A Case for Charpentier
Treatise on Accompaniment and Composition
Published by: Indiana University Press
Who originally authored the anonymous, undated French manuscript Traité d'accompagnement et de composition?
Carla E. Williams tackles this mystery while providing the first English translation of this rare manuscript, which resides in the collections of the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington. A Case for Charpentier presents a side-by-side transcription and translation of the treatise along with an introduction that offers historical context. In the manuscript itself, late 17th-century and early 18th-century writers discuss principal musical elements of composition including major and minor modes, the fundamental chords of both modes, dissonances and consonances, meter, tempo, and continuo realization, as well as basse continue. While these writers have not been formally identified, Williams argues that the handwriting of one is that of composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier. By providing a full physical description of the manuscript, along with comparisons of Charpentier's other writings and his handwriting, Williams sheds new light on both the treatise and Charpentier's theoretical writings.
With this translation, Williams not only shares invaluable insights into the pedagogical approaches for composition and continuo realization in late 17th-century France but also finally makes Traité d'accompagnement et de composition available to a broader audience.
Traité d'accompagnement: Parallel Transcription and Translation
The attribution of a large portion of the manuscript to MarcAntoine Charpentier can only bring this work to the forefront of critical interest internationally for performers and scholars alike. Carla Williams is to be applauded for her achievement.~Dana Marsh
A Case for Charpentier will prove useful to students and scholars wishing to learn more about pedagogical approaches to composition and continuo realization in late 17th-century France as well as those wishing to have a greater understanding of Charpentier's theoretical writings.~Jane Gosine