A note about treatise titles

The Brussels copy (Br1) of Tinctoris’s collected writings differs from the two copies made by the scribe Venceslaus Crispus (V, BU) in giving much more prolix versions of the titles of treatises, regularly including details about the author and irregular in form (designation as liber/tractatus/scriptum/nothing; construction with genitive or de + ablative; position of the author’s name and qualifications within or after the title proper); two treatises also bear detailed colophons at the end in Br1. These variants must be authentic: it would be silly to suppose that a scribe might have made them up, and the character of the Brussels titles is mirrored in the title of the printed source of De inventione et usu musice (R), whose compositor was working from copy provided by Tinctoris. (All other sources are remote from the author.)

However, Tinctoris almost certainly oversaw the production of Crispus’s copies, so there is authority also for the shorter and more normalized versions of treatise titles in these sources, especially in their tables of contents; his occasional self-citations also employ such. Although these brief titles may represent Tinctoris’s mature decision, there is real value in the prolix titles of Br1, and we have given these at the head of the critical editions of the treatises (and the colophons at the end, when they exist). The brief titles, nevertheless, are far more convenient for purposes of reference; the philologically ‘true’ title may be The tragicall historie of Hamlet prince of Denmarke, but we know the play as Hamlet. We therefore give brief titles (as listed below) in the header bars of the texts and in the Text menu, and we hope that these will become the conventional titles used for reference and citation.

In the same spirit, we offer the following conventional abbreviations for use as appropriate:

Exp. manusExpositio manus
De ton.De natura et proprietate tonorum
De not. et paus.De notis et pausis
De reg. val.De regulari valore notarum
De imperf.De imperfectione notarum
De alt.De alteratione notarum
De punct.De punctis
De contr.De arte contrapuncti
Prop. mus.Proportionale musices
Eff. mus.Complexus effectuum musices
De inv. et usuDe inventione et usu musice
Image of Tinctoris
Johannes Tinctoris, depicted seated at his desk

Universitat de València, Biblioteca Històrica
MS 835, fol. 2 (detail)