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Re: mensural notation improvements (issue3797046)

From: Robert Memering
Subject: Re: mensural notation improvements (issue3797046)
Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2011 00:04:37 +0100
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Am 06.01.2011 10:56, schrieb Lukas Pietsch:
> On Thu, 2011-01-06 at 10:49 +0100, Benkő Pál wrote:
>>> According to Apel (1962: 99), the general rule would seem to be that the dot
>>> should be on the right if it applies to the final note of the whole
>>> ligature, but on top if it is anywhere else (flexa or no flexa). He has one
>>> example of a flexa followed by several square notes, with a dot above the
>>> following square note (i.e. in a position that happens to be also just to
>>> the right of the flexa), but the dot is meant to apply to the square note
>>> over which it stands, not the flexa.
>> When I have time to go to the library, I'll look up Apel again,
>> which codex it is, but if you have a handy scan available (even
>> better: a link, e.g. to IMSLP or DIAMM), I'd love to see it.
>> But let me reiterate: I've seen several codices, and only one
>> diverges from the usage I implemented, and even that diverges
>> only in dotting not only the first but the last note of a flexa
>> above as well.  I know that ligatures are not too frequent,
>> dotted notes within ligatures are extremely rare, but even the
>> two examples I linked clearly dot notes contrary to the Apel way.
>> I'll try to find an example where a non-final square note is
>> dotted and the following note is below it (in the linked examples
>> the next notes are above, so the dot of the first note appears
>> _below_ the next note).
>> p
> Yep, I can see the examples you describe, you are right about them
> contradicting Apel's rule. Unfortunately, the examples Apel gives are
> schematic self-drawn ones in the text, thus possibly constructed. I
> could not quickly find a relevant example in any of the actual
> facsimiles in the book.
> Lukas

Lukas, Pál,

if it helps to confirm that you are right, I might add my own experience
with mensural sources. Composers/writers seem to literally avoid dotted
notes in ligatures except (a) at the end of the ligature, or (b) on top
of the first note of an obliqua, or (c) both.  (a) and (b) are frequent,
and there are numerous examples. There are some for (c), e.g. the Eton
Choirbook that Pál quoted, or Apel, page 471.

Sometimes, (d) a dotted first note of a non-obliqua ligature can be
found with the dot on the right of the note. This is usually an
ascending ligatura cum opposita proprietate (as in Pál's examples, or
Apel, p. 181, or p. 138 for a semi-coloured one). I have never seen this
with a descending ligature, and I would be interested if you found an

I don't know any sources that comply with Apel's dot-above rule, but
then again, Apel probably saw more sources than I ever will...

Sometimes I have been confused by a punctus divisionis placed in the
middle above a ligature, but of course that's something different.

Best regards,

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