Tinctoris’s treatise De inventione et usu musice and updated Biographical Outline published


Today we have published on the Tinctoris project website an initial version of the complete surviving portions of the treatise De inventione et usu musice, together with draft English translation. This is the first time that the incunabulum text from the early 1480s has been united with the additional extracts found in Cambrai MS A 16 into a single text, though a large part of the original, large-scale treatise unfortunately still remains lost. We will be returning to the translation early in the new year to polish this further.

We are continuing the task of identifying as many as possible of the sources of the numerous citations and literary allusions embedded in this treatise. These are identified with an asterisk * in the text, which can be clicked to open a pop-up window containing the relevant information. We hope that this will prove a useful feature, and as usual we welcome comments, corrections and additions to the information provided.

We have also added to the site an updated Biographical Outline for Tinctoris, based on Ron Woodley’s earlier entry for New Grove but with new material taking account of the most recent biographical research. A parallel essay on ‘Tinctoris as Theorist’, exploring the writer’s intellectual contribution to fifteenth-century musical thought, will follow in the first half of 2014.

Ron Woodley

Essay on Tinctoris manuscript Valencia 835 published


Today on the Tinctoris project website we have published an essay by Ronald Woodley on ‘The Dating and Provenance of Valencia 835: A Suggested Revision’. This elegant fifteenth-century manuscript from the Neapolitan court is one of the central sources of Tinctoris’s treatises for our new edition, and the new essay is the first of what will become a series of short studies outlining various aspects of the research underpinning our ongoing editorial and historical work.

The essay can be accessed from the ‘Commentary’ drop-down menu from the project home page.

As always, we welcome comments on, and discussion of, any of the suggestions raised by this study.

Ron Woodley

Tinctoris’s treatise De punctis now available


We have just published on the Tinctoris project website the edited Latin text, English translation, and individual source transcriptions of Tinctoris’s treatise De punctis (Scriptum super punctis musicalibus), on the categories and usages of the different types of musical dot used in advanced mensural notation. Before long we will be adding a technical commentary to Tinctoris’s text, explicating the sometimes rather complex musical examples illustrating the author’s text. This commentary material will include transcriptions of the examples into common-practice notation, to aid understanding for those less familiar with the intricacies of Tinctoris’s original notation.

We have also started adding some guidance pages on the use of the site, available under the Help menu {‘Guide to the site’); also, at the top of the Texts menu, you will find new notes on the presentation of the texts, and on the treatise titles. Do let us know if you find any operations that don’t quite work as they should on your system, and we’ll do our best to iron out the problems.

Ron Woodley


The new digital edition of Tinctoris goes online


The project team (Ronald Woodley, Jeffrey J. Dean, David Lewis) are delighted to announce that the web site of the new edition of Tinctoris’s theoretical writings is now open for public use. You are invited to start exploring the edition and learning its capabilities.

At the time of opening, the edition comprises two of Tinctoris’s twelve treatises: De notis et pausis (On notes and rests) and De imperfectione notarum (On the imperfection of notes). For each, a critical edition of the Latin text and a careful English translation are available, together with meticulous transcriptions of each individual source. User-selected options allow a text-critical apparatus or different punctuation systems to be displayed as desired. The site will eventually include a good deal of interpretative material, beginning with an article by Ronald Woodley on “Syncopated imperfection and alteration in Tinctoris’s theoretical writings”. We intend in due course also to provide digital facsimiles of the sources.

We expect to be able to add a finished edition and translation (with source transcriptions) of De punctis (On dots) very soon; a draft edition and translation (and transcriptions) of De inventione et usu musice (On the invention and use of music) will appear before the end of 2013, although it will then take some time to polish these. (One of the advantages of electronic publication is that it is possible to update texts as needed.) In the new year we intend to address De arte contrapuncti (On the art of counterpoint) and other texts.

The team will use this blog to keep users informed of progress on the edition. We intend soon to provide also a user forum, where users can initiate conversations with the project team and with one another; in the short term, we hope users will comment on the blog to let us know their reactions. We want to respond to users’ experience to make the edition and the site as useful as they can possibly be. Tell us what you like and don’t like, features you want to see, which treatises you want to have available soonest, ways you want to use the site that we haven’t yet provided for, you name it. Please follow our Twitter account, @EarlyMusTheory, or subscribe to the RSS feed from the blog, http://earlymusictheory.org/blog/?feed=rss (or rss2, atom, rdf), to stay abreast of future developments.

The edition is funded at present by the Arts & Humanities Research Council UK, and the team is based at Birmingham Conservatoire (Birmingham City University). The project has grown out of the ongoing research of its Principal Investigator, Ronald Woodley, into the life and works of Tinctoris. We hope to secure funding for a follow-on project once the current project is complete.

Ronald Woodley