Neume

Neumes were a form of muscial notation used specifically for plainsong/chant also "a prolonged phrase or group of notes sung to a single syllable, esp. at the end of a melody" (OED).

The St Gall neumes are some of the best examples that we have today and these have been the subject of quite intense acdemic scrutiny since the first facsimile was published at the beginning of the 20th century.

Neumes were placed above the lines of text and indicated the pitch that each syllable should be sung at. Eugene Cardine, the leading scholar of the St Gall notation found 24 signs in total. The basic signs are:

(Based on the Optical Neume Recognition Project's neume page.)

The Swiss 'Codices Electronici Sangallenses' has many clear and detailed images of the St Gall neumes.

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