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Jan Ciglbauer: Reconstructing Rhythm in Central European songs with chant notations

 

The tradition of Latin song in Central European sources from the 14th and 15th centuries gives an impression that rhythm was indicated only if it was necessary. As a consequence, many sources contain only traces of rhythmical contents which stimulates questions of rhythm of single songs at every stage of their tradition. It is not always possible to look at later sources of the same composition. In many cases, the fashion to compose songs with rhythmically contrasting sections can help to channel the reconstruction efforts. In my contribution, I would like to concentrate on selected examples and try to pinpoint cases where we can expect a rhythmical pattern, where it is less likely, and whether we can expect the same rhythm at the beginning and the end of the tradition.