Tinctoris, Johannes

views updated


Renaissance theorist; b. Nivelles or Poperinghe, Flanders, c. 1435; d. Nivelles, Flanders, 1511. Tinctoris studied at the University of Louvain and at his death was a canon in the church of Nivelles; he was learned in mathematics, theology, and law as well as in music. He tutored Beatrice of Aragon, daughter of Don Ferrante (King Ferdinand I) of Naples and dedicated to her his celebrated dictionary, Terminorum musicae diffinitorium (c. 1474). This was followed by 11 more treatises written during his next 12 years (147486) at the Neapolitan court. His works on notation, modes, counterpoint, proportions, and instruments constitute a summa of early Renaissance music. In the Liber de natura et proprietate tonorum (1474) he proposes that modes in polyphony are best determined from the tenor voice. The Liber de arte contrapuncti (1477) treats of consonance and dissonance in polyphony, and formulates eight general rules for good counterpoint. His progressive attitude is clear from the preface, in which he states that no polyphony older than 40 years is worthy of attention and credits the English, chiefly John dunstable, for this new art. The few Masses, motets, and chansons he left are less significant than his theoretical writings.

Bibliography: Opera omnia, ed. f. feldmann (Corpus mensurabilis musicae, ed. American Institute of Musicology, 18; 1960); Tractatus de musica, h. coussemaker, Scriptorum de musica medii aevi nova series, 4 v. (Paris 186476) 4:1200; Dictionary of Musical Terms, tr. c. parrish (New York 1964); Proportionale musices, o. strunk, ed., Source Readings in Music History (New York 1950) 193196; Liber de arte contrapuncti, ibid. 197199. g. reese, Music in the Renaissance (rev. ed. New York 1959) 137150. h. hÜschen, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949). a. cŒurdevey, "Contrepoint et structure contrapuntique de Tinctoris à Zarlino," Analyse Musicale 31 (1993), 4052. h. hÜschen, "Johanne Tinctoris" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 18, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980) 837840. d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge 1996) 918. a. seay, ed., Johannis Tinctoris Opera theoretica (Rome: "Corpus scriptorum de musica, vol. 22" American Institute of Musicology, 19751978). r. woodley, "The Proportionate Musices of Johannes Tinctoris: A Critical Edition, Translation and Study" (Ph.D. diss. Keble College, Oxford University, 1983); "The Printing and Scope of Tinctoris's Fragmentary Treatise De inventione et vsv mvsice, " Early Music History 5 (1985), 25968.

[e. r. lerner]