De Codes van het Gregoriaans

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BiBlo – Von Bingen’s Blog, 02


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The Sources

The chants composed by Hildegard have been notated in two manuscripts. The notation is a representative of what the Utrecht musicologist Ike de Loos in 1997 described as the Utrecht-Stavelot-Trier notation, after her analysis of sources written in this geographic triangle. The neumes are variants of the so-called Messine notation, the neumes that are characteristic for the tradition developed in Metz, France.

The Utrecht-Stavelot-Trier Triangle. Rupertsberg in red.

The Utrecht-Stavelot-Trier notation:

Utrecht, NL-Uu 406/ 125v

The notation of Hildegard’s compositions:

  1. Dendermonde B-DE a 9/f. 153r/1

2. Riesenkodex D- WI1 2 /466r/4

Both manuscripts were produced at Rupertsberg Abbey. Dendermonde was dictated by Hildegard to her scribe Guibert of Gembloux a few years before she died; it was sent to an abbey in what now is known as Belgium and ended up in the Benedictine Abbey of Dendermonde, Flanders. Since 2017, the Alamire Foundation in Leuven, Belgium, keeps this manuscript.

The same scribe reorganised the Dendermonde version a few years after her death, in what became known as the Riesencodex, now kept at Hessische Landesbibliothek, Wiesbaden. There is some debate whether Hildegard or Guibert composed the chants.

For my analysis, I intend to select a number of chants notated in both manuscripts for comparing the employment of signal tones. Which ones will depend upon the first steps of my research into the employment of signal tones in the compositions attributed to Hildegard.

The presentation of my research’s setup is a nice step towards an introduction to rhetoric, which is the essence connecting language and music in plainchant. An orator started by gathering information and arguments that might support his explanation. This first step of the rhetorical preparation is called Inventio: drawing up an inventory and inventing arguments.

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