Skip to main content

Rhythmic paradigms in the Cantigas de Santa Maria: French versus Arabic precedent


This article argues that the rhythmic meaning of the notation in the Cantigas de Santa Maria can be only understood by confronting it with different theoretical paradigms. Julián Ribera in 1922 defended an Arabic paradigm, to the exclusion of any other, but his access to Arabic historical writings was severely limited. Higinio Anglés in 1943 and most modern musicologists have since adopted French mensural theory, but recognised that it does not fit many songs. The author has demonstrated elsewhere that songs that do not fit the French paradigm often fit the Arabic one. The applicability of both paradigms, including their superimposition, is systematically compared here. After comparison of general concepts (ordo and period), of even-time composition (modes V–VI or conjunctive rhythm), of long–short opposition in ternary time (modes I–II or Ramal) and more complex patterns, the author provisionally concludes that very few patterns point unequivocally to French models, while in most cases (first and second mode and potential forms of the third mode) both French and Arabic paradigms could apply. In many other cases, encompassing both binary and ternary metre, the Arabic rhythmic paradigm is clearly either more fitting than the Parisian one, or the only one to apply.

Hide All

1 Manuel Pedro Ferreira, ‘The Periphery Effaced: The Musicological Fate of the Cantigas’, in ‘Estes Sons, esta Linguagem’. Essays on Music, Meaning and Society in Honour of Mário Vieira de Carvalho, ed. Gilbert Stöck, Paulo Ferreira de Castro and Katrin Stöck (Leipzig, in press).

2 Ferreira, Manuel Pedro, ‘Rondeau and Virelai: The Music of Andalus and the Cantigas de Santa Maria’, Plainsong & Medieval Music, 13/2 (2004), 127–40; reprinted in Poets and Singers: On Latin and Vernacular Monophonic Song, ed. Elizabeth Aubrey (Farnham and Burlington, VT, 2009), 267–80. For an updated table of musical forms used in the Cantigas de Santa Maria (hereinafter abbreviated as CSM), see idem, ‘Jograis, contrafacta, formas musicais: cultura urbana nas Cantigas de Santa Maria’, Alcanate. Revista de Estudios Alfonsíes, 8 (2012–13), 43–53.

3 Anglés, Higinio, La música de las Cantigas de Santa María del rey Alfonso el Sabio, 3 vols. (Barcelona, 1943–64), 2 (1943):47–50; 3/1 (1958):156–87. Vol. 2 is now available at: Ferreira, Manuel Pedro, ‘Bases for Transcription: Gregorian Chant and the Notation of the Cantigas de Santa Maria’, in Los instrumentos del Pórtico de la Gloria: Su reconstrucción y la música de su tiempo, coord. José López-Calo (La Coruña, 1993), 2:595621; and idem, ‘Andalusian Music and the Cantigas de Santa Maria’, in Cobras e Som. Papers from a Colloquium on the Text, Music and Manuscripts of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, ed. Stephen Parkinson (Oxford, 2000), 7–19; reprinted in Poets and Singers, 253–65. It must be said that, contrary to what I suggested in ‘Bases for Transcription’, I now regard the binary cum proprietate/sine perfectione ligatures in the Escorial codices as acknowledged mensural figures, as Anglés had proposed, with no need to attribute their brevis-brevis meaning to the influence of Franco.

4 Handschin, Jacques, ‘The Summer Canon and Its Background’, Musica disciplina, 3 (1949), 5594, at 73, 79. Where I wrote ‘Castile’ and ‘Cantigas’, Handschin had ‘England’ and ‘the Summer canon’.

5 More quoque Davitico etiam [ad] preconium Virginis gloriose multas et perpulchras composuit cantinelas, sonis convenientibus et proportionibus musicis modulatas. Cited in Joseph F. O'Callaghan, Alfonso X and the ‘Cantigas de Santa Maria.’ A Poetic Biography (London, Boston and Cologne, 1998), 7. On Alfonso's claims to musical authorship, see Ferreira, Manuel Pedro, ‘Alfonso X, compositor’, Alcanate. Revista de Estudios Alfonsíes, 5 (2006–07), 117–37; reprinted in idem, Aspectos da Música Medieval no Ocidente Peninsular, vol. 1: Música palaciana (Lisbon, 2009), 282–302. On Juan Gil de Zamora, see note 24.

