Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherinilogocs

Research in Musicology

in production

Vol. 4 - Giorgio Antoniotto. L’Arte Armonica or a Treatise on the Composition of Musick

Facsimile of the edition J. Johnson 1760, with an Introduction by Deborah Burton, Turnhout, Brepols, 2017 (Musical Treatises, 4) approx. 200 p., 179 colour ill., 210 x 270 mm, 2017 ISBN: 978-2-503-57463-9.

Although Giorgio Antoniotto may not be known to many scholars today, he was not anonymous in his own time. A noble Italian living in London when he published his treatise in English, his subscribers included Avison, Burney, Arne, Hawkins and his friend, a certain "Dr. Johnson". This facsimile edition of the 1760 treatise brings the fascinating work to the public eye. In addition to filling a lacuna in the history of Italian music theory, Antoniotto’s treatise shows surprising emphases on Rameau’s fundamental bass, and on stacked thirds — beyond sevenths and ninths to thirteenths and even fifteenths. Further, the musical illustrations include several grids that are close relatives of the Tonnetz (associated with the late 19th-century theorists Oettingen and Riemann, and usually credited to Euler). In one such example, Antoniotto’s grid shows horizontal and vertical arrangements of perfect fifths and perfect fourths, with one diagonal as a whole-tone scale. After an introduction that summarizes musical development from the Greek system on, the treatise is divided into three books: the first discusses the general and natural systems, and the natural (major) and artificial (minor) scales. The second derives progressions from movements of the fundamental bass; the third covers figured bass, inversions, fugues, imitations, canons, cadences, accents (including expressivity of text), vocal types, expressive markings, recitatives and the genres of instrumental and mixed ensembles, the sacred, theatrical, and chamber music. Corelli’s Violin Sonata, opus 5/1 is used for demonstrations.

Deborah Burton is Associate Professor of Music at Boston Univeristy, and has taught at Harvard University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Florida International University, Fordham, University of Michigan and Adrian College. Her research concerns opera analysis, counterpoint, and the history of theory. Her recent monograph "Recondite Harmony: Essays on Puccini's Opera" was published by Pendragon Press in 2012.


Vol. 3 - Beverly Jerold, The Complexities of Early Instrumentation: Winds and Brass, Turnhout, Brepols, 2015

Turnhout, Brepols, 2015 (Musical Treatises, 3), pp. xiv+160, ISBN 978-2-503-56479-1

When a professional orchestra today plays an eighteenth-century work with parts for wind and brass instruments, nothing seems amiss. Yet writers in the eighteenth century and beyond indicate that many notes in these scores could not be played in tune by these instruments; certain notes could be produced only with difficulty or not at all.  The present work concentrates on the time period least explored in modern writings — the years before Hector Berlioz’s Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes (1843) — and traces the development of instrumentation instruction for composers from its beginnings in the late eighteenth century, after the era of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. An introductory chapter includes background information on subjects related to the discussion: intonation, tuning, key action, the lack of a standard pitch level, and the difficulty of reed making. While earlier manuals supply little but the range of instruments, Valentin Roeser’s Essai d’instruction à l’usage de ceux qui composent pour la clarinette et le cor (1764) offers composers concrete assistance in writing for the clarinet and horn. Louis-Joseph Francoeur’s Diapason général de tous les instrumens à vent (1772) provides the same for all the winds and brass, as does Othon Vandenbroeck’s Traité général de tous les instrumens à vent à l’usage des compositeurs (c.1793). Their information forms the nucleus of this book. Subsequent chapters add details from instrumentation manuals, method books, and articles extending into the twentieth century. Also explored are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s re-orchestrations of works by Handel and C. P. E. Bach, and why they were necessary. Before modern times, the limitations of the wind and brass instruments had to be taken into account when writing for them. Most composers, however, played keyboard or violin — which permitted much greater fluency — so they wrote for the winds and brass as for their own instrument. Consequently, these parts could not be executed adequately, and players were blamed for the poor results. The manuals address this problem by citing and illustrating passages that are difficult or unplayable on each instrument, notes on which ornaments are difficult or impossible, notes that cannot be played in tune, and so forth. Moreover, instruments within any one genre varied widely in intonation, pitch, and mechanical reliability. In contrast, today’s instruments are made to exacting standards, so that tuning a large ensemble is routine instead of burdensome. This book is not a history of instrumentation per se, but an account of technological progress and ever-increasing knowledge. In their advice to composers, writers tell the story of the long struggle to obtain the instruments that we take for granted. 


