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Relevance: Division Viol[edit]

Page of Christopher Simpson's treatise The Division Viol (1665)

What is the relevance of the image to Diminution#Diminution as embellishment? Hyacinth (talk) 22:10, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Christopher Simpson's treatise is mentioned in the paragraph in question as it is a rather important work. The emphasis is given in that diminution and division are very close in relation and it wouldn't hurt to have an image on display. An image from Division (music) would equally stand valid. --Chrysalifourfour (talk) 12:33, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
The image from division may be more readily perceived as applicable. The Simpson image needs more context explaining its relevance to that section, such as a brief sentence explaining what you explained to me added to its caption. Hyacinth (talk) 22:11, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
I see your point, you're quite right. However, that very image from Division (music) is hardly adequate. I have found this one (p. 5), which comes from Diego Ortiz's Trattado de Glossas. Since it's on IMSPL I assume it's free to use, but I fear I lack the technical skill to extract it as an image and mount it on the article. Could you help me by doing the extraction, and then I could add a caption explaining its relevance. Thanks a million! --Chrysalifourfour (talk) 17:35, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand Italian (?) or read old-fashioned musical notation so I can't read the pdf, or the image. I wouldn't be any more qualified than you to copy the image directly from the .pdf and I'm currently not qualified to translate it into modern notation (someone admitting weakness on Wikipedia!). I wouldn't be able to provide a file description if I did create a file and upload it. Hyacinth (talk) 22:41, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
With some help from a friend I finally managed to upload a new image from Ortiz's treatise. I hope that amends the issue raised; the translation of the text is not really necessary as the musical example is quite self-explanatory. As to the old notation issue, I think you will find it's scarcely any different than the modern one; note heads are rather square and quavers are single-beamed, that's all there is to it. I do hope this image serves better the purpose of explaining what the article is about. --Chrysalifourfour (talk) 11:24, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
I assume you mean that eighth notes are beamed singly. Hyacinth (talk) 19:09, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
The notation in the image also lacks a clef, key signature, and time signature. Even assuming that the empty squares are half notes the measures are of inconsistent length (alternating between 4 and 6 quarter notes). Hyacinth (talk) 19:22, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I mean the quavers (eighth notes) beamed singly. A clef and key signature are irrelevant in these examples; the whole purpose is to demonstrate a preferable method of diminution with reference to the given intervals, regardless of their actual pitch. The empty squares (a.k.a. white notes) are not halves (minims) but whole notes, so the measures are in no case of inconsistent length (I have double-checked them more than twice). What the examples do miss is a time signature, which presumably is not too necessary, since all examples are in common time (4/4 time). Otherwise, do you think the image should be altered so as to demonstrate the staffs only? (the Italian text is rather useless in the article's context). And what do you think of the Bach example further down? --Chrysalifourfour (talk) 00:30, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Modern notation, however, would include key signatures, time signatures, [consistent bar lines,] and clefs so those are significant differences you initially forgot to mention. They are absolutely relevant to the example for two reasons. 1) if they where actually used in notation back then (and you didn't claim they weren't) their absence is confusing and prevents easy reading, 2) the key signature determines the intervals. Hyacinth (talk) 03:14, 19 May 2012 (UTC) [06:36, 19 May 2012 (UTC)]
However, visually this lack (if any) may be taken care of with a short note such as "incomplete notation for example purposes". The real difficulty comes with the question, "What does it sound like?" especially for those who don't read music. Ideally a sound file or two could be created, and this would apparently require some decision making. Hyacinth (talk) 04:12, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

I think you're missing the point of the example here; it is an example of how to treat intervals (particularly at cadence points), not actual music to perform. Naturally, "normal" music does absolutely need clefs, time signature, key sig. et al.; indeed, further down the treaty there is plenty of music, written-down with clefs, time signatures etc. I still don't see any inconsistent bar lines; each example is two bars long: first bar shows an interval in whole notes, second bar examines the interval's diminution treatment. Is a clef in that context so important? Would it really make a difference if one should read an F or C clef? The intention of the example remains the same. You keep mentioning lack of key signature; I suppose you realize no sharps or flats do actually make a perfectly "legitimate" key signature, of C major and A minor, as well as the equivalent key signatures of all non-transposed modes.

