Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Haiku Wednesday: Early Music Notation Class



Sharpen your quills, folks,
Free music notation class!
A neume-atic drill.

The University of Basel, Switzerland, via, is offering a free early music notation class.  From Ink to Sound: Decoding Musical Manuscripts is a seven-week class that will discuss the evolution of music notation from those curious little squiggles above the words (neumes) to early modern music notation.

If you can read modern music notation, you’re in.  Sign up for a free account at futurelearn and you can start watching the videos, reading the articles, and participating in the discussion forum for the class. The course will also include performances of a number of works from the early music repertoire.

Unlike Coursera, you have to pay to receive your certificate at the end of the class.  However, you may find the ability to craft an ancient manuscript (or to read one) to be sufficient reward.

And they even offer a video on how to cut a quill!  I needed a bit more detail though, so complete quill-making instructions can be found here.  Or you can use a calligraphy pen, if feathers don’t tickle you (or do, for that matter).

Another free course, sort of the next step, From Notation to Performance: Understanding Musical Scores, will be offered later at a date yet to be determined. You can register your interest and receive word when it is scheduled.

Thanks to Early Music America and WOSU for spreading the news about this great new course!  WOSU has also suggested the book Capturing Music by Thomas Forrest Kelly on the same topic.


Image attribution:  Neume [public domain]

6 thoughts on “Haiku Wednesday: Early Music Notation Class


    Early music, no;
    Not while I still need to learn
    These modern key sigs.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cute haiku! This is neat- I’d be curious if anyone picks up on it. It’s a neat study- I spend some happy semesters decyphering notation from a variety of countries and eras; someone with a taste for codes and puzzles would enjoy it. The skinning the lamb part isn’t to my taste, but preparing the lampblack is great fun; then you have to be faster than the goose.



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