This one goes out to all the scholars and historians.

I'm trying to put together a little booklet, for my students, to explain the accidental markings (sharp, flat etc) and where they come from. My research has led me into some fascinating areas, where I've learned about "B molle", "B durum", the B - A - C - H progression and so on.

Whilst I was happily flitting around the internet, reading more and more about the history of these signs, I came upon a beautiful quote (which I'm 90% sure I saw on Wikipedia but I couldn't actually swear to that), and I thought, "That quote is beautiful. It describes perfectly the harshness of the B-natural in the hexachord of F, and clearly gives the reason why the B had to be flattened when singing in that hexachord. I'll definitely include that quote in my booklet."

Anyway... guess what. I didn't bookmark the page, and I've lost it. I've lost the page and I've lost that beautiful quote. I could kick myself; in fact, I have done.

I've tried re-tracing my steps through my browsing history; nope, nothing coming up - I'm just going round in circles coming back to the same websites again and again, none of which are revealing this lovely quote to me.

There's one thing I can clearly remember about the quote; the author described the 'B durum' in the F hexachord as being "harshe". (And yes, I've Googled that spelling of the word; not a lot of any use comes up). The quote was along the lines of "B durum must surely be avoided in the F hexachord; it sounds but harshe and unrepentante", or something along those lines. I thought it might be attributed to Denis Lewts or Guido D'Arezzo, but I can't find anything through Google searches on those two guys.

I'm pretty sure it was on Wikipedia, but I'm perfectly prepared to be wrong about that. And I've searched for "harshe" on Wikipedia but nothing presents itself. It's annoying to me that I stumbled across this lovely quote so easily when I was doing my initial research, but now I want to find it again it's hidden and obscured and I can't get back to it. I'm beginning to think I dreamt it!

I'll be bookmarking every single page of even trivial interest to me hereon. My lesson has been well and truly learnt!

I'm just asking if anyone can help me in re-tracing this quote. Does it ring any bells? Were you the person that typed it up for inclusion on the internet?

Can anyone help? Please?

  • 1
    I don't suppose it's Dr Burney's quote here books.google.co.uk/… -? – topo Reinstate Monica May 30 '18 at 23:22
  • 1
    @topo morto Thanks ever so much for that! I don't think that is the precise quote I was looking for but it's a very good one and gives me more Googles to follow up. If I can't find the actual quote I was looking for that one may well serve as a substitute. And there's also further interesting information on those pages for me to read! Thank you! – gordonliv May 31 '18 at 11:12
  • it is possible that the entry was edited on wikipedia from "harshe" to "harsh". There are many editors that regularly go through entries and clean them up as well as bots. – b3ko May 31 '18 at 13:37
  • You might google "diabolus in musica" and "square b" and "round b" for some interesting historical background on the history of accidentals. – BobRodes Jun 3 '18 at 19:59
  • @BobRodes Yes, thanks for that. I have indeed done what you suggested; the history of these signs is fascinating - I'm planning another booklet right now on "diabolus in musica". According to Wikipedia, the notion that the failure of a composer to resolve the augmented fourth to the sixth (or major third, depending on which way up you are) results in that composer being excommunicated and therefore condemned to eternity in Hell... is completely fanciful! Still, it does make for some interesting history. – gordonliv Jun 4 '18 at 22:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.