6 On the scholarly debate concerning the rhythm of the Cantigas, see Cunningham, Martin G., Afonso X, o Sábio. Cantigas de Loor (Dublin, 2000), 2630. Alison Campbell, ‘Words and Music in the Cantigas de Santa Maria: The Cantigas as Song’, MLitt thesis, University of Glasgow (2011), 82–5, 91, (accessed 06 April 2013). Manuel Ferreira, Pedro, ‘Understanding the Cantigas: Preliminary Steps’, in Analizar, interpretar, hacer música: de las Cantigas de Santa María a la organología. Escritos in memoriam Gerardo V. Huseby, ed. Plesch, Melanie (Buenos Aires, 2013), 127–52.

7 Tarragó, Julián Ribera y, La música de las Cantigas. Estudio sobre su origen y naturaleza con reproducciones fotográficas del texto y transcripción moderna (Madrid, 1922). Ribera's knowledge of medieval Arabic rhythm was based on only a handful of published passages, especially the passage in the late tenth-century scientific dictionary by al-Khwārizmī, the Mafātīh; Ribera seems to have been the first to translate its chapter on rhythmic cycles into a Western language. The translation (p. 44) is reliable, but, in the absence of other information, its musical interpretation is understandably faulty when viewed from the standpoint of modern scholarship, which benefits from a much wider and more detailed array of sources. Chottin, Alexis, Tableau de la musique marocaine (Paris, 1939; rept 1999), 81–3, also largely misunderstood the chapter. An English translation and commentary was published by Farmer, Henry George, ‘The Science of Music in the Mafātīh al-’Ulūm’, Transactions of the Glasgow University Oriental Society, 17 (1957–58), 19. Ribera's translation is not listed in Eckhard Neubauer, ‘Arabic Writings on Music: Eight to Nineteenth Centuries’, in The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 6 (New York and London, 2002), 363–86.

8 Stevenson, Robert, ‘Tributo a Higinio Anglés’, Revista Musical Chilena, 24/112 (1970), 613; and López-Calo, José, ‘Las Cantigas de Santa María y Monseñor Higinio Anglés’, Ritmo, 550 (1984–85), 54–9.

9 Friedrich Ludwig criticised Ribera's disregard for the rhythmic design mirrored in the sources, which he followed in transcribing the incipits of five cantigas (nrs. 124, 189, 10, 32 and 100) in his contribution to Adler's, GuidoHandbuch der Musikgeschichte (Frankfurt am Main, 1924), 180–1. He allowed for mixed rhythmic modes and even binary metre (in CSM 100). Only later (from 1937 onwards) would Anglés follow Ludwig in this path, see Anglés, La música de las Cantigas, 2:8–12. See also Cisteró, José María Llorens, ‘El ritmo musical de las Cantigas de Santa María: Estado de la cuestión’, in Studies on the Cantigas de Santa Maria: Art, Music and Poetry. Proceedings of the International Symposium on The Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X, el Sabio (1221–1284), ed. Katz, Israel J. and Keller, John E. (Madison, WI, 1987), 203–21.

10 Haines, John, ‘The Footnote Quarrels of the Modal Theory: A Remarkable Episode in the Reception of Medieval Music’, Early Music History, 20 (2001), 87120.

11 The schematic description offered below assumes modal ordines with ‘perfect’ endings. No signs for pauses are used here, since in early mensural sources the notation of rests could be imprecise, to be read according to context, and different systems were later in use: cf. Mary Elisabeth Wolinski, ‘The Montpellier Codex: Its Compilation, Notation, and Implications for the Chronology of the Thirteenth-Century Motet’, Ph.D. diss., Brandeis University (1989), 109–11; Sean Paul Curran, ‘Vernacular Book Production, Vernacular Polyphony, and the Motets of the “La Clayette” Manuscript (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouvelles acquisitions françaises 13521)’, Ph.D. diss., University of California at Berkeley (2013), 66–7.

12 See, however, von Ficker, Rudolf, ‘Probleme der modalen Notation (Zur kritischen Gesamtausgabe der drei- und vierstimmigen Organa)’, Acta musicologica, 18/19 (1946–47), 216: the author proposes that the third mode may have originally been found in Parisian organal singing at a quick tempo, corresponding to 6/8, and only later enlarged to 6/4 in polyphonic discant. According to this narrative, two unequal breves would have been conceptualised as such from the start.

