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Make your own transcription

During the last few weeks you explored different concepts how to note down music. You discovered how delicate the translation into modern notation is, that expresses certain aspects more precisely whilst others get lost. With the following exercise, we invite you to enjoy all the strategies and deciphering skills that you have acquired during this course. Be proud of them, we do appreciate, how demanding this is!

We invite you to transcribe excerpts of a medieval piece and discuss your problems with your fellow learners.

You can choose the two-voice clausula Latus est (modal notation)

Excerpt of the clausula Latus est Excerpt of the two-voice clausula Latus est from the manuscript Firenze, Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana, Plut. 29.1, fol. 158r. (http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch) (Click to expand)

or the three-voice motet Agmina milicie (Franconian Notation)

Excerpt of the motet Agmina milicie Excerpt of the three-voice motet Agmina milicie from the Codex Bamberg Staatsbibliothek, Lit. 115, f. 4r. (http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch) (Click to expand)

Of course, you are free to make transcriptions of both pieces, if you wish to do so.

In case you don’t have sheets of music at hand you can find an empty sheet of music In the ‘downloads’ section below.

Don’t forget to put an incipit at the beginning of your transcription and establish the range of the voices. In case you find this too difficult, you can take a look at the solution for this crucial first step here.

This is quite a challenging task, so don’t resign to quickly if you are experiencing some difficulties. Instead, we would like to encourage you to go to the ‘comments’ section of this step and ask your fellow learners for some advice. (And, of course, If you manage to solve the task, we kindly invite you to go to the ‘comments’ section and help your fellow learners by sharing your experiences.) If you make an entry, please don’t forget to mention which piece you are referring to!

Finally, you can compare your transcription with the solution that you also find in the ‘downloads’ section below.

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This article is from the free online course:

From Ink to Sound: Decoding Musical Manuscripts

University of Basel