Vol. 2 - The «Compendium Musicæ» of René Descartes: Early English Responses

edited by Benjamin Wardhaugh, Turnhout, Brepols, 2013 (Musical Treatises, 2), pp. xlii+252, ISBN: 978-2-503-54898-2.

René Descartes’s Compendium musicæ was one of the most widely-read texts on the mathematics of music in the second half of the seventeenth century, offering a succinct and lucid summary of its subject. It was translated into English, French and Dutch before the end of the century — though its idiosyncratic geometrical approach to music drew criticism as well as praise — and its sophisticated mathematical thinking attracted a number of later scholars to explore its ideas further in print or manuscript. This volume presents for the first time a critical edition of the English translation of the Compendium, published in 1653 by the natural philosopher Walter Charleton. Also included are the unpublished manuscript treatises written by Nicolaus Mercator and Isaac Newton developing similar ideas to those in the Compendium, and the printed remarks of William Brouncker which appeared with Charleton's translation. This rich collection of texts, most of them appearing in critical editions for the first time, provides a unique view of the early reception of Descartes’s musical treatise in England.




Vol. 1 - Vincenzo Manfredini, Regole armoniche

edited by Massimiliano Sala, facsimile of the 1775 Venice edition, with an annotated English translation by Robert Zappulla, Turnhout, Brepols, 2013 (Musical Treatises, 1), pp. xvi+216+116 (unnumbered tables), ISBN: 978-2-503-54883-8.

A composer of, amongst other things, operas, ballets, symphonies, string quartets and harpsichord sonatas, Vincenzo Manfredini eventually turned to writing about music. His Regole armoniche is an important source of information on eighteenth-century performing practices. In this work he summarizes all of the rules surrounding accompaniment illustrating them with written-out realizations. He is, quite possibly, the only Italian author of an accompaniment treatise to take this approach. His comments on singing sparked controversial exchanges between the Italian castrato Giovanni Battista Mancini and Esteban de Arteaga. The volume aims to investigate the genesis and the role of Regole armoniche in the light of theoretical concepts and debates within eighteenth-century musical spheres. The volume is divided into three parts: firstly,  an opening collection of critical essays (by Gregory Barnett,  Jean Grundy Fanelli, Rudolf Rasch and Peter Walls) concerning Manfredini’s life, his output and his intellectual inclinations; secondly, a facsimile edition and finally, an annotated edition whose translation into English is long overdue.




Vol. 5 - The School of Porpora: Vocal Exercises from Domenico Corri as Taught by Isaac Nathan

edited by Graham Pont and Anthony Rainer

Isaac Nathan (1792-1864) was the last significant male pupil of Domenico Corri (1746-1825), who was in turn one of the last pupils of the great Nicola Porpora (1686-1768). Nathan was apprenticed to his Italian master from c.1808-1812 and made such rapid progress that he soon became Corri's assistant teacher. Within six years of leaving Corri's school Nathan had these Exercises engraved and printed in royal quarto. They were advertised in 1819 but did not appear until he published his Essay on the History and Theory of Music (London, 1823). Never before reprinted they have eluded nearly all historians of vocal culture.
This new edition is presented in the belief that these Exercises preserve the vocal methods taught by Domencio Corri whose success and fame as a singing master of the Italo-British school were founded on his studies with Porpora. Nathan's Exercises supplement the teachings of Corri in The Singer's Preceptor (1810) but offer a more complete course for the preparation of the professional virtuoso, ending with the rare enharmonic scale. They are a unique technical record of the Porpora method, as taught by Corri and Nathan, as well as including some of the earliest observations on Jewish chant printed in England (Nathan's father was an Ashkenazi chazzan).
The edition presents a facsimile reprint of 70+ engraved pages of vocal exercises, introduced with an historical survey of the Italo-British school of singing and the emergence of its pedagogical literature from the early seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth – developments of worldwide significance that are generally unrecognized in the musicological literature. Nathan's Exercises are compared in detail with the solfeggi and vocalizzi of contemporary teachers (both native and foreign) working mainly in London. The volume includes an outline of Nathan's life and works in England and Australia, some Italian and English arias ornamented by him (from rare Australian sources), a dictionary of technical terms and the first systematic bibliography of the Italo-British vocal methods to c.1850.