School of Music
University of Nebraska--Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0100
(phone: [402] 472-2507; Internet: plefferts1@unl.edu)

Data entry: Peter M. Lefferts
Checked by: Peter Slemon
Approved by: Peter M. Lefferts

Author: Bartholomaeus Anglicus
Title: On the Properties of Things, Book XIX, Cap. CXXXI-CXLV
Source: Michael Seymour, gen. ed., On the Properties of Things: John Trevisa's translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum, A Critical Text, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975-1988), 2:1386-1395. By permission of Oxford University Press.

[-1386-] De musica. Capitulum CXXXIm.

As art of nombres and mesures serueth to diuinite, so doth the art of melody. For musik, by the which acorde and melody is yknowe in sowne and in song, is ful nedeful to knowe mistik menynge of holy wryt. For it is seide that the worlde is compowned and ymade in a certein acorde and proporcioun of armeny, as Isider seith libro IIIo. And it is yseide that heuene goth aboute with consonancy and acord of melody. For musike meueth affecciouns and exciteth the wittes [t]o dyuers disposiciouns. Also in batayle the noyse of the trompe conforteth werriours. And the more stronge that the trompe[ng] is, the more stronge and bolde men beth to fighte. And comforteth schipmen to suffre al disese and trauayle. And conforte of voice pleseth and conforteth the herte and wittes in alle disese and trauayle of workes and werynesse. And musik abateth maystry of yuel spirites in mankynde, as we redeth of Dauid that delyuerede Saul of an vnclene spirit by craft of melody. And musik exciteth and conforteth bestes and serpentes, [foules] and delphynes to take heede therto. And so veynes and synewes of the body, and puls therof, and so alle the lymes of the body beth socied togideres by vertu of armony, as Ysider seith.

Of musike ben thre parties, armonica, rithmica, and metrica. Armonica distingueth grete and smale in sounes, and hihe and lowe, and proporcional chaungynge of voice and of soune. And armonia is swete acorde of song, and cometh of due proporcioun in diuers voice other blast, touching and smytyng sounes. For as Ysider seith, soune cometh of voice as [of] mouth and iowes, other of blaste as of trompe and pype, other of touche and smytyng of cymbale and harpe and othere suche that sowneth with smytynge and strokes.

Voice cometh to oon acorde, as Hugucioun seith. For in alle melodye nedeth many voice or sownes, and acordy[ng], for oon voice pleseth nouzt so moche as the voice and song of the goukkou. And if many discordeth, the voice pleseth nouzt. For of suche discorde cometh nouzt songe, but howlynge outher zollynge. But in many voice acording in oon is proporcioun of armony and melody other swete simphonia. And so Ysider seith that simphonia is temperate modulacioun, acording in sownes hiz and lowz. And by this armony [-1387-] hize vois acordeth so that if oon discordeth it grieueth the hieryng. And such acordyng of voice hatte euphonia, that is 'swetnesse of vois'. And hatte also melodia, and hath that name of swetnesse and of mel, that is 'hony'. And the contrary hatte diaphonia 'foul vois and discording'.

To make melody of armony nedeth diastema, diesis, tonus, yparludius, podorius, arsis, thesis, and swete voice and temperate soune. Diastema is a couenable space of tweie vois other of mo acordyng. Diesis is the space and doynge of melodie and chaungynge out of oon soune into another. Tonus is the scharpnesse of voice, and is difference and quantite of armony, and stondeth in accent and tenor of vois. And musicions maketh therof fiftene parties. Yparludius is the laste therof and most scharp. And podorius is most heuy of alle, as Isider seith. Arsis is rerynge of the voice, and is the bigynnynge of songe. Thesis is settynge, and is the ende, as Isider seith. And so song is the bendynge of the voice. For son passeth streizt, as he seith, and is tofore song.

