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Stoessel J. Symbolic Innovation: The Notation of Jacob de Senleches. 1999.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/2265
Symbolic Innovation: The Notation of Jacob de Senleches
"Sic nunc successive venientes, habentes et intelIegentes que primi magistri relinquerunt maiores subtilitates per studium sunt confecti ut quod per antecessores imperfectum relictum fuit per successores reformetur." With this statement, the late fourteenth century anonymous author of the 'Tractatus Figurarum' concludes his prologue. The subsequent chapters in this treatise detail a rich vocabulary of novel signs used to achieve a new, subtle rhythmic freedom. From the grammatical tense of the previous passage, it is clear that this treatise is concerned with innovations that have already occurred. While very few of the actual signs in the treatise are found in the surviving sources containing this repertoire, the concerns expressed by the author of the 'Tractatus' clearly reflect the notational situation apparent in surviving works in the 'ars subtilior' style. Prior to the twentieth century, no greater diversity of notational signs ('figure') are found in a mensural context than in the surviving versions of works by Jacob de Senleches, his contemporaries and his immediate successors. The use of special figures in his 'La harpe de melodie' and 'En attendant esperance' is only exceeded by Rodericus' 'Angelorum psalat' and matched by the works of composers such as Guido (Ch 27, 28).