Re: Square and lozenge notes -- Musical Notation 3.1 -- Mensural notation

From: Patrick Andries (
Date: Wed Mar 07 2001 - 08:05:10 EST

----- Message d'origine -----
De : "Lukas Pietsch" <>

> Patrick Andries enquired:
> > 2) U+1D1C0 seems to have an incorrect names (e.g. "fusa black"). This is
> > character (SEMIBREVIS BLACK + STEM + FLAG-2)
> > I believe, this is black SEMI-FUSA. [snip]
> > I believe the confusion may stem from the fact that some symbols have
> > change names and values through time (see below). Unicode seems to have
> > aligned itself on the pre-1420 names (the smaller set of symbols) and
> have
> > extrapolated from it the names of the black notes that appeared only
> after 1420.
> No, I think the Unicode terminology is correct. The name "fusa black" has
> not been extrapolated anachronistically. It was indeed used like this
> pre-1420 (although the dictionary table you quote doesn't show it.)

OK. If this "fusa black" is indeed attested, I stand corrected.

May I add that I believe this is not the most common name : I did check
this in three different small music dictionaries (and many Web pages) and
they all show that this note appeared late (post-1420) and give it its
post-1420 name : "semi-fusa". Could it be that Unicode has adopted a rare
name for this character and that this could confuse modern users (they are
quite a few pages on the Web concercing this topic) ?

> The
> Unicode terminology is consistent in so far as all white notes are given
> post-1420 names, and all black notes are given pre-1420 names,
> notwithstanding the fact that these black notes were also used with
> *different* names and values post-1420.

Which I believe is confusing (see your table below).
All notes could have been given post-1420 names given the fact that the
white notes appear only after 1420...

> semibr. = white head (=1d1b9 "semibrevis white")*
> minima = white head + stem (=1d1bb "minima white")**
> semimin.= white head + stem + flag1 (=1d1bd "semiminima white"), or:
> black head + stem (=1d1bc "minima black")***
> fusa = white head + stem + flag2 (=1d1bf "fusa white"), or:
> black head + stem + flag1 (=1d1be "semiminima black")****
> semifusa= black head + stem + flag2 (=1d1c0 "fusa black")*****

Found this original illustration
in Compendiolum musicae pro incipientibus, 1594.

> You can see that the Unicode terminology is consistent with all of the
> pre-1420 symbols, and at least with one of the two sets of post-1420
> symbols. (Even if that is not the set of symbols that eventually came to
> dominate.)


Thank you, Lukas.


P.S. Incidentally, do your sources also show consistently the nominal form
of the MAXIMA and LONGA with stems pointing downwards contrarily to the
Unicode reference glyph ?

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:21:20 EDT