And eueriche vois is soun, and nouzt azeinward. For sowne is the obiecte of hierynge. For al that is perceyued by herynge is cleped sowne, as brekynge of trees, smytynge togideres of stones, hurlyng and russhynge of wawes and of wynde, chiterynge of briddes, lowynge of bestes, voice and gronynge of men, and smytynge of organes. And a voice is propreliche the sowne that cometh of the mouth of a beste. And sowne cometh of ayre ysmyte azeins an harde body. And the smytynge [is] sonnere yseye than the sowne is yherde. And the lightenynge is sonner yseye than the thundre is yherde. A voice is most thinne ayre ysmyte with the wreyste of the tunge. And som vois signifieth and tokeneth by kynde, as chiteryng of briddes and gronynge of sike men. And some tokeneth at wille, as the voice of a man that is ordeyned and there schape by heste of resoun to telle oute certeyne wordes. The voice bereth forth the word. And the word that is in the thouzt may nouzt come out but by helpe of the voice that it out bringeth. And so first the inwitte gendreth a worde in the thouzt, and putteth it afterward out at the mouthe by the voice. And so the word that is ygendred and conceyued by inwitte cometh oute by the voice as it were by an instrument and is yknowe.

The voice that is disposed to songe and melody hath these propretees, as Ysider seith. Sweete vois, he seith, beth smale, subtile, thikke, [-1388-] cleere, scharpe, and schille. In subtile vois the spirite is nouzt stronge, as in children and in wommen and in othere that habbeth nouzt grete synewes, stronge and thikke, for of smale strynges cometh smale voice and subtile. The voices beth fatte and thikke whan moche spirit cometh oute, as the voice of a man. The voice is clere that sowneth wel and ryngeth withoute eny hosenes. Scharpe voices beth ful hihe. Schille voices beth lowde and draweth longe and filleth soone al the place, as the noyse of trumpes. The harde voice is hose, and also the harde voys is grym and grisliche whan the sowne therof is violent, as the sowne of thundre and of a[n]felde ybete with grete slegges. The rowz voice is hose, and sparpled by smale and dyuerse brethynge. The blynde voice stynteth soone and is stuffed and dureth nouzt longe, as the soune of erthene vessell. Voys vinolenta is neisshe and pliaunt. That name vinolenta [cometh] of vino, that is a litel belle naissheliche ybende.

The parfayte voice is hihe, swete and strong and clere: hihe to be wel yhezde, clere to fulle the eeren, swete to plese and nouzt to fere the heeryng and to comforte the hertes to take heede therto. If ought herof faileth, the voice is nouzt parfite, as Ysider seith.

Herouer is armonia of organes that cometh of blaste, whan certein instrumentis beth craftiliche ymade and dueliche yblowe and ziueth by quantite of the blast craftiliche diuerse [sownes] by diuersite of organs and instrumentes, as it fareth of organs, trompes, and pypes, and othere such that ziueth diuers sownes and noyse.

Organum is a general name of alle instrumentes of musik, and is natheles specialliche aproprete to the instrument that is ymade of many pipes and yblowe with belyes. And now holy chirche vseth oonliche this instrument of musike in proses, sequences, and ympnes, and forsaketh, for mysvse of mynstralcie, all othere instrumentis of musike.

[De tuba. Capitulum.]

The Turenes founde first the trompe. Virgile speketh of hem and seith that 'the noice of the trompe of Turene loweth in the eyre'. Men [-1389-] in olde tyme vsede trompes in bataile to fere and to affraye here enemyes, and to conforte here owne knightes and fightynge men, and to conforte hors of werre to fizte, and to rese and smyte in the batayle, and [to] tokne worschipe with victorie in the fiztyng, and to clepe hem azein that gonne to flee. And vsed also trompes in festes to clepe the poeple togidres, and for busynesse in praysynge of God and for cryinge of welthe an ioye. The Hebreus were yhote to blowe trompes in batayle [an] in the bygynnynge of the newe moone, and to crie and warne the comynge of the iubile, the zere of grace, with noyse of trompes, and to crye [ioy] and reste to alle men. As Isider seith libro XVIIIo., a trompe is propreliche an instrument y-ordeyned for men that fighteth in batayle, to crye and to warne of the signes of bataile, and where the crioures voice may [not] be yherde for noyse, the noyse of trompe schulde be herd and yknowe. And tuba hath that name as it were toua, that is, holowz withinne, and ful smethe for to fonge the more brethe, and is rounde withoute, and streyte at the trompoures mouthe, and brode and large at the other ende. And the trompour with his honde doth it to his mouth. And the trompe is yrewled vpward and dounward, and yholde forth right. And noyse therof is dyuerse, as Ysider seith. For it is somtyme yblowe to arraye batayles, and somtyme for batayles schulde smyte togidres, and somtyme for the chase, and to fonge men into the oste.

