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 (excerpt)
Source: Sir John Hawkins, A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, 2 vols. [1776] (London: Novello, 1853), 1:267-71.

[-267-] De Musica.

As arte of nombres and mesures seruyth to diuinite, so doth the arte of melody for musyk; by the whyche accorde and melody is knowe in sowne, and in songe is nedeful to know mystyk meanynge of holy writte; for it is sayd that the worlde is compownyd and made in a certayne and proporcion of armeny, as Ysyder seith libro tertio.

And it is said that heuen gooth aboute wyth consonancye and acorde of melody. For musyk meuyth affeccions, and excyteth the wyttes to dyuerse disposycyons. Also in bataylle the noyse of the trompe comfortyth werryours, and the more stronge that the trompynge is, the more stronge and bolde men ben to fyghte: and comfortyth shypmen to suffre alle the dyseases and trauelle. And comforte of voys pleasyth and comfortyth the hert, and inwyttes in all dysease and traueylle of werks and werynesse. And musyk abatyth maystry of euyl spyrytes in mankynde, as we rede of Dauid that delyuered Saul of an unclene spyryte by crafte of melodye. And musyk excyteth and comfortyth bestis and serpentes, foules and delphines to take hede therto; and so veynes and synewes of the body and puls therof; and so all the lymmnes of the body ben socied togyder by vertue of armenye as Isider sayth. Of Musyk ben thre partyes, Armonica, Rethmica, and Metrica. Armonica dystyngueth grete and smalle in sownes, and hyghe and lowe, and proporcyonall chaungyng of voys and of sowne. And Armonia is swete accorde of songe, and cometh of due proporcyon in dyuerse voyces, other blastes towchynge and smytynge sownes: for, as Isider sayth, sowne comyth of voys, as of mouthe and jowes; other of blaste, as of trompes and pypes; other of touchinge and smytynge of cymbale and harpe; and other suche that sowneth wyth smytynge and strokes. [-268-] Voys comyth to one accorde, as Hugucyon sayth, for in alle melodye nedyth many voys, other sownes, and that accordyng; for one voys pleasyth not so moche as the voys and songe of the Gnokken, and yf many dyscordith, the voys plesith not; for of suche dyscorde comyth not songe, but howlynge other yellynge; but in many voyces accordynge in one is proporcyon of armony and melodye other swete symphonia. And so Isyder sayth that symphonia is temperate modulacyon, accordynge in sownes highe and lowe. And by this armony hyghe voys accordyth, so that yf one discordyth it greueth the herynge; and suche accordynge of voys hyghte Euphonia, that is swetnesse of voys, and hyghte also Melodya, and hath that name of swetnesse and of Mel, that is Honey; and the contrary is called Dyaphonia, fowle voys and dyscordyng. To make melodye of armony nedyth diastema, diesis, tonus, iperludius, podorius, arsis, thesis, and swete voys and temperate sowne. Diastema is a couenable space of two voyces, other of moo, acordynge. Diesis is the space and doynge of melodye, and chaungynge out of one sowne in to another. Tonus is the scharpnesse of voys, and is difference and quantitie of armony, and standyth in accent and tenor of voys. And musicyons maketh thereof fyftene partyes. Iperludius is the laste thereof and moost sharpest; and Podorius is moost heavy of alle, as Isyder sayth. Arsis is rerynge of voys, and is the