:

Series: AMS Studies in Music

The Reception of Ancient Texts in the Carolingian Era

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This chapter considers the ways ancient texts treating tone-system, mode, and notation were received and taught in the Carolingian era. The terms and concepts from the works of Boethius, Martianus Capella, Cassiodorus, Isidore of Seville, and Donatus discussed under the rubric of “the heritage of antiquity” were important as objects of study during the Carolingian era. Starting with manuscripts from the first part of the 9th century, it is shown that Carolingian schoolmasters, such as John Scottus Eriugena and Remigius of Auxerre made concentrated attempts to understand and explain such concepts as tonus, tropus, accentus, and seminarium musices. They grappled with them, moreover, on their own terms, that is, as they had been understood in Antiquity. At the same time, their commentaries could not help but reflect—and in turn influence—the milieu in which they were written and the directions in which musical thought was heading.

Keywords: tone-system; model notation; Carolingian era; Antiquity; John Scottus Eriugena; Remigius of Auxerre

Chapter.  15138 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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