13 The division of the breve was initially free. Inspired by the breve-long relationship, theorists tried to impose rules on how a pair of semibreves would proportionally relate to the breve, but failed to produce a consensus. See Lefferts, Peter M., The Motet in England in the Fourteenth Century (Ann Arbor, 1986), 111–24.

14 Anderson, Gordon A., ‘Magister Lambertus and Nine Rhythmic Modes’, Acta Musicologica, 45 (1973), 5773, at 66.

15 Wolinski, ‘The Montpellier Codex’, 149–51.

16 The irregular modes reported by Anonymous IV (c.1280 or later) in a passage that poses severe problems of interpretation, and fascicles 7–8 of the Montpellier Codex H 196, the repertory of which is believed to date from the late thirteenth century, will not be taken into account here. In fact, an extreme case of mensural experimentation is found in fascicle 8, fol. 378v: the motet Amor potest/Ad amorem, built on a binary dactylic pattern (diplomatic and modern transcription in Johannes Wolf, Handbuch der Notationskunde, vol. 1 (Leipzig, 1913), 272–6; commentary and analytical transcription in Wolinski, ‘The Montpellier Codex’, 151–5). The re-assessment of the latter manuscript by Mary Wolinski, who proposed that fascicles 1–7 were copied before 1290 and possibly as early as c.1270, has not been generally accepted. See Mary E. Wolinski, ‘The Compilation of the Montpellier Codex’, Early Music History, 11 (1992), 263–301; and Everist, Mark, ‘Motets, French Tenors, and the Polyphonic Chanson ca. 1300’, The Journal of Musicology, 24 (2007), 365406, at 370–1, note 18. On the identity and cultural background of the English theorist known as Anonymous IV, see Haines, John, ‘Anonymous IV as an Informant on the Craft of Music Writing’, The Journal of Musicology, 23 (2006), 375425.

17 Sanders, Ernest H., ‘Duple Rhythm and Alternate Third Mode in the 13th Century’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 15/3 (1962), 249–91. Anderson, ‘Magister Lambertus’; Jeremy Yudkin, The Music Treatise of Anonymous IV – A New Translation (Neihausen-Stuttgart, 1985), 14, 48; and Göllner, Marie Louise, ‘The Third Rhythmic Mode in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries’, Revista de Musicología, 16/4 (1993), 2395–409.

18 Roesner, Edward H. (ed.), Le Magnus Liber Organi de Notre-Dame de Paris (Monaco, 1993), 1: xli–xliv. According to Anonymous IV, extended first mode (or alternate third mode) was used in England and elsewhere, written as long–long–short, presumably understood as longa ultra mensuram-longa-brevis; the Las Huelgas codex represents the same rhythm as long–short–short, or longa ultra mensuram-brevis altera-brevis. Cf. Sanders, ‘Duple Rhythm and Alternate Third Mode’, 270, 278.

19 Walteri Odington Summa de speculatione musicae, ed. Frederick Hammond, Corpus Scriptorum de Musica 14, ([Rome], 1970), 131 (VI.6), (accessed 17 June 2013): Sunt et alii modi secundarii, scilicet cum cantus procedit per longam et brevem et brevem et longam cum divisione modi inter breves, sic: [Clef C2, L, B, pt, B, L on staff2]. Sed hic modus constat ex primo et secundo et ad alterum eorum reducitur. Similiter cum cantus procedit ex brevi et longa duabus brevibus et longa, sic: [Clef C2, B, L, B, B, L on staff2], constat ex secundo et quarto, et sic de aliis diversis dis positionibus. Sic autem se habent modi in ordine secundum quod prius et posterius fuerunt in usu et in inventione.

