olin Coleman Music

Id 27606
Category antiquarian book
Author / Composer NIGER, Franciscus (1452-after 1523)
Title Brevis grammatica. [Edited by Joannes Lucilius Santritter].
Place [Venetiis]
Publisher Theodorus Herbipolensis
Publication Date [21. Marts 1480]
ISBN / Plate No.
Size 8vo. 242 ff. (lacking first three leaves, leaf ten and the final leaf).
Description Eighteenth-century calf backstrip (worn and mostly covered), nineteenth-century leather corners (worn), boards detached and previously affixed with various embossed cloth tapes; eighteenth-century end-papers, one with an ownership signature of James Jones dated 1843. Some marginal water-stains to lower outer corners of opening leaves and margins of final leaves; some slight wormholes to opening leave (one as far as about folio 80). Lacking opening three leaves comprising two leaves of dedicatory epistle and first leaf of text; lacking final leaf of text (being one page of the text) including the colophon: "Santritter helbronna genitus de gente joannes Lucilius prompsit grammata docta nigri. Herbipolis satus socio sudore lacunis Hoc venetis francus fert Theodorus opus" which has been supplied in later manuscript. Without pagination or catchwords; the original opening page was preceded by a dedicatory epistle of two leaves. Niger's Grammatica contains the first appearance of a "musical idea" in a printed book: "It occurs in that section of the grammar which deals with the rhythms of five metres used by various Latin poets, and shows how the verses were chanted in schools. This passage is doubly important as containing the earliest known printing both of secular music and of mensural notes. There is little doubt that the notes were printed from type and not, as some authorities believe, from a metal block. The staves were to be added by hand. In the second edition of the same work (Basle, c. 1485) the same notes are printed from a wood-block, which is thus the first used for secular music" (Alec Hyatt King, Four Hundred Years of Music Printing, p.11). "Italian theorist and humanist. His studies at Venice and Padua were encyclopedic and naturally included music. He is primarily known for his grammatical treatise Brevis grammatica (Venice, 1480 and later editions), which includes five monophonic musical settings appropriate for different Latin metres: hexameters (‘heroica gravis’ and ‘heroica bellica’), elegiacs, sapphics and a remaining category called ‘lyrica’. Printed without staves, these are the first examples of printed mensural notation, as well as the first humanistic odes" (Grove Music Online).
Reference First edition. RISM B/VI/2 p.618. Bartlett p.83. Hirsch I.431. Hain *11858. Proctor 4498. Panzer III, p.157, no.452. A Guide to the Exhibition in the King’s Library, illustrating the history of printing, music-printing and bookbinding (1913), p.105.
Price £6000.00

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