The Critical Nexus
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The Critical Nexus : Tone-System, Mode, and Notation in Early Medieval Music

4.75 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The Critical Nexus confronts an important and vexing enigma of early writings on music: why chant, which was understood to be divinely inspired, needed to be altered in order to work within the then-operative modal system. To unravel this mystery, Charles Atkinson creates a broad framework that moves from Greek harmonic theory to the various stages in the transmission of Roman chant, citing numerous music treatises from the sixth to the twelfth century. Out of this examination emerges the central point behind the problem: the tone-system advocated by writers coming from the Greek harmonic tradition was not suited to the notation of chant and that this basic incompatibility led to the creation of new theoretical constructs. By tracing the path of subsequent adaptation at the nexus of tone-system, mode, and notation, Atkinson promises new and far-reaching insights into what mode meant to the medieval musician and how the system responded to its inherent limitations. Through a detailed examination of the major musical treatises from the sixth through the twelfth centuries, this text establishes a central dichotomy between classical harmonic theory and the practices of the Christian church. Atkinson builds the foundation for a broad and original reinterpretation of the modal system and how it relates to melody, grammar, and notation. This book will be of interest to all musicologists, music theorists working on mode, early music specialists, chant scholars, and medievalists interested in music.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 17.78mm | 566.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 20 halftones, 25 line illustrations
  • 0195148886
  • 9780195148886

Review quote

If one were to describe this impressive book in a nutshell, one might simply say that it is a thorough and rigorous account of the medieval tone-system in its theoretical and practical aspects; but this would do scant justice to its depth and complexity * Music and Letters *show more

About Charles M. Atkinson

Active as both clarinetist and musicologist, Charles M. Atkinson is a scholar whose work is devoted primarily to music within the intellectual history of Antiquity and the Middle Ages. His areas of research and publication range from ancient Greek conceptions of to??? [tonos] to medieval liturgy and music to the early history of American jazz. He is Professor of Musicology at The Ohio State University and President of the American Musicological Society.show more

Table of contents

PROLOGUE; PART I. THE EIGHTH AND NINTH CENTURIES; PART II. THE SYNTHESIS OF ANCIENT GREEK THEORY AND MEDIEVAL PRACTICE; EPILOGUE: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEXshow more

Rating details

4 ratings
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