beginning of songe. Thesis is settynge, and is the ende, as Isyder sayth; and so songe is the bendynge of the voys, for some passeth streighte, as he sayth, and is to fore songe. And euery uoys is sowne, and not ayen warde; for sowne is the objecte of herynge, for all that is perceyued by herynge is called sowne, as breking of trees, smytyng togyder of stones, hurlynge and rushyng of waues and of wynde, chytterynge of byrdes, lowynge of beestys, voys and gronynge of men, and smytynge of organes. And a voys is properly the sowne that comyth of the mouthe of a beest; and sowne comyth of ayre smytte ayenst an harde body; and the smytynge is sooner seen than the sowne is herde, and the lyghtnyng is sooner seen than the thondre is herde. A voys is moost thyne ayre, smytte wyth the wreste of the tongue; and some voys sygnyfyeth and tokenyth by kynde, as chytterynge of byrdes and gronynge of syke men. And some tokenyth at wylle, as the voys of a man that is ordeyned, and there shape by heste of reason to telle out certain wordes. The voys berith forthe the worde, and the worde that is in the thoughte maye not come oute but by helpe of the voys that it oute bryngeth. And so fyrst the inwytte gendrith a worde in the thoughte, and puttyth it afterwarde out at the mouthe by the voyce; and so the worde that is gendryd and conteyned by inwytte, comyth oute by the voys as it were by an instrumente, and is knowe. The voyce that is dysposyd to songe and melodye hath thise proprytees, as Isyder sayth. Voyces he sayth ben smalle, subtill, thicke, clere, sharpe, and shylle. In subtyll voys the spyryte is not strong, as in chyldren and in wymmen; and in other that haue not grete synews, stronge and thycke; for of smalle strynges comyth smalle voys and subtyll. The voyces ben fatte and thyck whan moche spyryte comyth out, as the voys of a man. The voys is clere that sownyth well, and ryngeth wythout any hollownesse. Sharpe voyces ben full hyghe, shylle voyces ben lowde, and drawth a longe, and fylleth soone all the place, as the noyce of trumpes. The harde voys is hose, and also the harde voys is grymme and grysely whan the sowne therof is vyolente, and as the sowne of thondre, and of a felde bete with grete malles. The rough voys is hose and sparplyd by smalle, and is stuffyd and dureth not longe, as the sowne of erthen vessell. Voys uniuolenta is nesshe and plyaunt. That name uniuolenta, of Viuo, that is a lytyll belle nesshly bende. The perfyghte voys is hyghe, swete, and stronge and clere; hyghe to be well herde, clere to fylle the eeres; swete to pleyse, and not to fere the herynge, and to comfort the hertes to take hede thereto. Yf ought herof fayleth, the voys is not perfyghte, as Ysyder sayth. Here ouer is armonia of organes, that comyth of blaste whan certayn instrumentes ben craftely made and duly blowe, and yeuyth by quantyte of the blaste craftly, dyuers by dyuersite of organes and instrumentes, as it fareth of organes, trompes, and pipes, and other suche that yeuyth dyuerse sownes and noyce. Organum is a generall name of all instrumentes of musyk, and is nethelesse specyally a propryte to the instrument that is made of many pipes, and blowe wyth belowes. And now holy chyrche useth oonly this instrument of musyk, in proses, sequences, and ympnes; and forsakyth for men's use of mynstralsye all other instrumentes of musyk.

