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With Voice and PenComing to Know Medieval Song and How it Was Made$
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Leo Treitler

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199214761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214761.001.0001

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Written Music and Oral Music: Improvisation in Medieval Performance

Written Music and Oral Music: Improvisation in Medieval Performance

Chapter:
(p.39) CHAPTER 2 Written Music and Oral Music: Improvisation in Medieval Performance
Source:
With Voice and Pen
Author(s):

Leo Treitler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214761.003.0002

This chapter focuses on the subjection of improvisation in medieval music practice. It argues that if ‘improvisation’ with its modern overtones is not properly medieval, if instead medieval music was produced through methods of composition that do not differentiate ‘written’ and ‘oral’music — or writing and oral process — which do not differentiate methods of composition or characteristics of the product, then we must also try out a different conception of music writing, as a contingent, not a constituent aspect of the music-making complex, an aspect with some autonomy, with its own aims, values, purposes, prestige, reciprocating with its own influence on music, not as something ancillary and merely utilitarian.

Keywords:   medieval music making, performance, music writing

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