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Exercise on the Torculus

August 23, 2011


Here is an exercise I made for the schola on the neume called the torculus: Exercise I: mode 1: The Torculus


The exercise above is meant to familiarize the user with this particular neume as well as intervals most commonly encountered in mode 1.  Thus it centers around the more stable notes re, fa, la, and do.  (In mode 1, re is the final; la is the dominant.)


The name torculus comes from the Latin “torquere” = to twist (perhaps related to “torcular” = winepress?).  By definition, the torculus is a neume of three notes, with the middle one higher than the others.  Below are some examples in modern chant notation; the squiggle is how the torculus was depicted in the older, staffless notation.   It shows how to move the hand when conducting the notes, but not the actual pitches involved. 


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