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Online course

From Ink to Sound: Decoding Musical Manuscripts

Travel through the history of musical notation and learn how to decode medieval music manuscripts

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

From Ink to Sound: Decoding Musical Manuscripts

Upgrade - $59
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Broaden your understanding of musical notation in the past few centuries

Music is all around us: we listen to it while we are on our way to work, when preparing lunch or even while showering. Most people know that music has its own script – the notation. But seldom are they aware of the long tradition of this notation system.

In this course, we’ll travel back in time and explore musical notations from the Middle Ages. We will show you how to decode and transcribe early notational systems. And we will discuss the challenges and principles of music notation, referring to semiotic approaches and visual theory.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsWhat happens to music when we write it down?

Skip to 0 minutes and 17 secondsHow did the way we note music evolve through history?

Skip to 0 minutes and 23 secondsAre notes just another scripture?

Skip to 0 minutes and 28 secondsIf you would like to discuss these questions--

Skip to 0 minutes and 34 seconds--and learn how to read ancient music notation from the Middle Ages.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 secondsIf you would like to discover a piece that might have been sung for the first time in 700 years, especially for this course--

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds--and understand what a ligature is, a brevis, or a longa, and how to look at ancient music with fresh eyes.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 secondsJoin our course, "From Ink to Sound: Decoding Musical Manuscripts." Coming soon.

What topics will you cover?

  • Music manuscripts and notations and their evolution through history.
  • Decoding and transcription of early notational systems.
  • The challenges and principles of music notation, referring to semiotic approaches and visual theory.
  • Different strategies of music visualization.
  • Analysis of ancient music performances provided by musicians of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explore medieval music manuscripts and learn how to read them.
  • Reflect on the relation between music and music notation.
  • Develop an understanding of how to decode and transcribe early notational systems.
  • Investigate in recordings of ancient music performances.
  • Debate the evolution of music notation through history.
  • Discuss the challenges and principles of music notation, referring to semiotic approaches and visual theory.
  • Compare different strategies of music visualization.
  • Improve your understanding of today’s music through the music of earlier times.

Who is the course for?

This course is intended for professional and nonprofessional musicians interested in musical paleography and its history, as well as undergraduate students of musicology, historians, philologists, theologians, art historians and semioticians. The only requirement is that you know how to read modern musical notation.

What software or tools do you need?

There are no software tools needed but we encourage you to use a feather quill to enjoy the original feeling of writing down music. If you have no quill at hand, you can try building your own or buy one at a stationery stop. A quill, however, is not necessary to follow the course.

What do people say about this course?

Brilliant course and definitely one of the ones that has sustained my interest throughout.

A previous learner on this course.

Who will you learn with?

Professor Matteo Nanni

I am professor of musicology at the University of Gießen (Germany). One of my main research fields is medieval and early modern music with a particular focus on history of musical notation.

Angelika Moths

Playing harpsichord.
Singing Gregorian Chant.
Teaching paleography and music theory.
Historical informed performance.
Arabian and medieval music.

Who developed the course?

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $59 (+ shipping) you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

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  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose to take a course for free.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

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  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.

Upgrade


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