Recent Research

Tamesis readers might be interested in some recent research culled from the pages of various early music journals over the last few months.

Gesualdo explained
It seems that the reason for the extremely dissonant nature of some of Gesualdo's madrigals is that, being a duke, he sometime found it necessary to communicate in secret. This he did by assigning a letter to notes on the stave of a piece of 'music'. Unfortunately he was careless in assigning the letters so that, for example, 'e' happened to come out as D#, with unfortunate consequences for the harmony.

Anon identified
A police report reveals that they now believe that Anon is a pseudonym used by more than one composer, so the bigamy charges can be dropped, but Trad is still under investigation.

A Gabrieli outed
It had long been thought that Andrea Gabrieli was Giovanni's uncle but DNA samples now reveal that she was his gay aunt as many people had always suspected.

Instrumental toys
A medieval catalogue of children's toys confirms that the rebec was just a cut-down fiddle for use by a child, and the sopranino recorder was originally made without a windway, thus being a silent plaything.

Original instrumentation
Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Flight of the bumblebee' is now believed to have been originally composed for the kazoo. However, the theory that this piece was originally entitled 'Fight of the bumblebee' has now been discounted.

Hemiolas
A fascinating paper on the hemiola trade routes in the Middle East in the fifteenth century explains how they were taken by boat from Venice and then by camel to be exchanged for glissandi and appoggiaturas in Baghdad.

For the sources of these stories see www.tvemf.org/April

D. Arrowsmith

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