Tinctoris website: major upgrade with facsimiles and new text

We are pleased to announce that our Tinctoris site has now been expanded to include a substantial amount of new material, as part of our continuing process of improvement and evolution.

We are particularly pleased that we are at last able to offer users facsimile images from all the major Tinctoris manuscripts used to produce our source transcriptions and edited texts on the site, that is, Valencia 835, Bologna 2573, Brussels II 4147 Mus., and Ghent 70. (We hope to have permission to present facsimiles of the sources of De inventione et usu musice later this year.) These images can be viewed alongside each source transcription by selecting the ‘Show facsimile’ option within the Settings (cog-wheel) menu in the transcription’s title bar. Once this option has been selected, hovering over the transcribed text will make the associated image from that manuscript appear. Moving the cursor up or down through the text will cause the facsimile to scroll in a co-ordinated manner. Facsimile images are presented in a scrolling format rather than as full pages so as to comply with the terms of the permissions to reproduce them. The image files involved are fairly large, and users may experience odd visual artefacts as they load, though the images should stabilize fairly quickly, depending on your internet connection speed. If you have persistent trouble with this, or if you discover any errors in our source transcriptions when comparing with the original manuscript texts, or if you have any other comments to help us further improve the site, please let us know.

We are extremely grateful to the libraries concerned for giving us permission to reproduce these images on our site under specific terms and conditions. Users should not copy or download the images for other purposes.

We are also pleased to announce that Book I of Tinctoris’s Liber de arte contrapuncti is now available on the site. Scholars and students of fifteenth-century music will be aware of the especial importance of this extensive treatise, and we will be working hard to complete Books II and III as soon as possible. (Book I is almost as extensive as everything we had put up before; Book II is even longer, though Book III is much briefer.) Tinctoris’s smaller treatises De regulari valore notarum and De alteratione are also in active preparation, and should be available later in the summer of 2015; this will complete the series of Tinctoris’s instruction on mensural notation.

Finally, it might be worthwhile reminding users of our site that, when you have, for instance, an edited text and translation on your screen in parallel panes, you can align the two texts (if, say, you have scrolled up or down through one of the panes) by Alt/Option-double-clicking on any line. This useful facility is signalled in our Help pages, but it may still not be widely known about.

We hope that you continue to find this resource of interest and usefulness for your work in this area of music history.

With best wishes,

Ron Woodley, Jeff Dean, and David Lewis

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