As for the audio file, yes that would be great if you could create and add to the article. By the way, the image I have created seems to be lacking some info and is due to be deleted. Seeing that you are immensely more experienced in wiki than I am, would it be possible for you to add the missing info? I have been quite unsuccessful at it so far.

I hope that resolves the issue, if you're still uneasy with the examples etc you're more than welcome to introduce your changes. In fact, as this is a collective process, anyone is invited to make their own amendments. Nice talking to you again :-) --Chrysalifourfour (talk) 15:10, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

I have managed to produce a modern notation score of the example in question, which is now added to the article. Is this any help at all? --Chrysalifourfour (talk) 15:36, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Some hours ago, Hyacinth asked on my talk page if I would be willing to look at this discussion and offer my expertise. It looks to me that you have resolved the issues between the two of you. I nevertheless offer a few comments.
First, I agree that the Christopher Simpson illustration, while relevant, is not as useful as an example in music notation, and its replacement improves the article.
Second, Hyacinth's supposition is correct about the text being in Italian. However, Ortiz published two parallel editions in 1553, one in Italian and one in Spanish, with reciprocal linguistic "pollution" (that is, Italian spellings occur in the Spanish text, and vice versa). As Chrysalifourfour says, the examples are self-explanatory but, If it helps at all, the text introducing the first example reads: "Method of glossing a given melody ['over the book']: The first and most perfect method is, after having played the passage, or gloss, from any note you like, in passing to the note that follows make the last note of your variation the same as the one in the plain version, as may be seen in the following examples." (This is roughly translated with both the Spanish and Italian texts before me, and there are some inconsequential differences. For example, the Spanish actually ends, "As these examples show").
Third, Chrysalifourfour is also correct about the lack of clefs being deliberate on Ortiz's part, in order to show the applicability of the divisions over intervals that may vary slightly according to their positions in different modes (the thirds may be major or minor, for example). In this respect, it is ironic that the alto clef finally chosen for the transcription is almost the only one that Ortiz himself never actually uses. His other solo examples use treble, soprano, tenor, baritone, or bass clefs, never mezzo-soprano or alto clef. I'm sure Ortiz would have no objection to this alto clef. It has not been mentioned, however, that the examples also are intended to work with different key signatures, though only signatures of one or two flats were commonly used up to the mid-16th century.
Finally, it is somewhat misleading to render the duration values as they have been done in the transcription. The expert will have no problem with this, but the unprepared reader (who is, I believe, the one we should regard as our primary audience) will assume these notes are very long and slow, whereas in fact they should be quite brisk in speed. It is customary when transcribing 16th-century notation (which, as Chrysalifourfour correctly points out, is virtually identical to modern notation in other respects) to cut the note values in half, since today's musicians are usually unaccustomed to counting semibreves (whole notes) as the basic beat value. This also means that the 4/2 meter given to the transcription would be better as 2/1 or, preferably, be replaced with the "alla breve" sign, cut time.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:02, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks again Jerome Kohl. If you could suggest a specific clef and key signature (and tempo) I will create two separate images and sound files using the 2/1 time signature, unless Chrysalifourfour has an objection, to replace the current single image of modern notation. Hyacinth (talk) 22:57, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
You're very welcome. There is nothing wrong with the alto clef, despite the fact that Ortiz does not use it for his solo examples (it does occur in one of the four-part compositions in Book 2). However, readers may find treble or bass clef more familiar. The present key signature of no flat or sharps is perfectly adequate, and as for a tempo, whole note = 60 (in the original notation) would be about right.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:18, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Chrysalifourfour, you may have noticed I added the template "PD-old" and Ortiz's death date to the file page (since he died more than 70 years ago). That should take care of the missing info (since I added the info I didn't remove the tag saying the info is missing, though I'm not sure if this is standard practice on commons) and save the file. Hyacinth (talk) 23:05, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