The Turenes founde fyrste the trompe. Virgil spekyth of them, and sayth that the voys of the trompe of Turene lowyth in the ayre. Men in olde tyme usyd trompes in battayle to fere and affraye theyr enmyes, and to comforte theyre owne knyghtes and fyghtynge men; and to comforte horse of werre to fyghte and to rese and smyte in the batayle; and tokenyth worship wyth vyctory in the fyghtynge, and to call them ayen that begyn to fle. And usyd also trompettes in feestys to call the people togider, and for besinesse in praysynge of God. And for cryenge of welthe of joye the Hebrewes were commaunded to blowe trompettes in batayle, in the bygynnynge of the newe mone, and to crye and warne the comynge of the Jubile, the yere of grace with noyce of trompes, and to crye and reste to all men. As Isyder sayth libro XVIIIo.

A trompe is properly an instrument ordeyned for men that fyghteth in batayle, to crye and to warne of the sygnes of batayle. And where the cryers voys maye not be herde for noyse, the noyse of the trompe sholde be herde and knowen. And Tuha hath that name as it were Tona, that is holowe [-269-] wythin, and full smothe for to take the more brethe, and is rounde wythout, and streyghte atte the trompers mouth, and brode and large at the other ende; and the tromper with his honde putteth it to his mouth, and the trompe is rulyd upwarde and downwarde, and holde forth ryght; and is dyuerse of noyse, as Ysyder sayth. For it is somtime blowe to araye bataylles, and somtyme for that bataylles sholde smyte togyder, and sometyme for the chase, and to take men in to the hoste.

De Buccina.

Buccina hath the name as it were vociva parua, and is a trompe of horne, of tree, eyther of brasse, and was blowen ayenst enmyes in old tyme; for as Isyder sayth, libro decimo octavo, the wylde Panems were somtyme gaderyd to al manere doynge wyth the blowynge of suche a manere trompe, and soo Buccina was properly a token to wylde men. Persius spekyth herof, and sayth that Buccina made the olde Qwyrites araye themselft, namely, in armoure. The voys of suche a trompe, hyght Buccinium as he sayth, and the Hebrewes used trompes of horne, namely in Kalendus, in remembraunce of the delyueraunce of Ysaac, whanne an hornyd wetther was offryd and made oblacion of in his stede, as the Gloce sayth super Genesis.

De Tibia.

Tibia is a pype, and hath that name for it was fyrste made of legges of hartes, yonge and olde, as men trowe; and the noyse of pypes was called Other, as Hugucion sayth. This name Tibia comyth of Tibium, that is a rushe, other a rede, and therof comyth this name Tibicen a pype. And was somtyme an instrument of doole and lamentacyon, whyche men dyde use in office and sepultures of deed men, as the Gloce sayth super Matheum IX. and thereby the songe was songe of doole and of lamentacyon.

De Calamo.

Calamus hath that name of thys worde Calando, sowning; and is the generall name of pypes. A pype hyghte Fistula, for voyce comyth therof. For voyce hyghte Fes in Grewe, and send, Istola in Grewe. And soo the pype hyghte Fistula, as it were sendyng oute voyce other sowne. Hunters useth this instrument, for hartes louyth the noyse therof. But whyle the harte taketh hede and likynge in the pypynge of an hunter, another hunter whyche he hath no knowlege of, comyth and shoteth at the harte and sleeth hym. Pypyng begyleth byrdes and foules, therefore it is sayd "the pype syngeth swetely whyle the fowler begyleth the byrde." And shepe louyth pypynge, therfore shepeherdes usyth pipes whan they walk wyth theyr shepe. Therefore one whyche was callyd Pan was callyd God of hirdes, for he joyned dyverse redes, and arayed them to songe slyghly and craftely. Virgil spekyth therof, and sayth that Pan ordeyned fyrst to join [in one horne] Pan hath cure of shepe and of shepherdes. And the same instrument of pypes hyghte Pan donum, for Pan was fynder therof as Ysyder sayth. And wyth pipes watchynge men pleyseth suche men as restyth in beddes, and makyth theym slepe the sooner and more swetly by melodye of pypes.

De Sambuca.

Sambuca is the Ellerne tree brotyll, and the bowes therof ben holowe, and voyde and smothe; and of those same bowes ben pipes made, and also some maner symphony, as Ysyder sayth.

De Symphonia.

The Symphonye is an instrument of musyke, and is made of an holowe tree, closyd in lether in eyther syde, and mynstralles betyth it wyth styckes; and by accorde of hyghe and lowe therof comyth full swete notes, as Isyder sayth. Neuerthelesse the accorde of all sownes hyghte Symphonia, is lyke wise as the accorde of dyuerse voys hyghte Chorus, as the Gloce sayth super Lucam.

De Armonya.

Armonya Rithinica is a sownynge melodye, and comyth of smyttyng of strynges, and of tynklyng other ryngynge of metalle. And dyuerse instrumentes seruyth to this manere armonye, as Tabour, and Tymbre, Harpe, and Sawtry, and Nakyres, and also Sistrum.