20 De musica libellus, in Scriptorum de musica medii aevi nova series a Gerbertina altera, 4 vols., ed. Edmond de Coussemaker (Paris, 1864–76; rept, Hildesheim, 1963), 1:378–83, (accessed 7 August 2014): Secundus modus convenientiam habet cum tertio, quia post unam longam in tertio modo sive post duas breves potest sequi immediate una brevis et altera longa. Et sic de tertio modo et de secundo potest fieri unus modus per equipollentiam et per convenientiam talem. Similiter tertius modus et quintus conveniunt in hoc quod post unam longam in quinto modo possunt sequi due breves de tertio; et e converso, post duas breves de tertio potest sequi una longa de quinto, et sic per equipollentiam et in convenientiam talem, de tertio modo et quinto potest fieri unus modus. On the Bruges and Paris versions of Anonymous 7, see Pinegar, Sandra, ‘Exploring the Margins: A Second Source for Anonymous 7’, Journal of Musicological Research, 12 (1992), 213–43.

21 Historia de la Música en España e Hispanoamérica, I: De los orígenes hasta c. 1470, ed. Maricarmen Gómez Muntané (Madrid, 2009), 209–15, 226.

22 Hernández, Francisco J., ‘Relaciones de Alfonso X con Inglaterra y Francia’, Alcanate. Revista de Estudios Alfonsíes, 4 (2004–05), 167242.

23 Martínez, H. Salvador, Alfonso X, El Sabio: una biografía (Madrid, 2003), 217–31, 454–9; Jiménez, Manuel González, Alfonso X el Sabio (Barcelona, 2004), 280–6.

24 This conclusion is reinforced by the presence at Alfonso's court of Johannes Aegidius Zamorensis, or Juan Gil de Zamora, a Franciscan friar and author of an Ars Musica, who is believed to have attended the university in Paris (chronology uncertain). See Stevenson, Robert, ‘Spanish Musical Impact Beyond the Pyrenees (1250–1500)’, in Actas del Congreso Internacional ‘España en la música de Occidente’(Madrid, 1987), 1:115–64, at 119–24; Hernández, Cándida Ferrero, Juan Gil, Doctor y Maestro del Convento Franciscano de Zamora (ca. 1241–1318) (Zamora, 2006), (accessed 2 September 2014); Martínez, Martín Páez et al., Ars Musica de Juan Gil de Zamora (Murcia, 2009); and Loewen, Peter V., Music in Early Franciscan Thought (Leiden, 2013), 197232.

25 Anglés, La música de las Cantigas, 2:11 (excerpts from conferences given in 1937): ‘El elemento popular que encontramos en todas las formas musicales de la Historia de España aparece ya en la música mozárabe, y principalmente en las secuencias españolas y, con mayor intensidad, en las Cantigas de Alfonso el Sabio [. . .] Sus melodías no guardan relación alguna con la música oriental de los árabes [. . .] presentan una variedad rítmica y una riqueza melódica que no admiten comparación con los otros repertorios europeos. En ellas domina el elemento rítmico de la canción popular.’

26 Manuel Pedro Ferreira, ‘L’identité du motet parisien’, Ariane 16 (1999–2000), 83–92, reprinted in idem, Revisiting the Music of Medieval France: From Gallican Chant to Dufay (Farnham and Burlington, VT, 2012), ch. 7. Although motet composition required a learned milieu, certain hints suggest a socially mixed audience and appreciation. See Page, Christopher, The Owl & the Nightingale: Musical Life and Ideas in France 1100–1300 (London, 1989), 144–54; and idem, Discarding Images: Reflections on Music and Culture in Medieval France (Oxford, 1993), 65–111.

27 Most modern anthologies of early European music illustrate the Cantigas with transcriptions by Anglés. An exception is The Oxford Anthology of Music: Medieval Music, ed. Thomas Marrocco and Nicholas Sandon (London and New York, 1977) (CSM 29 and 290). The standard scholarly numbering of the CSM is now based on the critical edition by Walter Mettmann, Afonso X, o Sábio: Cantigas de Santa Maria, 4 vols. (Coimbra, 1959–72). It mostly coincides with the numbering adopted by Anglés, since both editors base their work on MS. E.

28 Ferreira, Manuel Pedro, ‘The Stemma of the Marian Cantigas: Philological and Musical Evidence’, Cantigueiros, 6 (1994), 5898; translated with corrections and a postscript in idem, Aspectos da Música Medieval, 196–229.

