[Smt-talk] Coniuncta

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Tue Nov 1 12:51:35 PDT 2011

There are many references to /coninuncta /in Bermudo (especially 
/Declaracion/, cap. XX), which do reflect the multiple senses of the term:
– tetrachords or hexachords added to the normal system, on the model of 
the /synemmenon/ tetrachord of the Ancients;
– /ficta/ notes resulting from these additions, producing irregular 
– sharp and flat signs denoting the irregular notes delimiting these 

There are also references to the /coniuncta/ in Ramos, at about the same 
time as Tinctoris, and I think these have been misunderstood. Machabey 
states that Ramos has the same definition as Tinctoris, but the truth is 
that Ramos quotes Tinctoris in order to refute his definition (/Semotus 
a vera cognitione Johannes Tinctoris sic ait: Coniuncta est positio / 
/Semotus a vera cognitione Johannes Tinctoris sic ait : Coniuncta est 
positio @aut $in loco irregulari./: for Tinctoris, the /coniuncta/ is a 
/ficta/ note, while for Ramos it is an additional hexachord, producing 
one or more /ficta/ notes.
     It has also been thought that when Ramos said that Spanish keyboard 
instruments had no /coniuncta/ below A, he meant that they had no black 
keys there. My conviction, however, is that what he truly meant is that 
whatever keys would be available below A, they did not belong to the 
hexachordal system.
     There also is an implicit confusion, in Ramos, between /coninuncta 
/(a /ficta/ hexachord) and /coniunctio/, the fact that different notes 
belong to the same hexachord. It seems to me that the comments of Jay 
Rahn in a previous message reflect the same confusion: they concern 
/coniunctio/, not /coniuncta./

A few bibliographical references in French:
– N. Meeùs, "Bartolomeo Ramos de Pareia 
et la tessiture des instruments à clavier entre 1450 et 1550", /Revue 
des Archéologues et Historiens d'Art de Louvain/ V (1972), pp. 148-172.
– P. Otaola, "Les /coniunctae/ dans la théorie musicale au Moyen Âge et 
à la Renaissance (1375-1555)", /Musurgia/ V/1 (1998).


Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 1/11/2011 15:12, Massimiliano Guido a écrit :
> Dear list,
> does anybody know about late (i.e. sixteenth century) occurrences of the term coniuncta in treatises? I'm referring specifically to what Tinctoris defined in Terminorum musicae diffinitorium, as ‘the making of an irregular tone where a semitone should be, or vice versa; the placing of a flat or natural sign in an irregular place; the immediate joining of one note after another.’
> Thanks for help and best wishes!
> Max
> Dr. Massimiliano Guido
> Post Doctoral Fellow
> Music Research Department
> Schulich School of Music
> McGill University
> 555 Sherbrooke St. West
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