Marchetus de Padua

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Marchetus de Padua, also Marchus , Marchettus or Marcheto , was an Italian music theorist and possibly a composer of the 14th century. He is the author of the two traditional music treatises Lucidarium in arte musicae planae and Pomerium in arte musicae mensuratae .


Little is known about his biography. There is evidence that a Marchetus became a teacher at the Cathedral of Padua in 1305 and held the office in July 1306. Around the middle of 1307 he donated income from a benefice to the cathedral. The music theorist Johannes Gallicus has consistently polemicized against the music-theoretical views of Marchestus .


Lucidarium in arte musicae planae

This writing was written in the years 1317 and 1318. Literally translated its title means: Explanation of the art of simple music ( Gregorian chant ). A remarkable approach of this work is that Marchetus divides the Pythagorean whole tone (numerical ratio 9: 8) into five parts.

He uses the following names for the four resulting intervals:

designation Relation to the whole tone
This is 1/5
Semitonium Enarmonicum 2/5
Semitonium Diatonicum 3/5
Semitonium Cromaticum 4/5

It should be possible to use semitones of different sizes in different types of music. In the liturgical unanimity, however, only the Semitonium Enarmonicum is used, which corresponds to the usual small semitone.

Pomerium in arte musicae mensuratae

This treatise was written shortly after the first, but at the latest in 1319. The translation of the title means: Orchard of the Art of Mensural Music . In this document a mensurales system is described for the first time in the history, which allows briefs to divide both binary (by 2) and ternary (by 3) in semibreves. Breven can also be divided by multiples of 2 or 3:

  • in the Tempus Perfectum between three and 12 semibreven
  • in the Tempus Imperfectum, on the other hand, between two and eight semibreven

Necks are used to differentiate between different lengths of the semibreven.

In general, when transferring to modern notation, one clock is written per Brevis unit. The division level used is often noted by the first letters in dots. Examples:

  • .q. for Quaternaria (quarter division)
  • .t. for Ternaria (tripartite)
  • .i. for Senaria imperfecta (imperfect six-division)
  • .p. for Senaria perfecta (perfect six-division)

The six-division can be done in two different ways. The Senaria imperfecta assumes a binaria division (division into two) in a first level, while the Senaria perfecta assumes a three division here. In the Senaria Imperfecta, these two semibreves are divided into three minimes each, while in the Senaria perfecta the three semibreves are divided into two minimes each .


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