Neumes


Also found in: Dictionary.
Related to Neumes: Gregorian chant, Guido d'Arezzo
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Neumes

 

symbols of musical notation that were used in European music at the beginning of the Middle Ages, mainly in the music of the Roman Catholic Church (Gregorian chant).

Neumes consisted of hyphens, dots, commas, and other signs. They designated individual sounds, groups of sounds, and the upward and downward movement of the voice. They did not indicate the exact pitch of the sounds, and thus could only remind a singer of a melody he already knew. There were numerous local varieties of the neumatic notation.

Beginning in the ninth century, attempts were made to perfect neumatic notation by supplementing it with signs for the pitch of sounds, at first in letters and then with the help of staffs on which the neumes were placed. Thus, there arose the system of square notation, or choral notation, from which the modern system of notation subsequently developed.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The only way to reconstruct the long-silenced sounds is through comparison of the early neumes with East Frankish diastematic manuscripts, most of which were copied centuries after the completion of the Liber ymnorum, and many of which stem from centers a long way from Saint Gall.
Ziolkowski divides Nota Bene into five chapters, beginning with the scope of the project and important definitions (Introduction) and developing the arguments through "The Recording and Use of Neumes" (chapter 2), which concerns interlinear glosses, because neumes in classical texts invariably appear in the spaces above the Latin verse lines.
The entire collection rests upon Levy's argument that the fundamental musical uniformity of the Gregorian melodies recorded in neumes in so many regions of Europe in the tenth and eleventh centuries could not survive a century of oral transmission.
Palomares's copy is remarkable for its nearly exact representation of both the text and the neumes of the medieval model at a time when few were studying liturgical books in Spain, much less their musical notation.
This is Followed by discussions on the relationships between words and music; chant transmission before neumes; various types of Byzantine musical notations; problems of sizes of intervals and tunings; signs and interpretations of Middle Byzantine notation including rhythm, modes, melody.
The author goes far beyond the title of the book; he gives an introduction not only to the theory of neumes, but also to the history of monodic music of Byzantine, Slavonic, and Latin churches and the notations used by them.
Yet the carefully drawn neumes and the presence of a proper Office for Thomas Becket points to Esztergom, which had a distinctive notation from the twelfth century onwards (see page 43 of the commentary for a description of these characteristic features), and comparison of this manuscript's liturgical content with other relevant sources from Esztergom definitively establish the breviary's origin (it is among the indexed sources in Dobszay's Corpus antiphonalium officii).
Notae Musicae Artis is particularly welcome, therefore, because it includes 130 black-and-white and color plates (on glossy paper), and shows a great variety of notated manuscripts ranging from eleventh-century Gospel books with neumes to sixteenth-century vocal polyphony, tablatures, and theoretical treatises.
Based on the style of the neumes added to the incipits of some alleluias and the presence of Saint Golumban in the calendar, Tacconi suggests influence from Bobbio.
A manuscript without shelfmark housed at the Benedictine convent of Santa Cruz de la Seros in Jaca, Spain, is the only antiphoner in diastematic Aquitanian neumes from twelfth-century Aragon and the only known manuscript from Santa Cruz de la Seros to survive.
As Arlt points out in his examination of the neumes in MSS 484 and 381, many scholars have studied St.
Nelson examines the sources in exhaustive detail, pursuant to her objectives, and presents narrative analyses and tables of neumes that identify the calligraphic variations and help define relationships among the fragments.