In American music a Semibreve is called a "whole note". Here it states that the name "whole note" comes from a German expression (ganze Note):
In the world of music, you may encounter different names for the many notes used. The U.S. and U.K. standard terms differ, but the U.S. names — which were originally translated from the German names for the notes because so many German composers immigrated to the United States in the 19th century — are more universally standard. The U.K. names are also used in medieval music and in some classical circles
It causes some logical problems in time signatures other than 4/4.
a) => Is it a German invention that a Semibreve is taken as a reference value and called "whole note"? Who is the inventor of this terminology?
b) => Why did they not map a "Crotchet" to a "whole note" and used the alternative notation 4/1, 3/1 instead of 4/4, 3/4?
I asked the questions in some AI tool and still could not find satisfying answers. The AI did not provide a specific person or year, where the term "Viertelnote" (or "ganze Note") originated from. It could also not answer why a "Semibreve" has been considered/mapped to be a "whole".
Alternatively, I could also map a "Crotchet" to be a "whole". That alternative notation would have probably caused less confusion with other signatures (4/4 => 4/1, 3/4 => 3/1). Or do I have a logical error here?
A guess of mine was, that the "Viertelnote" might be related to a specific instrument ("quarter turn of a handle", "quarter length of a string and its typical decay length") or to the length of a heart beat etc. If so, until know I could not find a reference for it.
At least the AI gave some hints on sources that might contain more information:
"A History of Western Music" by J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V. Palisca: This comprehensive textbook covers various aspects of Western music history, including the evolution of music notation.
"The Notation of Western Music: An Introduction" by Richard Rastall: This book provides an overview of music notation history, discussing the development of notation systems and terminology.
"The Oxford Companion to Music" edited by Alison Latham: This reference book covers a wide range of topics in music, including music notation and its historical context.
Academic journals and articles: Research articles in musicology and music history journals often delve into specific topics related to notation and terminology. JSTOR and other academic databases can be valuable resources for accessing scholarly articles on the subject.
What are some old books using the term "ganze Note"?
"Gradus ad Parnassum" by Johann Joseph Fux (1725) - This influential music treatise uses the term "ganze Note" in discussing the value and duration of notes.
"Versuch einer Anleitung zur Composition" by Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1771) - Kirnberger, a student of Johann Sebastian Bach, uses the term "ganze Note" in his treatise on composition.
"Musikalisches Lexicon" by Johann Gottfried Walther (1732) - This lexicon of musical terms and concepts includes explanations of different note values, including the "ganze Note."
These are just a few examples, and there are likely many more historical music books that reference the term "ganze Note" and its usage in music notation.