1.187 mensural notation

ES: notaciĆ³n mensural, I: ?, F: ?, D: ?, NL: ?, DK: ?, S: ?, FI: mensuraalinuotinnus.

A system of duration notation whose principles were first established in the mid-13th century, and that (with various changes) remained in use until about 1600. As such, it is the basis for the notation of rhythms in Western musical notation.

Franco of Cologne (ca. 1250) is credited with the first systematic explanation of the notation’s principles, so the notation of this earliest period is called ‘Franconian’. Franco’s system made use of three note values – long, breve, and semibreve – each of which was normally equivalent to three of the next lower note value.

Then, in the first half of the 14th century, Philippe de Vitry and Jehan de Murs added several note values (the minim, semiminim and fusa) and extended Franco’s principles to govern the relationship between these values. They also put the duple division of note values on an equal footing with the earlier (preferred) triple division.

TODO: continue description of French and Italian black notation, and the relationship betwixt them.

White or void mensural notation

In the 15th century, hollow (or void) notes began to substitute for the earlier solid black ones, which were then free to assume the function of red (or colored) notes in the earlier notation. ...

TODO: add to definition (including summary info on proportional notation)

See also

augmentation, diminution, ligature, proportion.

Music glossary