minstrel: Re: intervals

erilarlo at win.bright.net erilarlo at win.bright.net
Sat Apr 22 11:18:55 PDT 2000

At 1:06 PM -0400 4/22/0, Paula wrote:
>---- On Sat, 22 Apr 2000, erilarlo at win.bright.net
>(erilarlo at win.bright.net) wrote:
>> A fourth is just an upsidedown fifth. Fifths are good things.
>Thirds and
>> their upsidedown version the sixths should only occur in
>passing because
>> they are not good things. An arpeggio of fifths and octaves
>is one of
>> those
>> things that is going to happen on a harp in the 13th century
>in Germany
>> and
>> probably in France. Thirds begin to appear earlier in English
>> The first interval beyond the octave in use in sacred music
>was the
>> fifth.
>> Secular music of the period is not always different--
>sometimes the same
>> melodies were used by both.
>> I know nothing about dulcimers beyond liking the sound;-)
>> 		Erilar
>Thanks for your response Erilar, its been awhile since I
>studied my Medieval music theory, but I remember that thirds
>and fifths were dissonants.
	No, it's 3rds and 6ths, to say nothing of 2nds and 7ths. Fifths
(and therefore by analogy 4ths, which use the same two notes) were used in
sacred music fairly early, so whether you make your own arrangement or use
a plausibly "authentic" one by someone else, it will use the fifths but not
the thirds.
>Howver, I have no idea when they
>started becoming consonant.
	Earlier in English music and, I have been told, in Scandinavia,
than in German and French music.
> the 14th century is when the
>Musical Renaissance begain, so it could have been then.
	We can't really say for certain. It's a matter of what scores
survive. We don't have much of anything but melodies and literary
references here and there for the early 13th century and before. Once
scores of some sort were written down with the invention of the motet, the
amount of evidence for what was acceptable mounts rapidly.
>for straightening me out.  so what you are saying is that the
>comments about arpeggios being modern and not period is
>incorrect--is that right?

What I'm saying is that an arpeggio with 3rds and 6ths is not period,
because these were considered discords. One running 1-5-8 would be at least
as acceptable as a 1-5-8 drone, which latter is pretty  boring even for a
beginner on a harp or a dulcimer.

I've just been doing some pretty heavy research on the subject to compete
in an A&S Faire with a 13th century German song and documentation and
authenticity of performance is VITAL there. I was also teaching a class on
Minnesang and wanted to be sure of what I said about accompaniment. I have
not been playing the harp all that long, and the arrangement I created was
basically the above arpeggio.

Lady Mechthild zur Drachenhoehle, erilar
Maker of runic inscriptions, literate in the languages of the Eddas and
Minnesaenger, sometime performer of works of the latter, singer,
artificer,incipient harper, illuminator, archer, and Journeywoman of the
Minstrels' Guild of Drachenwald
				device: or, dragon statant contourny,
		 			wings elevated and adorsed,
				and upon a point pointed, sable, a bizant

Erilar's Cave Annex: http://www.win.bright.net/~erilarlo
includes a brief biography of Mechthild as well as an account of my
heavily-medieval February '99 trip to Germany.

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