De Tympano.

Tympanum is layed streyghte to the tree in the one side, and half a tabour other halfe a symphony, and schape as a syfue, and beten wyth a stycke; ryght as a tabour, as Isyder sayth, and maketh the better melody yf there is a pype therwyth.

De Cithara.

The harpe hyghte Cithara, and was fyrst founde of Appollin, as the Grekes wene; and the harpe is like to a mannys breste, for lyke wyse as the voyce comyth of the breste, soo the notes cometh of the harpe, and hath therfore that name Cithara, for the breste is callyed Thorica thicariuz. And afterwarde, some and some, came forth many manere instrumentes therof, and hadde that name Cithara, as the harpe, and sawtry, and other suche.

And some ben foure cornerde, and some thre cornerde; the strynges ben many, and specyall manere thereof is dyuerse.

Men in olde tyme callyd the harpe Fidicula, and also Fidicen, for the strynges therof accordyth as well as some men accordyth in Fey. And the harpe had seuen strynges, and soo Virgil sayth libro septimo. Of sowne ben seuen Discrimina of voys, and ben as the [-270-] nexte strynge therto. And strynges ben seuen, for the fulleth alle the note. Other for heuen sownyth in seuen meuyngs. A strynge hyghte Corda, and hathe the same name of corde the herte; for as the puls of the herte is in the breste, soo the puls of the strynges is in the harpe. Mercurius founde up fyrste suche strynges, for he streyned fyrste strynges, and made them to sowne, as Ysyder sayth.

The more drye the strynges ben streyned the more they sowne. And the wreste hyghte Plectrum.

De Psalterio.

The Sawtry highte Psalterium, and hath that name of Psallendo, syngynge; for the consonant answeryth to the note therof in syngynge. The harpe is lyke to the sawtry in sowne. But this is the dyuersytee and discorde bytwene the harpe and the sawtry; in the sawtry is an holowe tree, and of that same tree the sowne comyth upwarde, and the strynges ben smytte dounwarde, and sownyth upwarde; and in the harpe the holownesse of the tre is bynethe. The Hebrewes callyth the sawtry Decacordes, an instrument hauinge ten stringes, by numbre of the ten hestes or commaundementes. Stringes for the sawtry ben beste made of laton, or elles those ben goode that ben made of syluer.

De Lira.

Lira hath that name of dyuersytee of sowne; for the Lira geueth dyuerse sownes, as Isyder sayth. And some people suppose that Mercurius fyrste founde up this instrument Lira in this wise. The river Nylus was flowen and arysen, and afterward was aualyd and wythdrawen ayen in to his propre channelle. And lefte in the felde many dyuerse beestys, and also a snaylle; and whan the snaylle was rostyd the synewes left, and were streyned in the snaylles house. And Mercurius smote the synewes, and of theym came a sowne. And Mercurius made a Lira to the lyknesse of the snaylles house, and gave the same Lira to one that was namyd Orpheus, whiche was moost besy abowtte such thinges; and so it was sayd that by the same crafte, not oonly wylde beestys drewe to songe and melodye, but moreouer stones and also wodes. And syngers in fables don meane that thys forsayd instrument Lira is sette amonge sterres for loue of study and praysynge of song, as Isyder sayth.

De Cymbalis.

Cymbales ben instrumentes of musyk, and ben smytte togider, and sowneth and ryngeth.

De Sistro.

Sistrum is an instrument of musyk, and hath the name of a lady that firste brought it up; for it is proued that Isis, quene of Egypte, was the first fynder of Sistrum: and Juuenalis spekyth therof and sayth, Isis et irato feriat mea lumina sistro. And wymmen usyth this instrument, for a woman was the fyrste fynder therof. Therfore among the Amazones the hoste of wymmen is callyd to bataylle with the instrument Sistrum.

De Tintinabulo.

