The Play of Meanings: Aribo's de Musica and the Hermeneutics of Musical Thought

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Aribo Scholasticus was an eleventh-century music theorist whose treatise De musica was critical in the development of modal theory. By placing emphasis on melodic formulae as well as scales in the definition of mode, Aribo altered the way Western musicians viewed music. The Play of Meanings: Aribo's De Musica and the Hermeneutics of Musical Thought provides a close reading of the treatise and suggests that an investigation of Aribo's imagery, music theories, and methodology of presentation is critical to a ...

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Overview

Aribo Scholasticus was an eleventh-century music theorist whose treatise De musica was critical in the development of modal theory. By placing emphasis on melodic formulae as well as scales in the definition of mode, Aribo altered the way Western musicians viewed music. The Play of Meanings: Aribo's De Musica and the Hermeneutics of Musical Thought provides a close reading of the treatise and suggests that an investigation of Aribo's imagery, music theories, and methodology of presentation is critical to a nuanced understanding of not only the treatise itself, but also of its conceptual and theoretical relationship to the larger world of eleventh-century musical thought. The manner in which Aribo's text circulated in the Middle Ages, as well as the chants he cites and his views on music theory, suggest that Aribo's work was intended for a medieval reader who was proficient in music theory - well trained in ratio, yet also versed in Neoplatonic philosophy and biblical exegesis. The interpretive process laid out in this study yields an understanding of Aribo's work that ultimately alters our preconceptions of what a medieval music theory text might or should have been, unveiling a rich field of interconnected meanings. This work finally settles the academic question of this early medieval musicologist's identity, putting forth the first-ever examination of his musical theories as taken from original texts and extant discussions on the subject. As such, it is an essential reference for all medieval scholars and musicologists.

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Editorial Reviews

Reference and Research Book News
De musica is a treatise on modal theory written by music theorist Aribo Scholasticus, who changed perspectives on music in his interpretation of the melodic modes. Ilnitchi (musicology, Eastman School of Music, U. of Rochester) analyzes the "all but forgotten" manuscript for its use of imagery, unique terminology, ideas, methodology, specific audience, and how it corresponded to musical thought at the time. She states that one cannot use conventional methods to understand it, nor does it turn out to be a typical treatise. Ilnitchi considers the manuscript, musical examples used in it, the controversy over who its author was, rhetoric, discourse, and surrounding philosophy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810856516
  • Publisher: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Gabriela Ilnitchi is an associate professor of Musicology in the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 List of Tables Part 2 List of Figures Part 3 List of Examples Part 4 Abbreviations Part 5 Prologue Part 6 PART I Chapter 7 1. Sources and Transmission Chapter 8 2. Chant Examples Part 9 PART II Chapter 10 3. Rhetoric, Topics, and Natura Chapter 11 4. Aribo's Theoretical Model and His Concept of Natura Chapter 12 5. Caprea and Figura circularis Part 13 Epilogue Part 14 Bibliography Part 15 Index Part 16 About the Author

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