School of Music
University of Nebraska--Lincoln
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Data entry: Jonathan Haupt
Checked by: Peter Slemon
Approved by: Peter M. Lefferts

Author: Anonymous
Title: Notes on Discant and Mensuration
Source: Andrew Wathey, "Notes on Discant and Mensuration from Fifteenth-Century Oxford," in Trent'anni di ricerca musicologica: studi in onore di F. Alberto Gallo, ed. Patrizia Dalla Vecchia and Donatella Restani (Rome: Torre d'Orfeo, 1996), 63-72 at 69-71.
Graphics: ANONOTE2 01GF

[-69-] The Notes

[fol. 63r]


[Wathey, Notes, 69; text: Perfyght of the moore prolacyon] [ANONOTE2 01GF]


[Wathey, Notes, 70; text: Perfyght of the lesse prolacyon, Imperfyght of the moore prolacyon, Imperfyght of the lesse prolacyon] [ANONOTE2 01GF]


How many cordys be ther of dyscant? Be ther ix. Which x? A unison, iijde, v, vj, viij, x, xij, xiij, xv. How many be perfyght and how many be imperfyght? V be perfyght and iiij be imperfyght. Whych v be perfyght? Unison, v, viij, xij, xv. Whych iiij be imperfyght? iij, vj, x, xiij. Whan thow are wyt hym in syght thow art viij from hym. An unison ys viij benethe in syght. A iijde ys a vj benethe hym in syght. A v ys a iiij benethe hym in syght. A vj is iij benethe hym in syght. A viij ys a yevyn wyth hym in syght. A x ys a iij above hym in syght. A xij ys a v above hym in syght. A xiij ys a vj above hym in syght. A xv ys a viij above hym in syght. Thow mayste take j, ii, or iij or iiij or v or vj imperfyght cordys togedyr.

[fol. 63v]


First figuracyon of notys ys to be knowyn that is for to say v maner of notys os a mynyme [M] a semibrefe [S] a brefe [B] a longe [Lv] and a large [MXv]. Thys ys the pleyne fyguracyon but they benn turnyd into a nodyr kynde semybrefes os thus [Lig2cssna,Lig2cssnd]. And yf ther comme iij tyyd togedyr the thryd shall be a brefe os thus [Lig3cssnaa]. Breves benn thus fyguryd [Lig2odcsdx,Lig2a]. A breve and a longe os thus [Lig2cdsndcddx]. A long and a brefe os thus [Lig2od,Lig2La]. A longe and a large [Lig2dMX]. Thes benn the substans of fyguracyon usyd in thyse dayes.

[-71-] [IV]

Then be ther iiij mesures. That ys for to say perfyte of the moore and perfyte of the lesse, imperfyte of the moore and imperfeyght of the lesse. The knowlyche of the perfyght of the more ys an [O] with a pryk os thus [Od]. And he is callyd perfyght because ther gooyth iij mynymes to a semybreve, iij semybrevys to a breve, iij breves to a long, iij longes to a large. In thys mesure alteracyon ys hadd in every noote. And alteracyon ys os moche to say os whan ther commyth ij odde mynymes before a sem[y]breve or ij semybreves before a breve or ij breves before a longe or to longes before a large the latter shall alter that ys to say the latter shall not be iij notys os thus [M,M,S,pt,Lig2cdsnd,L,pt]. The large may not alter for ther ys noon moore than he. Allso in thys mesure oon lyke before a nodyr shall ever be full as a semybreve before a nodyr. And so foorthe. Similis ante similem semper perficitur.


Then be ther iij maner of prykkes, that ys to say a prykke of perfeccyon a prykke of dyvysyon a prykke of reduccyon. A prykke of perfeccyon shall stonde at the corner of the noote os thus [S,pt,B,pt] The prykke of reduccyon shall stonde behynde the noote or befoore the noote at shall be reducyd as thus [pt,M,S,pt,S,B,B,S,pt]


The knowlych of the perfyght of the lesse ys an [O] and hyt ys callyd perfyght of the lesse for hyt ys nott full perfyght for the mynyme ys nott perfyght. Ther gooyn to mynymes to a semybreve and iij semibreves to a breve and so foorth os in perfyght of the moore. And in thys mesure ys alteracyoun had os in perfyght of the moore safe oonly the mynyme alteryth nott.

[fol. 64r]

[ . . . no]t perfyght but [t]he mynyme for iij mynymes goo to a [semibre]ve and ij semibreves to a breve and so foorth. And in thys [mesure alt]eryth no noote safe the mynyme.

[Th]ys ys the knowlyche of imperfyght of the lesse halfe an [O] without a prykke os thus [C] and hyt ys callyd imperfyght [of] the lesse for he ys nott perfyght in any noote. But lyke os [the] perfyght of the moore gooth all be iij so imperfyght of the lesse goth all be ij. And in thys mesure ys no alteracyoun.

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