[Fratris Michaelis] Dialogus de Musica. New Edition and Russian Translation with Commentary by Sergey Lebedev


At the beginning of the 11th century in the Northern Italy an anonymous monk has written a “Dialogue on Music” (incipit: “Quid est musica?”) which exerted a notable influence on Guido of Arezzo. Earlier it has been attributed to Odo of Cluny, at present it is usually referred to the first “Pseudo-Odo”. The author of “Dialogue” is labeled here Michael Frater (as opposed to the second “Pseudo-Odo”, author of the untitled text with the incipit “Musicae artis disciplina”). Michael expounds division of monochord, letter octave notation (with octave-identical pitch classes and Gamma, maybe for the first time), “consonantiae” (6 emmelic intervals plus octave). The most important part of the “Dialogue” is the modal doctrine of plainchant. Current publication (in 2 parts; see the 1st in No. 1/2021) includes the new edition of the (Latin) original, based on 11 manuscripts of the 11th and 12th centuries, and the Russian translation, with Apparatus criticus, extensive comments and numerable music examples.


1. [Petrus Frater.] n.d. 2019. “Ars musicae.” Edited, translated into Russian, and commented by Sergey N. Lebedev. Nauchnyy vestnik Moskovskoy konservatorii / Journal of Moscow Conservatory 10, no. 2 (June): 24–73. (In Russian).

2. Lebedev, Sergey N. 2019. “The Two Unknowns and the Great Guido.” Nauchnyy vestnik Moskovskoy konservatorii / Journal of Moscow Conservatory 10, no. 2 (June): 9–23. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.26176/mosconsv.2019.37.2.001.

3. De Nardo, Lucia Ludovica. 2007. Il “Dialogus de musica”. Udine: Forum.

4. Huglo, Michel. 1971. “Der Prolog des Odo zugeschriebenen ‘Dialogus de Musica’.” Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 28, no. 2: 134–46. https://doi.org/10.2307/930150.

5. Bernhard, Michael. 1995–2016. Lexicon musicum Latinum medii aevi, 19. Faszikel. München: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

6. Liber usualis. 1961. Tournai; New York: Desclée.

7. Gerbert, Martin, ed. 1784. Scriptores ecclesiastici de musica sacra potissimum, vol. I. St. Blasien: Typis San Blasianis.

8. Meyer, Christian, and Shin Nishimagi. 2011. Tractatuli excerpta et fragmenta de musica s. XI et XII. Turnhout: Brepols.