29 On the notation of the CSM, see Ferreira, ‘Bases for Transcription’; idem, ‘The Stemma of the Marian Cantigas’; idem, ‘A música no códice rico: formas e notação’, in Alfonso X El Sabio (1221–1284), Las Cantigas de Santa María: Códice Rico, Ms. T-I-1, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Estudios, vol. 2, coord. Laura Fernández Fernández and Juan Carlos Ruiz Souza (Madrid, 2011), 189–204; and idem, ‘Editing the Cantigas de Santa Maria: Notational Decisions’, Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia, new series, 1/1 (2014), 33–52, available at

30 The facsimile of codex E published by Anglés is now available online at: On the numbering of the CSM, see note 27.

31 Jiménez, Alfonso X el Sabio; and Arsuaga, Ana Echevarría, La minoría islámica de los reinos cristianos medievales. Moros, sarracenos, mudéjares (Malaga, 2004), 36–7.

32 Ferreira, Manuel Pedro, ‘Some Remarks on the Cantigas’, Revista de Musicología, 10 (1987), 115–6. idem, ‘Iberian Monophony’, in A Performer's Guide to Medieval Music, ed. Ross W. Duffin (Bloomington, IN, 2000), 144–57; and idem, ‘Andalusian Music’.

33 Shai Burstyn, ‘The “Arabian Influence” Thesis Revisited’, Current Musicology, 45–7 [Festschrift for E. H. Sanders] (1990), 119–46, at 128, 133.

34 My debt to modern scholarship on medieval Arabic theory must be acknowledged here. The following translations were used in addition to those cited in note 7: Rodolphe d’Erlanger, La musique arabe, 6 vols. (1935; reprint, Paris, 2001); Emilio García Gomez, Todo Ben Quzmán, 3 vols. (Madrid, 1972), 3:305–8, al-Tīfāshī, Mut’at al-asma’. . ., ch. 37 (not listed in Neubauer, ‘Arabic Writings’); and Sawa, George Dimitri, Rhythmic Theories and Practices in Arabic Writings to 339 AH/950 CE. Annotated Translations and Commentaries (Ottawa, 2009).

35 There are more traces of the presence of oriental musicians in Cordoba than had been recognised until recently: the discovery of some eighteen biographies of Andalusi singers, some of them active in the late eighth century and in the court of al-Hakam I (r. 806–22), implies that the professional musical connection to the East precedes the arrival in 822 of the famous singer and lutenist Zyriab, educated in Baghdad. On the subject, see Dwight F. Reynolds, ‘Music’, in ed. M. R. Menocal et al., The Literature of Al-Andalus (Cambridge, 2000), 60–82, at 63–4; idem, ‘Music in Medieval Iberia: Contact, Influence and Hybridization’, Medieval Encounters, 15 (2009), 236–55, at 241–2; and idem, ‘New Directions in the Study of Medieval Andalusi Music’, Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies, 1 (2009), 37–51, at 40. On the presence of Arabic musical theory in the Andalus, see Manuela Cortés, ‘Fuentes escritas para el estudio de la música en Al-Andalus (siglos XIII-XVI)’, in Fuentes Musicales en la Península Ibérica. Actas del Coloquio Internacional, Lleida, 1–3 abril 1996, ed. Maricarmen Gómez and Màrius Bernadó (Lleida, 2002), 289–304; and Sawa, George Dimitri, ‘Baghdadi Rhythmic Theories and Practices in Twelfth-Century Andalusia’, in Music and Medieval Manuscripts. Paleography and Performance. Essays dedicated to Andrew Hughes, ed. Haines, John and Rosenfeld, Randall (Aldershot, 2004), 151–81.

36 For an English translation, see Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 62–9.

37 The psychological foundations and musical implications of protracted endings are dealt with in Ferreira, Manuel Pedro, O Som de Martin Codax/The Sound of Martin Codax (Lisbon, 1986), 3847.

38 Sawa, George Dimitri, Music Performance Practice in the Early Abbasid Era 132–320 AH/750–932 AD (Toronto, 1989), 3871; idem, ‘Theories of Rhythm and Metre in the Medieval Middle East’, The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (New York and London, 2002), 6:387–93; and idem, Rhythmic Theories, 241, 325.

39 Roesner, Edward, ‘The Performance of Parisian Organum’, Early Music, 7 (1979), 174–89; Yudkin, The Music Treatise of Anonymous IV, 76; and the review by Roesner, E., Historical Performance: Journal of Early Music America, 1 (1988), 21–3.