Tintinabuluz is a belle, other at Campernole; and hath the name of Tiniendo, tynklynge or ryngynge. A belle hathe this propryte, that whyle he prouffyteth to other in sowninge, he is wastyd ofte by smytynge. Thyse instrumentes, and many other seruyth to musyk that treatyth of voyse and of sownes, and knoweth neuerthelesse dysposycyon of kyndly thynges, and proporcyon of nombres, as Boicius sayth; and settyth ensample of the nombre of twelue in comparyson to syxe, and to other nombres that ben bytwene, and sayth in this wyse. Here we fyndeth all the accordes of musyk, from eyghte to syxe, nyne to twelue, makyth the proporcyon Sesquitercia, and makyth togydre the consonancy Dyapente; and twelue to syxe makyth dowble proporcyon, and syngyth the accorde Diapason. Eyghte to nyne in comparyson ben meane, and makyth Epogdonus, whych is callyd Tonus in melody of musyk, and is comin mesure of alle the sownes. And soo it is too understonde that bytwene Dyatesseron and Dyapente tonus is dyuersyte of accordes; as bytwene the proporcyons Sexquitercia and Sexquialtera oonly Epogdolis is dyuersyte, huc usque Boicius in secundo Arsmetrice capitulo ultimo.

And the melodye of musyke is nempnyd and callyd by names of the nombres. Dyatesseron, Dyapente, and Dyapason haue names of the nombres whyche precedeth and gooth tofore in the begynnynge of those sayd names. And the proporcyon of theyr sownes is founde and had in those same nombres, and is not founde, nother had, in none other nombres.

For ye shall understonde that the sowne and the accorde in Diapason, is of proporcyon of the dowble nombre; and the melodye of Dyatessraon dooth come of Epitrica collimie that is Sexquitercia proporcio,

* * * *

Quid sit numerus sesquialterus.

The nombre Sexquialterus conteyneth other halfe the lesse nombre, as thre conteyneth tweyne and the halfe deale of two, that is one: so nyne conteynyth syxe and the halfe deale, that is thre. And so twelue to eyghte, and fyftene to ten, and so of other. Thise wordes ben in themselfe deepe and full mystyk, derk to understondynge. But to them that ben wyse and cunnyng in arsmetrik and in musyk, they ben more clerer than moche lyghte; and ben derke and alle unknowen to them whyche ben uncunnynge, and haue no usage in arsmetrik. Therfore he that woll knowe the forsayde wordes and proporcyons of nombres of voys and sownes, shall not dyspyse to aske counseylle, and to desyre to haue knowlege by those whyche ben wyser, and that haue more cunnyng in gemetry and musyk. And Isyder sayth that in termes and figures and accordes of musyk is so grete, that the selfe man stondeth not perfyghte there withoute, for perfyghte musyk comprehendyth alle thynges. Also reuolue and consydre herof in thy minde, that musyk and armonye unyeth and accordyth dyuerse thynges and contrary; and makyth the hye sowne to accorde wyth the lowe, and the lowe wyth the hyghe: and accordyth contrary [-271-] wylles and desyres, and refreynyith and abatyth intencyons and thoughtes, and amendyth and comfortyth feble wyttes of felyuge, and cryeth namely, and warnyth us of the unytee of the exemplar of God in contrary werkynges; and dyuersly manifesteth and sheweth that erthly thynges may be joyned in accorde to heuenly thynges; and causeth and maketh gladde and joyful hertes, more gladde and joyful, and sory hertes and elenge, more sory and elenge: for as Austin sayth by a preuy and secrete lyknesse of propryte of the soule and of armonye, melodye confourmyth itselfe to the affeccyons and desires of the soule. And therfore auctores meanyth that instrumentes of musyk makyth the gladde more gladde, and the sory more sory. Loke other proprytees of armonye tofore in this same boke, whereas other wordes of Isyder ben rehercyd and spoken of.

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