Book VIII. Wondrous Music-Making.

Problem II.


Of bringing to life1animandi. a given theme in measures according to its distinct limbs or syllables.

There is another method according to the distinct limbs of a period, or, if you wish, according to a collection of columns adapted to the metrical feet of a period. Having prepared the phonotactic palimpsest and divided the spaces according to the syllables of the given theme, you will begin to order the columns in this way: Since the given theme is Veni Creator Spiritus & the first word of this theme, Veni, is bisyllabic, set out the column of bisyllables. And since the second word, Creator, is trisyllabic with a long penult, take the column of trisyllables with long penults from the first tablet and place it next to the column of bisyllables. And since the last word, Spiritus, is trisyllabic with a short penult, you will take from the second tablet the column of trisyllables with short penults & you will place it in order next to the preceding column and you will then have three columns ordered according to the three feet of the verse.

Note here, however, that it is not always necessary to take whole words as individual feet; instead, you can add to one word one, two or however many syllables you want from the word immediately following. You can also join two words into one and it can be regarded as one different polysyllabic word. This matter is, again, variable in almost infinite ways. But in order that these things be understood better, it seemed appropriate to place here an example so that by this you may understand what we have in mind for the rest.

1 | Veni Creator Spiritus |
2 Veni | Creator | Spiritus
3 Veni | Creator Spiritus
4 Veni Creator | Spiritus
5 Veni Cre|ator | Spiritus
6 Veni Cre|ator Spiritus |
7 Veni | Creator Spi|ritus.

Here is a scheme for the variation of the theme with respect to its [metrical] feet. The first is by way of an octosyllable as it had been shown in the preceding example. The second is by way of three feet. The third has two feet of which the first is a bisyllable, namely, Veni, and the other is a hectasyllable, namely, Creator Spiritus, treated in the manner of a single word. The fourth has at the beginning a pentasyllabic foot & at the end a trisyllable with a short penult. The fifth uses broken and sectioned words and has at the beginning a trisyllabic foot1The Latin has an additional word which appears to be the nonsensical metriam and concerning which I cannot make heads nor tails., namely, Veni Cre|, then a bisyllable, ator and thirdly the trisyllablic Spiritus. The sixth is made from two syllables extracted from the second word which, when joined2adiungit read as adiungitur. to the first makes a tetrasyllabic foot; the remaining tetrasyllable is tor Spiritus. And the seventh, in order for the middle word to be a tetrasyllable, borrows a syllable from the last word.

You see, then, how variations occur by reason of the diversity of feet which can be considered in the given theme. And having seen these variations, let us now return to the intended example.

Let the intended theme be, as it was above, Veni Creator Spiritus. Join the columns of the individual feet as was said. Having done this, arrange these columns in any manner, provided that Musarithm always lines-up with Musarithm, and it will necessarily be the case that new harmony will always emerge. For example, consider the three columns set out a little bit earlier:3See the first paragraph of this section. for the proposed composition let us take the first three tablets in the columns of Musarithms,4This sentence doesn't make sense for several reasons. Most importantly, as is clear from text and the schema below, Kircher has taken musarithms from the first two tablets. to which the following schema corresponds.

Bisyl. Trisyl.long Trisyl.short
23 678 223
78 876 778
55 421 555
51 456 551

Having done this, place the phonotactic palimpsest before yourself together with the column of keys for the sixth tone, as had been applied previously. Observe the numbers 23678223 which are for the Canto; in the column of keys these correspond to the letters: τῷ5The Greek definite article, dative case. That is, it is the Greek word for to the. Kircher enjoys using Greek especially when it serves no purpose whatsoever. 2,G; 3,A; 6,D; 7,E; 5,C; 4,B, & you will find that 2 corresponds to G, 3,A [sic]. Having marked points on the pentagram for the Canto.6The syntax of this sentence is non-functional. There is likely a missing phrase that got lost during printing. Look to which letters the numbers7numerus hosce read as numeri hicce. 78876778 correspond in the column of keys & you will find that 7 corresponds to τῷ E, 8 to τῷ F, 7 to τῷ E, 6 to τῷ D & lastly 7 to τῷ E. Mark then points on the pentagram of the Alto in the spaces assigned to these leters and you will have the locations of the notes. Proceed no differently in transferring the musarithms of the Tenor & Bass to their proper pentagrams. Having done this, add the notes at the foot of the columns which correspond to the individual feet; from the 12 [sequences of metrometric notes] apply them to the individual words however you wish and you will have a completed harmony. But an example will teach you better than I can show even with many words.

Col. of Tone VI.     Example of the Operation.
Key Tone Exemplum Operationis
F 8 3
E 7
D 6 8
C 5 7
B 4 6
A 3 5
G 2 4
F 1.8 3

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