GAFURIUS, Franchinus (1451-1522). Practica musicae. Brescia: Angelus Britannicus, 23 September 1497.
Chancery 2o (252 x 179 mm). Collation: [*4]; a b8; 2a-2k8 2l6. 112 leaves, including last blank. Gothic type 10:180 (title), roman 2:102 (text), shoulder notes, small woodcut initial capitals, capital spaces at the start of each book. 38 lines, single column. Full-page woodcut of the diapason after Pythagorus and Guido d'Arezzo (a2v), extensive woodcut diagrams of notational symbols (notes, rests, ligatures), woodcut music examples on five-line staves. (A few shoulder notes or diagrams very slightly shaved, especially at 2a2v and 2a3r.)
Late nineteenth-century gilt-paneled calf, edges gilt (joints cracked, corners rubbed).
Provenance: Early signature on title inked out; contemporary marginalia in a few places, bottom margins of last two leaves with a lengthy untexted musical example neatly penned in ink; purchased from Emil Offenbacher, 1947.
A close reprint, employing the same carefully cut series of woodblocks, of the edition of La Signerre (Milan 1496); these two constitute the only 15th century editions. Gafurius, choir master at the cathedral of Milan, wrote important treatises on music theory and, in the present work, details the practice of music including all aspects of vocal music, chant, polyphony, proportion and the rules of counterpoint. In addition to the standard classical authorities (Boethius, Aristotle, Pythagorus), Gafurius cites later music theorists including Guido d'Arezzo and Johannes Tinctoris. In a brief discussion of the use of dissonance (2d2v), he names several important contemporary composers including John Dunstable, Gilles Binchois and Guillaume Dufay. BMC VII, 979 (IB.31159a.), Goff G-7; GW 10435; HC 7408; IGI 4113; Klebs 431.2; Oates 2626; Pell 4950; RISM, Ecrits, p. 343; Sander 2984; Walsh 3417 (imperfect). Rare: no copy has been listed in ABPC since at least 1950.