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Petrus de Cruce

PETRUS DE CRUCE

Composer and theorist, active in Paris at the close of the 13th century (also called Pierre de la Croix). In 1298 King philip iv requested a musical Office for St. Louis from a Petrus de Cruce of Amiens, who was probably the composer-theorist. Two motets, Au renouveler and Aucun one trouvé, are identified as his work by the 14th-century theorist Jacques de Liège. Of the writings ascribed to Petrus, only some excerpts preserved by the theorists Robert de Handlo and John Hanboys and a Tractatus de tonis remain. Even though the conservative De Liège lauded him as a model of the 13th-century ars antiqua, Petrus was in fact a bold innovator. Going beyond the rhythmic novelties of franco of cologne, he increased the number of semibreves subdividing the breve from two or three, to from four to nine, and separated such groups of semibreves from one another by means of a dot of division, the punctus divisionis. By introducing note values (minims) smaller than the officially recognized semibreve, Petrus accorded his music an unparalleled rhythmic freedom. His innovations were transformed by 14th-century composers and theorists into the quatre prolations of the ars nova.

Bibliography: petrus de cruce, Tractatus de tonis, h. coussemaker, Scriptorum de musica medii aevi nova series, 4 v. (Paris 186476) 282292. g. reese, Music in the Renaissance (rev. ed. New York 1959). w. apel, The Notation of Polyphonic Music (4th, rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass. 1949) 318324, 338, 369. petrus de cruce, "Ambianensi Tractatus de tonis." in Corpus scriptorum de musica, vol. 29, d. harbison, ed. (Rome 1976) vixxv. d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge 1996) 688. e. h. sanders, "Petrus de Cruce" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 14, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980) 598599.

[e. r. lerner]

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