ECMania: Pérotin

[ECM New Series 1385]

Pérotin (sec. XII-XIII) a facut parte din École de Notre-Dame, care a influentat prin reprezentantii sai (multi ramasi necunoscuti) tot ce se putea influenta la nivel muzical, social, spiritual si filosofic la acea ora in Europa. Insa nu despre aceasta scoala in particular as dori sa scriu, ci despre relatia dintre polifonia liturgica, printre ai carei fondatori se afla si Pérotin, si ratiunea umana.

In articolul lui Catherine Oickstock, dedicat muzicii, din volumul Radical Orthodoxy, se afla un fragmentel foarte interesant referitor la relatia abia mentionata. Legatura dintre De Muzica a lui Augustin, Scotus Eriugena si Magister Leoninus – predecesorul lui Pérotin – devine evidenta:

N.B. Click pe imagine.

In 2005 Anna Maria Berger publica o carte numita Medieval music and the art of memory. Pérotin este mentionat de mai multe ori in volumul amintit, in relatie cu École de Notre-Dame:

Additional support for my hypothesis that much of the Notre Dame repertory was sung from memory, comes from the philosophical writings of the period. For Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus trained memory becomes part of prudence, a moral necessity. Support for my hypothesis that much of the Notre Dame repertoire was transmitted orally can also be found in Craig Wright’s recent book Music and Ceremony at Notre Dame, 500-1500.

The written page would just function as a mnemonic aid for recalling both the general outline and details. In this case it is 297 not necessarily relevant whether the performers imagined the written page or actually saw it. If they had memorized the piece once with the help of the written page, they would always use it as a mnemonic device when singing by heart. In fact, the original notation brings out the modal patterns and the division into ordines in a much more convincing way than modern notation. With or without the page, the singers would categorize the piece with respect to modal patterns and ordines.

In trying to establish how oral transmission of a repertoire as complex as Notre Dame polyphony could have been achieved, I have found that modal theory shares a number of characteristics with mnemotechnics. We have seen that modal rhythm and didactic quantitative poetry rely on the same method for memorizing the material: repetitive patterns of longae and breves. The use of divisio is another trait which made its way from ars memorativa treatises to Notre Dame polyphony. Writing was necessary to preserve the repertory, to make it available in distant places, and to help the memory in the process of performance. And yet, modal notation was so ambiguous that it could do no more than trigger the memory of how the piece was supposed to be performed.

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