De buccina. Capitulum CXXXIIm.

Bvccina hath the name, as it were vocina parua, and is trompe of horne, of tree, either of bras, and was yblowne azeins enemyes in olde tyme. For as Isider seith libro XVIIIo., the wilde payenymes weren somtyme ygadered to all manere doynge with blowynge of such a manere trompe. And so buccina was propreliche a tokne to wilde men. Persius speketh hereof and seith that 'buccina made the olde qwyrites arraye hemself nameliche in armure'. The noice of suche a trompe hatte buccinum, as he seith. And the Hebrews vsede trompes of horne, namelich in kalendus inne mynde of delyueraunce of Ysaak whan an horned wethir was y-offred in his stede, as the glose seith super Genesim.

[-1390-] De tibia. Capitulum CXXXIIIm.

Tibia is a pype, and hath that name for it was first ymade of legges of hertes, zonge and olde, as men trowe. And the noyse of pypes was ycleped [tibicen]. Other, as Hugucioun seith, this name tibia cometh of tibium, that is 'a russhe or a reed'. And therof cometh this name tibicen 'a pypere', and was somtyme an instrument of deole and sorwe that men vsede in office and sepultures of dede men, as the glose seith super Matheum IX.: Cum audisset tibicines; and were hy that songe of deole and of sorwe.

De calamo. Capitulum CXXXIIIIm.

Calamus hath that name of calando 'sownynge', and is the general name of pypes. A pipe hatte fistula for voice cometh therof. For voice is fos in grew, and 'ysende' ystola in grwe. And so the pipe hatte fistula, as it were sendyng out voice other soun. Hunters vseth this instrument, for hertes loueth the noyse therof. But while the hert taketh heede and hath likyng in the pypyng of an hunter, an other that he is nouzt warre of cometh and scheteth anon the hert. Pypynge bigyleth briddes and foules. Therfore it is yseide: 'The pype syngeth swetelich while the fowler gileth the bridde.' And scheep loueth pipyng. Therfore scheperdes vsith pipes whan they waken with here schepe. Therfore oon that hatte Pan was ycleped god of hyrdes for he ioyned diuerse reedes and arrayed hem to songe sliliche and craftylich. Virgile speketh therof and seith that 'Pan ordeyned first to iune [manye redis] in oon horn. Pan hath cure of schepe and of scheperdes.' And the same instrument of pipes hatte pandor[i]um for Pan was fyndere therof, as Ysider seith. And with pypes wakemen pleseth men that resteth in beddes, and makith hem slepe the sonner and the swetter by melody of pipes.

De sambuca. Capitulum CXXXVm.

Sambuca is the ellerne tre, brotil. And the bowes therof beth holowz and voyde and smethe. And therof beth pipes ymade, and som maner symphony, as Ysider seith.

[-1391-] De symphonia. Capitulum CXXXVIm.

The symphonye is an instrument of musik, and is ymade of holowz tre yclosed in lether in either syde. And mynstralles beth it with stikkes. And by accorde of hyz and lowe, therof cometh ful swete notes, as Ysider seith. Natheles the acorde of alle sownes hatte symphonia, as the acorde of dyuers voice hatte chorus, as the glose seith super Lucam XV.

De armonia. [Capitulum] CXXXVIIm.

Armonia rithimica is a sownyng melody, and cometh of smytyng of strynges, and of tynkelyng or ryngyng of metal. And dyuers instrumentz serueth to this maner armony, as taboure and cymbel, harpe and sautry and nakires and sistrum.

De tympano. Capitulum CXXXVIIIm.

Tympanum is lether ystreizt to tre in the oon side. And [is] half a tabour or half a symphony. And is yschape as a seoue. And is ybete with a stykke rizt as a tabour, as Ysider seith. And maketh the better melody if ther is a pype therwith.

