[Letter from Hendrik van der Werf]

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<ul><li><p>[Letter from Hendrik van der Werf]Author(s): Hendrik van der WerfSource: Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Summer, 1989), pp.432-434Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the American Musicological SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/831664 .Accessed: 10/06/2014 16:06</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>University of California Press and American Musicological Society are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize,preserve and extend access to Journal of the American Musicological Society.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 16:06:46 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ucalhttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=amusochttp://www.jstor.org/stable/831664?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>SCOMMUNICATIONS </p><p>To the Editor of the JOURNAL: </p><p>THE ARTICLE BY David G. Hughes, "Evidence for the Traditional View of the Transmission of Gregorian Chant" (this JOURNAL 40 [1987]: 377-404), calls for commentary. Although it was his stated goal to take issue with opinions expressed by Helmut Hucke and Leo Treitler, Hughes's study raises larger questions and must be judged by the general conclusions presented in the Abstract: </p><p>The numerous musical variants in the manuscripts of classical Gregorian chant are mostly trivial, having little effect on the melodies. They are more readily understood as mishearings than as misreadings. . . . The variants taken together show that the chant was fully fixed with respect to pitch before its dissemination throughout the Carolingian empire and beyond, and hence that any period of improvisational or recreative performance must have occurred prior to that time (p. 404). </p><p>The overriding question is whether the above is Hughes's conclusion or his premise. In the course of the article, Hughes illustrates these "trivial" variants in four tables representing excerpts from Introit antiphons as they occur in almost thirty medieval manuscripts. He writes that "some of the examples [in his research] began as amplifications of tables from van der Werf's book." Indeed, the four excerpts in the article occur also in a book of mine that contains multiple versions of 43 complete chants for the Proper of the Mass (The Emergence of Gregorian Chant: A Comparative Study of Ambrosian, Roman, and Gregorian Chant. Vol. i A Study of Modes and Melodies, Part I Discourse, Part 2 Transcriptions, published by the author, I983). Without defining "trivial" and "substantive" variants, I can safely state the following: my publication contains many chants with variants among their Gregorian versions that are far more substantial than the ones found in the tables selected by Hughes. In at least one case (the antiphon "Laetare"), the excerpt selected by Hughes has far less substantial variants than the rest of the antiphon. </p><p>Hughes also writes: "van der Werfs tables use only late sources, and readings from early ones must be added" (p. 38I). In this statement, he not only equates "early" with adiastematic, and "late" with diastematic, but he also substitutes partial consequence for intent. I included early versions in my research and in the Discourse but, since I consider it impossible to ferret precise pitches from adiastematic neumes, I excluded them from my </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 16:06:46 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>COMMUNICATIONS 433 </p><p>Transcriptions. This exclusion concerned not only early sources (i.e. all manuscripts from the ninth and tenth centuries) but also many late ones (e.g., all manuscripts from the abbey of Sankt Gallen). Hughes not only adds adiastematically notated versions to my tables but also omits most of the diastematic ones. The difference between our methods has far-reaching consequences because, as Hughes writes: "later manuscripts are on the whole richer in variants" (p. 400). There is a simple, yet crucial explanation for this situation: "early" sources do not have variants in pitches because they do not have pitches; "late" manuscripts almost invariably have variants in pitches. </p><p>Adiastematic manuscripts play an important, perhaps even a decisive role in Hughes's method. Without explaining how he arrives at them, he gives precise pitches for versions taken from manuscripts that do not have pitches.' A manuscript from Dijon (now in Montpellier) seems to be the pivot in his method. This manuscript is probably the earliest large book with chants for the Proper of the Mass to have precise pitch notation. Judging by their practical editions, now about a century old, the monks of Solesmes consid- ered this manuscript a primary, although not always reliable, witness for the "authentic" chant tradition they were seeking. Hughes seems to continue that approach by implicitly taking for granted that the adiastematic sources and the manuscript from Dijon have the same pitches whenever they have the same neumes. In my research, I did not go that way because the earliest sources with precise pitches unmistakably show that, in a given passage, identical neume-shapes do not necessarily go together with identical pitches. By relying almost exclusively on sources that do not have pitches and, especially, by reading pitches into them in his manner, Hughes was bound to find "mostly trivial" variants. </p><p>My publication contains an annotated list of 19 Introit antiphons for which the Gregorian sources vary in choice of final pitch (Discourse, pp. 98-Ioo). Several of these chants, including one with three different finals, are given in multiple versions (Transcriptions, nos. I, 26, 29, 3o, and 3 i). Most of these variants had already been discussed by other scholars, most notably Urbanus Bomm (1929) and Michel Huglo (i97i), </p><p>who take early tonaries and adiastematically notated antiphonaries into consideration. Yet David Hughes does not mention the fact that there are conflicting modal assignments within the Gregorian repertory. </p><p>Considering his rather wide-ranging conclusion, it is unfortunate that Hughes only shows variants for Introit antiphons, for this is probably the most uniformly transmitted liturgical genre. Although the first volume of The Emergence of Gregorian Chant was to be primarily A Study of Modes and Melodies, I included tables for two Offertory chants (nos. 39-40). Their Gregorian versions vary from one another in a curious way: entire phrases vary in pitch level from one manuscript to another. These variants suggest that it was customary to shift individual passages of Offertory chants up or down by </p><p>Kenneth Levy's hypothesis that the first neumed Gradual was compiled before the year 8oo has considerable merit ("Charlemagne's Archetype of Gregorian Chant," this JOURNAL 40 (1987): 1-3o). But by transcribing adiastematically transmitted melodies with precise pitches he comes to conclusions that seem to be contradicted by the variants found among manuscripts presumably copied from the lost archetype. </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 16:06:46 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>434 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY </p><p>almost any interval. Obviously, such variants cannot be seen in adiastemat- ically notated sources, but they occur in great quantity in all manuscripts that give precise pitches and include Offertory chants in their entirety. My research on this genre is not yet finished but I can safely say that, among chants for the Proper of the Mass, this type of variant is typical for Offertories and rare for Introit antiphons. It is difficult to believe that the custom of varying pitch levels arose exactly when scribes began notating precise pitches. Whatever may have been the reason for this treatment, we cannot ignore it when discussing the transmission of Gregorian chant. </p><p>In the above quotation from Hughes's abstract, one may well by puzzled by the sentence that melodic variants "are more readily understood as mishearings than as misreadings." Although Hughes accepts an oral rather than a written transmission of Gregorian chant, the prefix "mis-" clearly implies that, by their nature, variants are errors. The last is at odds with almost everything that historians, as well as literary and musical scholars, have been writing for decades about oral tradition. Even if one disagrees with some of the specific points made by these scholars, including the author of these lines, one can no longer equate variant with mishearing without discussing in some detail why certain readings are correct and other ones erroneous. </p><p>All in all, Hughes has given highly questionable "evidence for the traditional view of the transmission of Gregorian Chant." To what extent the opinions of Hucke and Treitler are correct depends in part on their definition of "Gregorian" chant (it is my impression that, unlike Hughes, they go well beyond the Proper of the Mass and the Office; they certainly go beyond Introit antiphons). More importantly, arguing in detail for or against the articles by Treitler and Hucke seems somewhat premature because, thus far, they have failed to substantiate their statements with multiple versions of representative melodies. Interestingly, Hughes bypasses the transmission of Gregorian chant as perceived by the author of this letter. Instead, in reference to my synoptic tables of multiple versions, he writes: "van der Werf was interested in promulgating his theory of chant emergence" (p. 381). This remark seems to imply that I intentionally advanced a preconceived theory. Did I really fail to convey that my conclusions and hypotheses were the consequence of, not the excuse for, a research project involving hundreds of chants in a few hundred manuscripts? I provided evidence in the form of complete chants with real pitches. These chants were chosen so as to represent the Introit antiphons as fairly as possible. In respect to the "improvisational or recreative performance," these variants reveal that, once the Gregorian repertory had taken shape, and once each antiphon had been assigned to a mode, "the unconscious development of the melodies must have slowed down considerably. And when it became general practice to write the melodies down, and to learn them from a book, it probably was halted altogether. This, however, may not have come about until well after the turn of the millennium" (Discourse, p. 162). </p><p>HENDRIK VAN DER WERF </p><p>University of Rochester, New York </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 16:06:46 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p>Article Contentsp. [432]p. 433p. 434</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsJournal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Summer, 1989), pp. 229-460Front MatterThe Prosodic Appoggiatura in the Music of Mozart and His Contemporaries [pp. 229-274]The Bifocal Close and the Evolution of the Viennese Classical Style [pp. 275-337]Beethoven's Unfinished Piano Concerto: A Case of Double Vision? [pp. 338-374]ReviewsReview: The Power of Positivist Thinking [pp. 375-402]Review: untitled [pp. 403-410]Review: untitled [pp. 410-417]Review: untitled [pp. 418-431]</p><p>Communications[Letter from Hendrik van der Werf] [pp. 432-434][Letter from David G. Hughes] [pp. 435-437][Letter from Rob C. Wegman] [pp. 437-443][Letter from Richard Taruskin] [pp. 443-452][Letter from Patrick Macey] [pp. 452-453][Letter from Christian Meyer] [pp. 453-454][Letter from David Crawford and James Borders] [p. 454]</p><p>Publications Received [pp. 455-460]Back Matter</p></li></ul>


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