Inscribing medieval pedagogy: Musica ficta in its texts
de Andre, Clovis Afonso
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This dissertation focuses on the medieval and Renaissance understandings of musica ficta with respect to considering its repertorial and theoretical contexts, from the ninth to the sixteenth century. Contrary to common understandings that musica ficta was linked primarily to the rules of counterpoint, and therefore to polyphony, the author argues that musica ficta was the product of earlier monophonic contexts that called for solutions mainly through solmization. The entire process of solmization is laid out, first regarding recta solmization and then moving to ficta solmization. The three main procedures for clarifying hexachords (mutation, permutation, and transmutation) are discussed. Each is addressed in detail; types and subtypes (such as 'explicit,' 'implicit,' and 'indirect' mutations), species ( recta - and ficta -mutations), cases ('regular' and 'irregular' mutations, permutations by leap and stepwise, transmutations in upper- and subsemitone situations, as well as in propinquity) are identified and defined. The dissertation introduces to ficta scholarship notions of transmutation and of solmization by means of octave equivalence. In the latter, a momentary shift between two hexachords of the same kind (say, two C ̄[barbelow] -hexachords in different octaves) may be solmized without an actual change between them (i.e., without mutation). 'Transmutation' is conceived as an umbrella term that encompasses other types short-range shifts between hexachords, in which one borrows a note from a different hexachord in order to permit the solmization of a transitional step that falls outside of its limits. This may happen, for example, when a note from an F ̄[barbelow] -hexachord is solmized within a C ̄[barbelow] -hexachordal gesture, in order to momentarily reach a b [musical flat] above a . These concepts and terminology as promulgated in the language of medieval didactic writings are also considered in terms of contemporaneous rhetorical and philosophical practices, in an attempt to tease out the conceptual background that may have informed the approaches to solmization and the realization of musica ficta taken by theorists, pedagogues, and performers.