• Dança 4
The Permanent Seminar of the research group Historical and Cultural Studies in Music of INET-md intends to be a forum where all its members (integrated and collaborators), as well as other invited researchers from the academic, cultural and artistic circles, may present their work and discuss ongoing projects and research.
15-11-2023 | 6 pm | Colégio Almada Negreiros, NOVA FCSH | Room SA - Floor 0
Free access, in person and online:
Zoom Room
Meeting ID: 952 9553 7288
Pass code: 370868
The mensural system: the slow disaggregation (and renewal) of a theoretical framework in tratises from the Iberian Peninsula of the 17th and 18th centuries
Mariana Portas | INET-md
Originated in the late Middle Ages, with the first efforts to codify polyphonic music (mensural chant), the mensural system not only incorporated polyphonic innovations, but it also contributed to them, as it enabled the development of musical notation and its execution in practice. What we today consider as the «mensural system» was a dinamic reality that included both mensural notation (figures, pauses, etc.) and many different mensuration signs, as well as other devices of time regulation, such as diminution, proportion, figure colouring, and the rules for changing figure values.Several reformulations of the mensural system by theorists such as Jean de Murs (1340), Marchetto de Pádua (1325) and Tinctoris (1474), amongst others, led to a stabilyzed system which would last throughout the Modern Age and was transmitted with a remarkable stability and continuity. Mensural notation – such as the 8 figures and pauses – was reproduced throughout the 16th to 18th centuries by many European theorists, including those of the Iberian Peninsula, without significant changes. However, part of the mensurations had long ago ceased to correspond to any effective musical practice, although they were transmitted in theoretical works. On the other hand, new proportions were added before the binary (imperfect) time mensurations, which had become the core of the system. From the latter half of the 17th century, some Iberian treatises revealed what was close to a complete inversion (or subversion) of the hierarchy of classical mensurations; some of those works reflected more openly the changes in current musical practice of their time. This was the case of Andrés Llorente (El Porque de la Musica, 1672), Pablo Nassarre (Escuela Musica, 1724) and Francisco Solano (Novo Tratado, 1779). In the second half of the 18th century, new conceptions of rhythm and metric accentuation emerged, and modern rhythmic notation became the rule, although both systems, old and new, had been mixed of superposed in different works.

Mariana Portas de Freitas
PhD candidate in Musical Sciences - Historical Musicology (NOVA FCSH), researcher at INET-md and member of the Caravelas – Núcleo de Estudos da História da Música Luso-Brasileira (CESEM, NOVA FCSH). She develops her PhD project under the guidance of Rui Vieira Nery. She holds an Advanced Studies Diploma and a Master's Degree in Historical Musicology from the same faculty, as well as a Bacharelor's Degree in Law from Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon. She works at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, where she has gathered experience from projects implemented by the foundation in the field of cultural heritage of Portuguese influence around the world. She was editorial coordinator of several books on musicology published within the series Musicological Studies of the Gulbenkian Foundation, under the direction of Rui Vieira Nery.

"A melhor graça de dizer, e o occulto segredo de agradar": Evidence of performance practice in the treatises of Solano and Pedroso
Pedro Castro | INET-md

This presentation aims to address applications of references to performance practice found in the treatises of Manuel Morais Pedroso (Compendio musico, ou arte abbreviada em que se contém as regras mais necessarias da cantoria, acompanhamento e contraponto, 1751)and Francisco Inácio Solano (Nova instrucção musical, ou theorica pratica da musica rythmica, 1764), contextualizing them with written and performed repertoire in the local musical milieu in the 18th century and also with reference treatises from the rest of Europe. Pedroso's book is a concise and general compendium of music rules and instructions. On the other hand, Solano seeks to present in his publication his “new method” of musical instruction, especially focused on the “solfista”, that is, those who wish to learn or teach music reading using solmization syllables. The aim of this author is to apply this musical reading technique to “modern” repertoire, and for this purpose, he creates an extremely complex system for assigning the six syllables of Guido de Arezzo, elaborating and seeking to underpin it with theoretical foundations that are challenging to understand. Even though it is not the primary objective of these two authors, by compiling the different references from each, it is hoped to demonstrate that they reveal a high level of performance sensitivity, which is almost always consistent with other treatises of the same genre from other music centers.


Pedro Castro | PhD in Music from the University of Aveiro, a Master degree in Musical Arts from the NOVA FCSH, bachelors in recorder and baroque oboe from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He teaches at the Escola Superior de Musica de Lisboa and Escola Superior de Musica e Artes do Espectáculo do Porto. He is the first oboe of the Orquestra Barroca Casa da Música and is the artistic director of the Concerto Campestre ensemble. His activity as an instrumentalist also includes several orchestras and early music ensembles in the main European artistic centers, such as Ludovice Ensemble, Al Ayre Español, Les Talens Lyriques, Le Cercle d’Harmonie, Baltazar Neumann Ensemble, Divino Sospiro, Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla and Forma Antiqva. In 2016 he directed and produced the first world recording of Serenata L'Angelica by João de Sousa Carvalho, released by Naxos. His doctoral investigation was devoted to the Serenata during the reign of queen Maria I and his research interests include political uses of royal patronage in the field of dramatic music (especially through the study of the plots, allegorical content and the characters portrayed in librettos) as well as the performance practices of 17h an18th century music.