chapter  5
46 Pages

English Music Theory and the International Traditions

This chapter proposes to bring us precisely to one of the conceptual areas where court culture is at best an incidental element: the theorization of music in practice and speculation, and the written remnants indicating common ideas and applications of the theoretical systems. The foreign authorship of various treatises serves to underline the manner in which the writings of the fourteenth century and earlier were by this point an established and international corpus in England. The first means of establishing a basis for discussing the theoretical framework known to English musicians is to determine which writings and treatises were copied into English sources, whether newly written or not, and whether by native or foreign authors. The teaching of derivation of intervals and consonances, traditionally an element of both practical and speculative theory, continues to hold a place in the fifteenth-century collections.