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High and low: solving the task

Were you able to note down the shape of the melody using the four neumes? Let’s have a look at the solution.

modern notation of Greensleeves with corresponding neumes below

The first sign – a tractulus – gives the starting note. The second sign – a virga – indicates that the voice will raise up compared to the first note. But we cannot learn from it which interval we have to sing. The next neume is again a virga, so the voice will raise again. Then the next sign – a pes – indicates the raising of two connected notes. Finally the sign on the word ‘off’ is a clivis. This sign indicates a descending interval.

How was your experience scribbling down your first melody with neumes? Please let us know in the ‘comments’ section below.

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This article is from the free online course:

From Ink to Sound: Decoding Musical Manuscripts

University of Basel