I see that Hyacinth has added a transcription of the seconda manera from Ortiz's treatise. I think that is a splendid idea, but this now really requires an explanation of the difference. The prima manera is the "most perfect" way of embellishing because the ornament returns to the starting pitch before moving to the second note. In that way, the original contrapuntal motion is preserved. The seconda manera "takes a little more licence in that, while moving from one note to another, it does keep to the same interval as in the cantus firmus, but rather as these examples demonstrate. [Musical examples] This manner is necessary because by taking this licence very good and very pretty flourishes are made which could not have been done in the first way alone, and for this reason they are used in some parts of this book, and the defects that may occur because of the time of passing from one quarter of a note to the next, without using the same interval as the [simple] notes being embellished, may coincide with the other voices such that either of the two perfect consonances is a thing that matters little, because at that speed it is not possible to hear [the defect]" (translated from the Spanish version of the text, though I think the Italian does not deviate in any significant way). I think there is a published English edition of Ortiz, which should probably be quoted instead of my off-the-cuff translation.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:54, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Shall we describe Ortiz's example as "contrived" (a la Canon (music))? Hyacinth (talk) 04:37, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Why would we want to do that?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:54, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
It's not a real musical example. Hyacinth (talk) 05:25, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I see, in the sense that it does not quote a previously existent piece of music. But in another sense, it is a perfectly "real" example, in that it occurs in a published book of music and so is a "composition" by Ortiz. Do musical works only exist if they have already existed previously? In that case, no music exists.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 07:21, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
No, it doesn't contain full notation, isn't playable, is only for example... Hyacinth (talk) 07:27, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
If you are trying to say that it is not a composition, I might agree with you, but if you really think it cannot be played, I can easily prove you wrong (I have played these examples myself countless times, and have routinely incorporated them into performances of actual compositions). I suppose by "full notation" you mean there is no clef or meter signature, but that seems like playing with semantics, as well as relying on 20th/21st-century ideas of what notation should be. You should be aware that 15th and 16th-century music often fails to supply a mensuration sign, in which case a default can be assumed (tempus perfectum in the early 15th century, tempus imperfectum in the 16th century). The lack of clef, on the other hand, is deliberate (as already discussed) and signifies what is sometimes called a catholicon in modal theory. An important example is the Missa cuiusvis toni by Ockeghem. Perhaps what I am reacting against here is the word "contrived", which suggests something that has nothing at all to do with musical reality. This is simply not the case with Ortiz, whose manual is concerned entirely with practical musical instruction.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:54, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
I see you must not have looked at the example I gave at Canon (music). Hyacinth (talk) 03:31, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
No, I had not. (I presume you do not mean the Josquin example, but the other one, which is indeed a "contrived" piece.) Are you trying to say that Ortiz's examples are comparable to that one?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:37, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Bach image[edit]

In response to Chrysalifourfour question above, I uploaded a new version of the Bach example without text (for cross-language use, text may be added to captions, which I did on the French wikipedia by copying directly from the image and adding "top" and "bottom" with the help of Google translate), without the empty measure at the start, smaller file size, and larger display. I also added an audio file (as I often try to do, especially for those who don't read music). Hyacinth (talk) 23:24, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Well I am glad the whole issue has now been resolved. I have no objection in a new modern notation score; I would have halved the note values myself, but I thought a more "urtext" version would be closer to the original and thus more readily comparable. I do think however the original (facsimile) image should be altered, so as to cut off the text and keep the musical part only. Would someone be able to take care of this, as I have no editor software available? Thanks for the renewed Bach example, it now looks much better. If the new Ortiz example is of the same (larger) display that would also be great. Cheers once again --Chrysalifourfour (talk) 23:52, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your patience/collaborative attitude. Hyacinth (talk) 04:37, 20 May 2012 (UTC)