40 The ‘toom-toom’ scene in the 2011 film by Edgar Pêra, O Barão, is based on the rhythmic period referred to above (ch. 7, 46’57–49’12). This passage is a vivid contemporary illustration of the procedures at work in both medieval Arabic music and the Cantigas de Santa Maria, and even beyond (as in the romance Sospirastes, Baldovinos).

41 See Schneider, Marius, ‘Studien zur Rhythmik im “Cancionero de Palacio”’, in Miscelánea en homenage a monseñor Higinio Anglés, 2 vols. (Barcelona, 1958–61), 2:833–41, at 836, ex. 3 (from Extremadura). A shortened, six-beat variant, the Hafif rhythm of the Tunisian Andalusian tradition, is part of the identity of a thirteenth-century song authored by the famous Jewish-born poet Ibrāhīm ibn Sahl from Seville. See d’Erlanger, La musique arabe, 6:152, 592 ff., 624 ff.

42 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 402; and Willi Apel, ‘Drei plus Drei plus Zwei = Vier plus Vier’, Acta musicologica, 32 (1960), 29–33.

43 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 391, 393. The poetic structure of CSM 107 has a secular Galician-Portuguese parallel in the cantiga d’amor by Pero da Ponte, Senhor do corpo delgado.

44 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 271. del Encina, Juan, Poesía Lírica y Cancionero Musical, ed. Jones, R. O. and Lee, Carolyn R. (Madrid, 1972), 357 (no. 61, Todos los bienes del mundo).

45 Ferreira, ‘Andalusian Music’.

46 Binkley, Thomas and Frenk, Margit, Spanish Romances of the Sixteenth Century (Bloomington, 1995), 12, 31, 33, 63, 75 and 77.

47 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 158–9, 208–9, 443–5. See also note 7.

48 Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), Kitāb al-shifā’, chapter 12 (on music), translated in d’Erlanger, La musique arabe, 2:105–245, at 185. See also Shiloah, Amnon, ‘Réflexions sur la danse artistique musulmane au moyen âge’, Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, 5/20 (1962), 463–74.

49 d’Erlanger, La musique arabe, 2:178.

50 Parkinson, Stephen, ‘Concurrent Patterns of Verse Design in the Galician-Portuguese Lyric’, in Proceedings of the Thirteenth Colloquium, ed. Whetnall, J. and Deyermond, A., PMHRS 51 (London, 2006), 1938.

51 Cf. Sawa, Music Performance Practice, 40; and idem, Rhythmic Theories, 471–3.

52 Anglés, La música de las Cantigas, 3/1:163, 185n. Anglés correctly interpreted this style as implying binary metre, thus differentiating it from notation formed ex omnibus longis et perfectis. Unlike the Cantigas, the notation in troubadour and trouvère melodies consisting almost entirely of virgae is metrically neutral; a binary interpretation is a possibility among others. See, for instance, Coustume est bien quant on tient un prison (Thibaut of Navarre) as copied in the Chansonnier Clairambaut (MS X), fol. 35v, or the songs of Moniot de Paris commented upon by O’Neill, Mary, Courtly Love Songs of Medieval France (Oxford, 2006), 150–2.

53 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 360, 481. The anonymous prologue to Garlandia's tract in MS. Paris, BNF, fonds latin 16663 conceptualises the corresponding variant saying that the sixth mode is converted to the first when it adopts a first-mode ending: ‘sextus modus [. . .] quando reducitur ad primum, terminatur in longam et habet pausationem unius temporis’, in Reimer, Erich (ed.), Johannes de Garlandia: De mensurabili musica, (Wiesbaden, 1972), 1:93. This terminal assimilation of the first mode can be illustrated by the tenor's last phrase in the motet Je ne puis / Flor de lis / Douce dame (Montpellier Codex, fasc. 5, no. 164).

54 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 400, 401n.

55 Ibid., 68.

56 The hypothesis of a direct relationship with rhythmic modes is somewhat strained in Ex. 4. If every accented rhyming syllable (starting bars 2, 4 and 6) took just two beats instead of three, the result would coincide with a rhythmic pattern acknowledged by al-Fārābī (the stroke entered in the MS after each instance of the pattern may stand for a rest).

