Gerbert, Martin - De Cantu et Musica Sacra a Prima Ecclesiae AetateClick Image to ZoomEnlarge Image

Gerbert, Martin (1720-1793)

De Cantu et Musica Sacra a Prima Ecclesiae Aetate usque ad Praesens Tempus. Tomus I; Tomus II.

St' Blasien, 1774. first edition. Quarto. Vol. I: 590 pp.; Vol. II: 409 pp. At back of Vol. II: Index, 35 folding plates, and 112 pp. of music. Vol. I with full-page frontispiece engraving of Pope Gregory. Contemporary full mottled calf. Raised bands with gilt title and tooling at spine. Red marbled end-papers and red edges. A desirable set in what is almost certainly an original binding. Internally both volumes very clean and crisp. Spines quite chipped with detaching or fully detached headbands. Boards scuffed (especially front of Vol. II) and front board detaching. Some corners bumped.
These important volumes anticipate modern musicological research by presenting the histories of various types of sacred music in chronological order. Gerbert discusses music for the Mass and Office, hymns, psalms, and national chant traditions.

The second volume of De cantu et musica sacra was nearly lost forever when a fire destroyed Gerbert's library in 1768. Fortunately, the noted pedagogue Padre Martini, with whom Gerbert initially intended to collaborate on the project, already had copies of Gerbert's notes from which the volume could be published in full.

German theologian and historian Martin Gerbert traveled extensively throughout the 1750s and 1760s, consulting with archivists at medieval libraries to produce some of the earliest histories of sacred music. Owing to the breadth and rigor of his research, scholars today figure him among the founders of modern Musicology.
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