De cithara. Capitulum CXXXIXm.

The harpe hatte cithara, and was first yfounde of Appolyn, as the Grekes weneth. And the harpe is liche to a mannes brest. For as the voice cometh of the brest, so the notes cometh of the harpe. And hath therfore that name cithara, for the brest is ycleped toricha citharum. And afterward, some and som, cometh forth many maner instrumentis therof and had that name cithara, as the harpe and sawtry and othere such. And some beth foure cornered, and somme thre-cornered. The strynges beth many, and special manere thereof is dyuers. Men in olde tyme cleped the harpe fidicula and fidicen, for the strynges therof acordeth as [well as] somme men acordith in fey. And the harpe hadde the seuen strynges. And so Virgile seith: 'VII. of sowne beth seuene discrimina of vois.' And beth as the nexte strynge therto. And strynges beth seuene for thei fullith al the voce or for heuene sowneth in seuene meuynges. A strynge hatte corda, and hath that name of corde 'the herte'. For as the puls of the herte is in [-1392-] the brest, so the puls of the strynges is in the harpe. Mercurius fond vp first such stryngis. For he streynede first strynges and made hem to sowne, as Ysider seith. The more druye the strynges beth ystreyned, the more they sownen. And the wreyste hatte plectrum.

De psalterio. Capitulum CXLm.

The sautry hatte psalterium and hath that name of psallendo 'syngynge'. For the consonant answereth to the uoce therof in syngynge. The harpe is lich to the straunge lettre delte. But this is the diuersite bitwene the harpe and the sautry: in the sawtry is an holowz tre, and therof the sown cometh vpward, and the strynges beth ysmyte dounward and sowneth vpward; and in the harpe the holowznesse of the tree is bynethe. The Hebreus clepeth the sautry decacordes, 'an instrument with ten strynges' by nombre of the ten hestes. Strynges of the sautry beth best ymade of latoun or of siluer.

De lira. Capitulum CXLIm.

Lira hath the name of diuersite of sowne. For he ziueth dyuerse sownes, as Ysider seith. And somme meneth that Mercurius fond vp this instrument lira in this wise. The ryuer Nilus was arisen and eft withdrawe into the chanell, and lefte in the feld many diuerse bestes and also a snayle. And whan the snayle was yroted, the senewes lefte and weren ystreyned in the snayles house. And Mercurius smote the synowes. And therof come sowne. And Mercurius made a lira to the liknesse of the snayles hous, and zaf it to oon Orpheus, that was most busy aboute suche thinges. And so it was yseide that by the same crafte nouzt oonliche wilde bestes drowe to song and melody but also stones and wodes. An syngeres in fablis meneth that this instrument lira is ysette among the sterres for loue of studie and preysynge of songe, as Ysider seith.

De cymbalis. Capitulum CXLIIm.

Cymbales beth instrumentis of musik and beth ysmyte togideres, and sowneth and ryngeth.

De sistro. Capitulum CXLIIIm.

Sistrum is an instrument of musik and hath that name of a lady that first it vp brouzte. For it is yproued that Ysis, quene of Egipt, [-1393-] was the firste fynder of sistrum. And Iuuenalis speketh therof and seith: Ysis et irato feriat mea lumina sistro. And wommen vseth this instrument for a womman was the firste fyndere therof. Therfore among the Amazones the oste of women is ycleped to bataile with the instrument sistrum.

De tintinabilo. Capitulum CXLIIIIm.