57 A fourth-mode transcription can be found together with a ‘modo arabico’ alternative in Cunningham, Alfonso X, o Sábio, 193–7. The second mode upbeat is unmistakable in CSM 149, the incipit of which coincides almost exactly with CSM 260.

58 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 386, 397 (Variation Five), 404–5 (mudāri’ = Fifth Light). The resulting period would be equivalent to (1+1+2) + (1+2+2+2) beats, or Tananann Tanann Tann Tann.

59 Ibid., 403; and Azadehfar, Mohammad Reza, Rhythmic Structure in Iranian Music, 2nd edn (Tehran, 2011), 112–13.

60 Songs notated in first mode with an upbeat are plentiful among the lyric insertions in Jacquemart Gielée's Renart le nouvel, as found in Paris, BNF, fonds français 25566 (MS W), fols. 121v, ‘Jamais amours n’oublierai’; 128v, ‘Vous n’ales mie’; 130r, ‘Souspris sui’; 165r, ‘A mes dames’; 165v, ‘E diex’; 166r ‘A ma dame’; 166v ‘Dont vient’. A Latin counterpart is London, BL, Harley MS 978, fol. 13r, ‘Ante thronum regentis omnia’, discussed in Helen Deeming (ed.), Songs in British Sources, c. 1150–1300, Musica Britannica vol. 95 (London, 2013), facs. 3, lii–liii, 131, 208. See also the discussion of iambic sequences in Bell, Nicolas, The Las Huelgas Music Codex: A Companion Study to the Facsimile (Madrid, 2003), 123–4, 137–8.

61 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 293, 402, 483. These patterns relate to a form of the Hazaj reported by Al-Bataliawsī (ibid., 68): ‘the Hazaj is one heavy attack, then one light’. The editor adds: [then one heavy], and defends in a footnote the addition as a plausible alternative reading; the length of the final attack (two or three beats) remains open.

62 d’Erlanger, La musique arabe, 2:189, 193.

63 Dionisio Preciado, ‘Veteranía de algunos ritmos “Aksak” en la música antigua española’, Anuario musical, 39–40 (1984–5), 189–215 (206–9, 214–15).

64 Binkley and Frenk, Spanish Romances, 14–5, 26, 80–1.

65 Encina, Poesía Lírica y Cancionero Musical, 307, 325, 337; Anglés, La música de las Cantigas, 3/1:178–84.

66 Anglés, La música de las Cantigas, 3/1:183. David Wulstan, however, distinguishes the systematic use of L B B L or B L L B (which he called ‘mode 7’), acknowledged in no more than seventeen songs, from the incidental mixture of first and second modes in many others. See Wulstan, David, The Emperor's Old Clothes: The Rhythm of Mediaeval Song (Ottawa, 2001), 4952, 309.

67 In Paris, BNF, fonds français 25566 (MS W), two second-mode lyric insertions are given first-mode endings for the sake of accentual conformity: fol. 164v, ‘Avoec tele conpagnie’; 165v, ‘Honnis soit’.

68 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 291–3. A period formed of two cycles L B B L, implying, however, binary subdivision (3/4 instead of 6/8) was reported by al-Fārābī either as a variation of the conjunctive Hazaj by dropping out the second attack (Fourth Light, Variation one) or as Variation Six of the Heavy Ramal (Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 269, 343). This pattern was long-lived in Iran. See Azadehfar, Rhythmic Structure in Iranian Music, 116–17.

69 The rhythm of CSM 293 (B B L L or 1+1+2+2 beats, twice in a row) could be placed in this category if the first short note is regarded as an upbeat; but it is simpler to consider it a straightforward case of a variation of the conjunctive Hazaj described by al-Fārābī as a result of dropping out the fourth attack (Fourth Light, Variation two). Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 390.

70 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 403.

71 See d’Erlanger, La musique arabe, 2:195, 204, 211, 218. The pattern 1+2+2+1+2+2, called Hazaj the first, was considered very old in early Iranian musical theory. See Azadehfar, Rhythmic Structure in Iranian Music, 122–3. Willi Apel remarked on the popularity of the 3+3+2 beat pattern in Iberian song and keyboard music in the Renaissance (see note 42).

