17th century South African music

• Nov 4, 2021 - 00:09

Found my answers in The Notation of Polyphonic Music 900-1600 https://archive.org/details/notationofpolyph00apel/page/94/mode/2up

Sent to Distributed Proofreaders postprocessor:

"The beginning flags are rests written on bar lines. The drums are five bars long. The voices are four bars long.

The second symbol in the drums is two whole notes written on a bar line. Because diamonds are always stacked, The side arrows indicate the bottom note is too high. This is a symbol for a dual drum roll.

The third symbol in both systems indicates a coincidence of various parts. In this case, both parts are each a bar long; another dual drum roll and a measure long vocal on one note.

The black diamonds are half the value of the white diamonds. Because the parts were written separately, the drums were converted to eighth notes in the voice and drums MP3 to be heard together correctly.

You'll have to use the original images in the book. I haven't found a way to recreate them in MuseScore.

I made MP3s for drums alone, voice alone, and one of voice and drums together.

Thanks, everyone. <3

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In reply to by jeetee

A couple of ancient text wizards at Distributed Proofreaders asked if I was sure about my results. I reviewed and revised them again, but I'm not SURE of anything. If there is anyone around who can help with 17th century mensural notation, I'd really appreciate it. <3

This is my latest revision:

The first symbols are staff notations. The upper one is F; I used our current F bass clef. The lower one is G. Because the text said the voices were singing beneath the drums, I believe the voices are lower male voices rather than higher female voices in our current G treble clef. I added an 8va bassa to lower the voices to a tenor range.

Bar lines between notes may be optional.

The next notes on the drum line are stacked white notes with an arrow indication the bottom note is too high. The white notes indicate both drums are being played together in drum rolls. It's the only way to attain the white note duration.

After that is a symbol indicating both drums and voices are to play together. I couldn't find a symbol with the cross in the middle. My best guess this was notation made in the field and not reviewed by a musicologist before publication.

The white notes are twice the value of the black notes. To play the drums and voices together, the drums were converted to eighth notes.

My source was The notation of polyphonic music, 900-1600 https://archive.org/details/notationofpolyph00apel/page/n5/mode/2up

Again, if there are any Merlins around to help decipher this ancient notation, I would truly appreciate it. <3

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