The owl & the lyre

Learn Medieval musical notation online with Claudia Caffagni, and have a say in what you’ll learn about!

Please note that the course has been postponed so there’s still a chance to join in!

Have you seen medieval musical manuscripts and wished you’d be able to dechiffer them; to use them in your singing and playing? Or do you already, but wish to learn more?

Now is your chance to learn, or learn more, of the musical notation in the second half of the 13th century – a time when a number of developments in the notation of music took place – from an experienced musician and teacher; Claudia Caffagni; lute player, singer, and more in the medieval music ensemble laReverdie, and teacher of medieval music notation and medieval music ensemble playing at the master program in medieval music at Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado in Milano.

There will be the possibility for the participants to have a say in what’s to be included in the course in a meeting beforehand.

Some things you may get to learn of in the course are Pre-Franconian notation and Franconian notation with the reading of the treatise Ars cantus mensurabilis by Franco of Cologne ( Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodley 842 (S.C. 2575), ff. 49r-59v), and to read from such sources as the Bamberg codex (Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, MS Lit. 115 (olim Ed.IV.6)), and the Montpellier codex (Montpellier, Faculté de Médicine MS H196), and possibly other parallel sources.

Prerequirements: The ability to read modern musical notation.

The course will be held on Zoom over four two hour sessions. There will be a meeting about a month before the course starts so that Claudia Caffagni may tailor the course to fit the participants. Then the dates and times of the course will be decided as well.

You will need a way to transcribe music eventually. Claudia recommends Finale for those who are used to it, otherwise there is Musescore, which is free to download (, and if you prefer to transcribe by hand and scan or photograph your transcriptions that is of course also possible.

The cost of the course is 2250 SEK.

The number of participants is restricted to 10.

Please send an email to if you’re interested in joining the course, and write what it is that interests you specifically about medieval notation, if you have any previous knowledge of it, and a bit about that knowledge if so.

The picture shows a page of a facsimile of the Montpellier codex,  Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire Médecine de Montpellier. Public Domain, and a picture of Claudia Caffagni playing the medieval lute.

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