Tintinabulum is a [litil] belle or a campernole, and hath the name of tinniendo 'tyclynge or ryngynge'. Loke tofore de vasis in litera V. A belle hath this proprete, that while he profyteth to othere in sownynge, he is ywasted ofte by smytynge. This instrument and many othere serueth to musik, that treteth of vois and of sownes, and knoweth natheles disposicioun of kyndelich thinges and proporcioun of nombres, as Boys seith and setteth ensample of the noumbre of twelue in comparisoun to sixe and to othere nombres that beth bitwene, and seith in this wise: 'Here we fynde all the acordes of musike.' For VIII. to sixe [and] nyne to twelue maketh the proporcioun sesquetercia, and maketh yfere the consonancy dyatesse[ron]. And twelue to sixe maketh double proporcioun, and singeth the acorde dyapason. VIII. to IX. in comparisoun beth mene, and maketh epogdonus, that is ycleped tonus in melody of musik and is comyn mesure of all the sownes. And so it is to wite that, bitwen dyatesseron and dyapente, tonus is diuersite of acordes, as bitwen the proporciouns sequetercia and sequealtera onlich epogdolis is diuersite. Huc vsque Boecius in IIo. arsmetrice capitulo vltimo g.

And in the prolog of the firste book Boys seith that the rather is there vertu of noumbres, thereby it may be proued that thinges that stondeth by hemself beth rathere in kynde than thilke that beth in comparisoun to somme othere thinges. And the melody of musike is ynempned by names of nombres. Diatesseron, diapente, and diapason haueth the names of the nombres that goth tofore in the bigynnyng of the names. And the proporcioun of here sownes is yfounde in the same noumbres and nouzt in othere noumbres. For the soune and the acorde in diapason [cometh] of proporcioun of the double noumbre. And the melody of diatesseron cometh of epitrica collatione, that is sexquetercia proporcio. And he clepeth the acorde diapente. Hemiolia is y-ioyned in noumbre epogdonus, that beth noumbres that beth [-1394-] aboue VIII., and hatte tonus in musike, as he seith there. Sexquealtera proporcio in arsmetrik hatte diapente in musike. In diapente and diapason, the more voice conteyneth the lasse, and the haluendel therof. The nombre sexquetercius conteyneth the lasse nombre and the thridde del therof. And if he conteyneth al in the fourthe del, thanne he is sexquequartus. And sexquequintus conteyneth the lasse and the fifthe dele in this wise. Foure conteyneth thre and the thridde dele, that is oon. And eizte conteyneth six and the thridde dele, that is tweyne. And twelve conteyneth nyne and thre thridde del, that is thre. And so eiztene to twelue and XXti. to sixtene, and so of othere alway thou schalt fynde.

Quid sit numerus sesquealterus. Capitulum CXLVm.

The nombre sexquealterus conteyneth other half the lasse noumbre, as thre conteyneth tweyne and the haluendel of foure, that is tweyne. So nyne conteyneth sixe and the haluendel, that is thre. And so twelue to eizte and fiftene to ten, and so of othere.

These wordes beth in hemself depe and ful mystike, derke to vnderstonde. But to hem that beth wise and connynge in arsmetrike and in musik, they beth more clere than moche light, and beth derke and al vnknowe to hem that beth vnconnynge neither y-vsed in arsmetrik. Therfore he that wol knowe the forseyde wordes and proporciouns of nombres [and] of voys and sounes schal nouzt despise to aske counseile of hem that beth wyse and connynge in gemetrie and in musik. And libro IIo. Ysider seith that in termes and figures and accordes of musike is so grete [vertu] that the selue man stondeth nouzt parfite therwithoute. For parfite musike comprehendeth al thinges. Also gadre thou hereof that musike and armonye ooneth and acordeth dyuerse thinges and contrary, and maketh the hyhe sowne acorde to the lowe and the lowe to the hihe, and acordeth contrary willes and desires, and refreyneth and abateth intenciouns and thoughtes, and amendeth and comfortheth feble wittes of felynge, and crieth nameliche and warneth vs of the vnite of the exemplare of God in contrary worchinges and dyuers. Hy scheweth that ertheliche thinges may be i-onede in acorde to heueneliche thinges and heueneliche thinges to ertheliche thinges, and maketh gladde hertes [-1395-] more glad, and sory hertes and elynge [more sory and elenge]. For as Austyne seith, by a priue liknesse of proprete of the soule and of armony, melody confourmeth itself to the affecciouns of the soule. And therfore auctours meneth that instrument of musik maketh the glade more glad and the sory more sory. Loke othere propretees of armony tofore in this same bok, there as othere wordes of Ysider beth rehersed.

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