THE ARS MUSICAE OF JOHANNES DE GROCHEIO: THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS AND A GLIMPSE OF MEDIEVAL CULTURE, TRADITIONS, AND THINKING
Johannes de Grocheio's Ars Musicae (ca. 1300) is an enigmatic treatise. He attempts to delineate all contemporaneous music practiced in and around Paris. The treatise is the earliest to include a formal discussion of secular music, in addition to composed and liturgical, in a systematic and pedagogical fashion. Moreover, addressing sociological functions of specific forms and genres is unique for his time. However, Grocheio's discussions of musical forms, genres, and conventional theoretical issues are frequently ambiguous. This study attempts to address the ambiguity. The liturgical portion has suffered much neglect as scholars have directed their attention to Grocheio's discussion of secular music. However, nearly one-third of Grocheio's treatise is devoted to liturgical music. Hence, this study explores the content, approach, and value of Grocheio's discussion of liturgical music. This information must be evaluated if holistic clarity regarding Ars Musicae is desired. Furthermore, this study provides new interpretations of the more familiar topics encountered in Grocheio research. I proceed by first summarizing and frequently reinterpreting the basic contents of the treatise and authorial background. This constitutes the first two chapters. The heart of the study investigates some ambiguous and previously unaddressed issues of terminology and concept: mode, measuring, the motet, and numeric systems. Though I pursue this goal throughout, the latter task constitutes Chapter 3 in its entirety. If one reads Grocheio's way of thinking, character, and work as a collective text, enlightened ideas surface regarding value embodied in academic interaction of late medieval Parisian culture. Grocheio's work reflects human intellect applied to the domain of music. Because of its approach, it presents a rare opportunity to have a glimpse of a distant and deceptively foreign past, a divide frequently underestimated. The diversity and complexity now thought to be characteristic of the Middle Ages is clearly embodied here. As I explore these matters, I hope a modified view of Grocheio will emerge. I seek greater clarity regarding contemporaneous terminological and ideological issues related to late medieval music. Answers to these questions should not only be a beneficial addition to Grocheio research, but also advantageous to medieval research overall.
School:University of Cincinnati
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:motet mode secular music medieval treatises summae
Date of Publication:01/01/2001