Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Nifty Notation

Imagine my surprise today when, while at the library, I opened up a copy of Couperin's Pieces de Clavecin and found this:

(Heeding the copyright violation warning on the published volume, which had some outrageous doodads attached to ties in many of the preludes, I decided not to do any illegal photocopying. Instead, I searched for a public domain image, which appears to be a photograph of the manuscript.)


Eric Edberg said...

Those French and their unmeasured preludes! A good article here. Evidently this notation has been confusing people for over 300 years.

Elaine Fine said...

Thanks for the article Eric. For those people trying to follow the link without a university e-mail connection, it is well worth going to a library to read the article (I got it through Jstor). I love the picture of the cross-eyed d'Anglebert that decorates the article. Perhaps, like the plaintiffs in the movie The Jerk, his condition came as a result of trying to work with this odd notation!