Sethus Calvisius’ Melopoeia (1592) is modestly presented by the author as a brief textbook of musical — mainly polyphonic — composition. In fact, the Melopoeia with its 21 chapters and extensive Prologue is a monument of 16th-century German culture set up by a Renaissance humanist for whom history, classical philology, mathematics, rhetoric, and other sciences were as much components of musica poetica as they were ‘mere precepts’ for composing music. This publication includes a complete edition of the original text of the Melopoeia and its translation into Russian, with modern transcriptions of more than 150 original illustrations. The edition is introduced by the article Melopoeia by Sethus Calvisius in the History of Musicology by Sergey N. Lebedev and Arina M. Saltykova, which presents a systematic overview of the scholar and didactic matters in the treatise, describes the author’s background and features of his style, identifies the main advantages and shortcomings of his doctrine.
Edited by Sergey N. Lebedev,
translated with commentaries by Sergey N. Lebedev and Arina M. Saltykova
The authors express their sincere gratitude to Vyacheslav G. Tsypin (Doctor Habil., Fine Arts) — for consulting them on Calvisius’ Greek lexis, especially in the context of Ancient music theory; Aleksey Yu. Zubov (Ph.D., Mathematics) — for explanations of Calvisius’ “musical” mathematics; Nina A. Almazova (Associate Professor at the Department of Philology, St. Petersburg State University) — for help in interpretation of several obscurities in the Latin text.
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