72 Encina, Poesía Lírica y Cancionero Musical, 309, 311, 317, 322–5, 367.

73 Ibid., 307, 311, 325, 330, 337.

74 Iranian theorists of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, as well as the fifteenth-century Arabic tradition and the Andalusian tradition of Tetuan in Morocco, all share a rhythmic cycle implying a succession of bars corresponding, in augmented values, to 3/2, 6/4 (or vice versa) and 2/2. Azadehfar, Rhythmic Structure in Iranian Music, 110–11; d’Erlanger, La musique arabe, 6:87 (comment to no. 68); and Chottin, Tableau de la musique marocaine, 182, ex. 3a.

75 Anglés, La música de las Cantigas, 2:54–5.

76 Cf. Les Chansonniers des troubadours et des trouvères, T. 1: Reproduction phototypique du chansonnier Cangé, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Ms. français, nº 846 (MS O) (Strasbourg, Paris, Philadelphia, 1927), fols. 13v, 14v, 25r, 29r and 86v; Carl Parrish, The Notation of Medieval Music (New York, 1957), 47–8 and Plate XV; van der Werf, Hendrik, The Chansons of the Troubadours and Trouvères (Utrecht, 1972), 36, 40–3, 105, 122–5. A useful overview of the musical notation found in the trouvère chansonniers can be found in O’Neill, Courtly Love Songs, 27–52.

77 Parrish, The Notation of Medieval Music, 76–7, writes that in thirteenth-century music ‘the fourth mode is almost never seen’. This is confirmed in Bryan Guillingham, Modal Rhythm (Ottawa, 1986), 66–70: among the early motets only two examples are found. Devers Chastelvilain, a song attributed to Colin Muset, as written on fols. 44v–45 of the Chansonnier Cangé, is a notable exception. See Wolf, Handbuch der Notationskunde, 211–12. See also Theodore Karp, ‘Three Trouvère Chansons in Mensural Notation’, Gordon Athol Anderson, 1929–1981: In Memoriam von seinen Studenten, Freunden und Kollegen, 2 vols., Musicological Studies 39 (Henryville, PA, 1984), 2:474–94; Karp identifies a strophe notated in a mixture of second and fourth modes (as in Lambertus's fifth mode). Tischler, Hans, ‘The Performance of Medieval Songs’, Revue Belge de Musicologie, 43 (1989), 225–42, at 241, observes that in trouvère songs the fourth rhythmic mode is rare.

78 Anglés, La música de las Cantigas, 3/1:181, 184–5, 276–7. For a different opinion, see Cunningham, Alfonso X, o Sábio, 54, who considers the fourth mode ‘well represented’ in the Cantigas, adding: ‘The presence of this category was not acknowledged by Anglés, and has apparently also been overlooked by Ferreira.’ See, however, Ferreira, O Som de Martin Codax, Apêndice II (concerning CSM 293); and idem, Aspectos da Música Medieval, 80–1 (CSM 60), 189n (CSM 97).

79 Sawa, Rhythmic Theories, 148, 150, 344, 364, 368–71.

80 Ibid., 67.

81 Ribera, La música de las Cantigas, 121n; Anglés, La música de las Cantigas, 3/1:179–87; and Wulstan, The Emperor's Old Clothes, 48–62, 308–12. See also the (non-quantified) discussion of rhythmic categories in Cunningham, Alfonso X, o Sábio, 52–6.

82 On the variety of overlooked rhythmic information in trouvère manuscripts, see Manuel Pedro Ferreira, ‘Mesure et temporalité: vers l’Ars Nova’, in La rationalisation du temps au XIIIème siècle – Musiques et mentalités (Actes du colloque de Royaumont, 1991) (Royaumont, 1998), 65–120, at 69–85, 109–10, 114–18; reprinted in idem, Revisiting the Music of Medieval France, ch. VI.

83 O'Callaghan, Alfonso X and the Cantigas de Santa Maria, 82.

An earlier version of this article was presented at the 15. Symposium des Mediävistenverbands, ‘Abrahams Erbe’ (Heidelberg, 3–6 March 2013).

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Plainsong & Medieval Music
  • ISSN: 0961-1371
  • EISSN: 1474-0087
  • URL: /core/journals/plainsong-and-medieval-music
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed