The Early History Of Sheet Music In Western Civilization


Victor Epand

Sheet music, sometimes called “score,” is the hand-written or printed form of musical notation, or the system that represents aurally perceived music via the use of written symbols. The history of musical notation, and therefore of sheet music, is a long one. There are those who hold that the earliest sheet music known is a fragment of a cuneiform tablet from Nippur, an ancient Babylonian city, and dates from approximately 2000 BCE. While this music was written on a clay tablet rather than paper, it still constitutes sheet music because the term “sheet” merely differentiates music on paper from audio presentation. So although the tablet’s notations are fragmentary and somewhat simple, it is probably safe to say that they represent the earliest recorded melodies in the world.

Anyone familiar with ancient Greek civilization will not be surprised to learn that the sheet music of those people was relatively complex. Ancient Greek musical notation was capable of representing pitch, note duration and, to a limited extent, harmony. It consisted of symbols placed above text syllables and was in use from at least the 6th century BCE until approximately the 4th century CE, a date that coincides with the fall of the Roman Empire.

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Sheet music, like Europe as a whole, suffered a major blow when Rome fell. The art of writing music all but vanished during the times that followed, which are commonly referred to as the Dark Ages. However, by the middle of the 9th century, musical notation began to revive thanks to the Roman Catholic Church. The Gregorian chant was a ubiquitous form of worship in those days, and the monks performing it developed specific symbols, neumes, in order to record it on paper.

It is to another style of religious song of this period, the plainchant, that we owe our modern form of sheet music. The original system of writing plainchant did not utilize a staff. Although capable of expressing considerable musical complexity, such a system could not convey exact pitch or time. Sheet music from this genre served mainly as a reminder to a performer already familiar with the tune rather than a means by which a novice might learn a new song. To deal with the problem of exact pitch, a staff was introduced, originally consisting of a single horizontal line but eventually comprised of four parallel horizontal lines, which became the standard. The vertical position of a mark on the staff indicated the pitch at which it was to be sung or played. Anyone who looks at music from this period will easily recognize the roots of modern sheet music.

From the late Dark Ages until the 15th century, western sheet music was written by hand and generally preserved in large, bound volumes of manuscripts. The best known examples of such manuscripts are those of the previously mentioned plainchant, which is a form of monophonic chant. The advent of the printing press in the middle of the 15th century, of course, irrevocably changed how sheet music was created. However, it took several hundred years for printed sheet music to become the norm, and much music continued to exist solely in hand-written manuscripts until well into the 18th century.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Comply or Die, the racehorse who won the 2008 Grand National has died at the age of 17. His death was announced by his former trainer, David Pipe. He died over at the weekend in Gloucestershire, where he had been staying with jockey Timmy Murphy. He was cremated on Monday and his ashes will return to Murphy.

Murphy was the jockey in the saddle when Comply or Die won the 2008 Grand National. Speaking to the Press Association, he spoke about the horse’s death. He said, “He was part of the furniture at home so it’s very sad. He gave me the greatest day of my career, obviously that can never be taken away. He paraded at Cheltenham and Aintree and was getting ready to do some dressage in the summer. I’m not actually sure how he died, to be honest, but it wasn’t nice to come home to. He was cremated on Monday. He was a happy horse and he was also very clever.”

During his racing career he made £798,809 in prize-money after winning a total of eight races.

The 2008 Grand National victory was his greatest achievement and he almost matched it when he came second place in 2009. He retired in 2011 but remained active, often being paraded at race grounds such as Aintree and Cheltenham. He also participated in some hunting activities. Pipe said, “Since his retirement he had been a lead-horse at Timmy Murphy’s establishment before trying his hand at dressage, a discipline in which he had proven very successful”.

Tributes have been paid to Comply or Die on social media by horse racing fans with several tweeting their appreciation and memories.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The hunt for alleged kidney harvester, Dr. Amit Kumar, has led investigators to Brampton, a city in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) of Ontario, Canada.

Indian investigators allege that Kumar is the kingpin of a ring that removed kidneys of poor laborers in India for transplantation to the highest bidding patients, usually foreigners. After a request by Indian police via an Interpol “red notice”, Canadian police located a house in Brampton owned by Kumar, who has been dubbed “Dr. Horror” by the Indian press.

The house is occupied by a woman, presumed to be his wife, and two young children. Kumar purchased the 5,600 sq ft (~510 ) home on February 2, 2007 for C$610,000. Reportedly, additional upgrades were performed at the home, including an in-ground pool, at a cost of C$100,000. The family drives an expensive SUV. The children, two boys aged 4 and 5, are said to be enrolled at private schools.

Dr. Kumar, a nephrologist, born Santosh Rameshwar Raut, was known to his neighbors. He told them that he was a cardiovascular surgeon in India, but that he wanted to buy a hotel in Canada and, after one last trip to India to tie up loose ends, permanently relocate to Canada.

“We are completely shocked,” a neighbor told the Toronto Star. “We used to joke at parties that he must be loaded to get such a beautiful wife, but nothing prepared us for this.” Another neighbor told the paper, “It’s very unusual for someone to come here from India and buy a big house like this and a Lexus. Doctors in India just don’t make that kind of money.”

Meanwhile, investigators are no closer to Amit Kumar, than they were a few days ago. It is widely believed that he is trying to flee India for Canada via Nepal, a country for which he is alleged to have a passport.

Police in Mumbai, however, believe he is still in India. “He is very much in India,” commissioner Rakesh Maria said on Tuesday. “We suspect he will never leave.”

“He will stay in India — it won’t be easy to conduct his illegal activities anywhere else,” he said. “In a country like Canada, it would almost be impossible to find [kidney] donors in large numbers.”

They think they can buy the kidney for peanuts. That’s why the likes of [Amit Kumar] can prosper.

However, after a request by the Haryana state government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will soon take lead in the investigation.

“We haven’t yet received a final word to start investigations,” CBI Director Vijay Shankar said. “We will begin working on the case as per legal process.” Thus far, police in Gurgoan, Moradabad, Mumbai and Rajasthan have been investigating the case separately.

The case has called attention to medical tourism, the practice of traveling abroad for health care at more affordable rates. Kumar is alleged to have charged US$50,000 for a kidney transplant. The donors are said to have been paid the equivalent of US$1,200. Even so, the donors, according to widespread reports and testimonials, may not have realized what they were getting into when they went with a stranger for a well-paying job.

The Toronto Star interviewed a medical tourism travel agent, who operates openly. Aruna Thurairajan, who runs Overseas Medical Services in Calgary, Alberta, says that she frequently gets calls from patients in need of a kidney. Thurairajan refuses to give referrals for transplants because it “gives medical tourism a bad rap.”

“Money is a big factor for people to decide where to go. Often they want to bargain how much to pay the vendor [organ donor]. Some of them can be quite selfish and mean. They think they can buy the kidney for peanuts. That’s why the likes of [Amit Kumar] can prosper. So the patient should also be blamed along with him, because the patient bargains down the price,” said Thurairajan.

But the victims of this illegal trade are not exclusively the poor day laborers but sometimes the clients themselves, according to a report by Hindustan Times. The investigation cited a driver for a close associate of Amit Kumar and claims that at least three foreigners died on Dr. Kumar’s operating table. He was able to name three Turkish nationals who all died in India between 2003 and 2005, officially from cardiac arrest. The driver, Harpal, says that the bodies were brought to a hospital in Ballabgarh, Faridabad, where the local authorities colluded with the doctors to list the cause of death as heart failure.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

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Police CRB Checks- Enhanced Disclosure System


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The police CRB check has become a life tine of the United Kingdom for the process of keeping the criminals at bay from the society. The enhanced disclosure service is soon planned to spread to all the sectors of the society. Right now it covers up the section of kids and vulnerable adults. The police CRB checks work along with the VBS checks and the ISA checks. The VBS stands for Vetting & Barring schemes and the ISA checks stand for the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Together these three bodies work to filter out the criminals from the society and keep them safe and secure.

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Enhanced disclosure system and its details The enhanced disclosure system can be collectively referred to the process of making police check and filtering out the criminals from the society. The whole process includes collective efforts with three bodies namely CRB check, ISA check and the VBS check. The Criminal Records Bureau or CRB is the parent body. Under this comes two other bodies namely ISA and VBS. These two bodies work together to successfully carry on the filtering out process of the criminals from the society. The work of the VBS body is to collect the applications from the various small and big organizations and the private bodies. The VBS body then hands over the applications to the ISA body. This ISA body now takes out the criminal records of the applicant through all the possible criminal records maintained by the government of the UK. Now the function of the CRB is to match out these records and issue the police CRB check certificates to those who have clean records. Even a single criminal record will bar the person from the certificate forever. How to apply for the VBS checks? One is not eligible to file an application directly to the government body for enhanced disclosure police CRB checks procedure. Private agencies are working effectively, who will collect the applications from you either in bulk or individually and submit the applications to the government body on your behalf. Later these private agencies collect back the certificates from the government body on your behalf and post the certificates to you. They may charge a nominal service charge for this. provides

Enhanced Disclosure

, CRB checks and ISA checking services at competitive prices. We also provide

VBS Checks

and ISA registration via the Vetting & Barring Scheme (VBS).

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006

In Britain one of the most important watercolours to be put up for sale in half a century has been snapped up for £5.8 million at Christie’s (actual selling price: £5,832,000 including excess).

In “The Blue Rigi: Lake of Lucerne, Sunrise” the telephone bidder bought a softly glowing yellow sunrise in which JMW Turner trapped a moment of cause and effect – gun, dog and the flight of ducks.

“In a technique of almost unimaginable subtlety Turner expresses his lifelong preoccupation with the effects of light, shade and atmosphere,” said Noel Annesley, honorary chairman of Christie’s, who personally took the gavel for the auction.

The painting has two sister paintings also from Switzerland: The Red Rigi and The Dark Rigi. “Turner had never made any drawings like this before and never made any like them again,” said John Ruskin, the 19th century art critic, when he saw the works.

In 1842 the painting was bought by its first owner Elhanan Bicknell for 80 guineas and was in the property of its latest owners since 1942. The auction house has said they plan to keep the identity of the newest buyer, who paid slightly more than 80 guineas, secret.

In 2000 Rosetti‘s Pandora was the last most expensive watercolour ever sold in Britain – it went for £2.6m, less than half the price of The Blue Rigi.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

The US economy added 173,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. The unemployment rate fell from 5.3 to 5.1 percent, the lowest since April 2008.

Although August job gains were lower than most economists forecast, job growth numbers for June and July were revised upwards by a combined 44,000. Average job gains over the past three months stand at 221,000, compared to March-May’s 189,000 monthly average. Over the past twelve months, job growth has averaged 247,000 per month.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent, or 8 cents, marking the largest increase in earnings in seven months. Hourly earnings had risen by 6 cents in July. Wages have risen by 2.2 percent over the past year.

Job growth in August was primarily concentrated in the health care and social assistance, financial activities, and professional and business services sectors. Those three areas of the economy added a combined 108,000 jobs. Food service and drinking places employment increased by 26,000 over the month, and other economic sectors saw employment hold steady. Manufacturing, on the other hand, saw employment decline by 17,000 in August. A stronger dollar and worldwide economic weakness make US exports less desirable, leading to a flattening in manufacturing employment so far this year after steadily rising in the early years of the US economic recovery.

The solid overall job gains led analysts to slightly raise expectations for a decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month. Investors raised the likelihood of a September rate increase from 26 percent before the jobs report to 30 percent, and stocks dropped by over one percent on Friday. “The payrolls data is certainly good enough to allow for a Fed rate hike in September,” said Deutsche Bank’s head of currency strategy, Alan Ruskin. “The big question is still whether financial market volatility will scupper the plans.”

“This is the first time the market has looked at a Fed meeting and really has no idea what the Fed is going to do,” said Mark Kepner, a New Jersey equity trader with Themis Trading. “Right now you’re looking at the overall uncertainty and that’s what’s hanging on the market. I don’t think this number in and of itself changes how somebody’s going to vote.”

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What is Sciatica?

Sciaticais a common type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve extending from the lower back through hips, buttocks and down each leg. It typically affects only one leg at a time. It occurs commonly when there is any herniated vertebral disc, any bone spur on the vertebral column or there is the narrowing of the spine.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched usually by the herniated disc or bone spur on the vertebral column. In rare cases, it is seen that the nerve is compressed because of tumors or in diseases like diabetes it is seen more commonly.

There are certain risk factors for sciatica as follows-

  • Age – Age-related issues as a herniated spine or bone spur are the most common causes.
  • Obesity –Excess body weight can contribute to the stress on the spine which can trigger sciatica.
  • Diabetes – in this condition due to nerve damage changes seen commonly, sciatica is seen more frequently.
  • Occupation – Occupations which include carrying heavy loads drive a vehicle for a longer period are seen to have chances of getting sciatic pain.
  • Prolonged sitting – People who have a sedentary lifestyle or who sit for a longer period are commonly seen affected by sciatica.
  • Muscle spasms in the back.
  • Pregnancy
  • Spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Common symptoms of sciatica include –

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Constant pain on one side of the leg.
  • Pain is unbearable making one difficult to stand.
  • Tingling pain down the leg.

The Hallmark sign of Sciatica is the pain radiates from your lower spine to your buttock and down the leg. There is discomfort along the nerve pathway.

This pain can vary from a sharp cutting pain to mild pain. It also feels like an electric shock sometimes. Sitting for a prolonged period can aggravate the symptom.

Some of the people have numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg.

Diagnosis for Sciatica

Personal checkups during the routine examination may reveal the condition. There are few imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis as –

  • Xray – Xray of the spine is can reveal the bone spur.
  • MRI – MRI spine helps to find out the details images of the spine and soft tissues surrounding helping to diagnose the case.
  • CT Scan – it is used to do diagnose the case finally.
  • EMG (Electromyography) – this test measures the electric impulse produced by nerves and the responses of your muscles.

Conventional Treatment of Sciatica

There are various conventional methods for the treatment of sciatica like as –

  • Physiotherapy – it includes exercises to correct the posture, strengthen the muscles supporting the back improving the flexibility.
  • Medications – The types of drugs in sciatica are anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants, narcotics, etc.
  • Steroidal Injection is also suggested in some cases where the nerve root is also involved.
  • Surgery – it is the option usually reserved for patients when the compressed nerve causes prominent symptoms like loss of bowel or bladder control, or the pain do not subside though taking pain killers. Surgery can remove those bone spurs or the portion of the herniated disk that is pressurizing on the nerve.

Homeopathic remedies for Sciatica

Homeopathy does not treat a symptom but considers the unique set of symptoms as a whole to address the root cause of the problem. The Homeopathic remedies for sciatica are believed to enhance the structure and functions of the nerves. Homeopathic remedies for Sciatica are –

  • Hypericum –Studies suggest that this homeopathic remedy may reduce spasms in the lower lumbar region. [Source:]
  • Aconitum Napellus – Studies suggest that this homeopathic remedy may possess anti-inflammatory properties. [Source:]
  • Colocynthis – Studies suggest that this Homeopathic remedy may relieve the pain caused due to pressure on the nerve ending. [Source:]

Preventive measure for sciatica

Some types of Sciatica like associated with pregnancy, degenerative disk disease, cannot be prevented. In some cases, it is possible to prevent to an extent by taking certain measures like

  • Maintaining good posture.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Regular exercises like yogasanas, breathing exercises.
  • Keeping safe from fall.

Ayurvedic Diet Suggested

Recommended foods are –

  • Brown rice, whole wheat, green gram (moong), horse gram(kulatha), sesame(til), Louki(white guard), ginger, garlic, milk, and dairy products.
  • An adequate amount of potassium is also essential for managing Sciatica as it provides toughness to the muscles and helps in neuro-transmission. Potassium-rich foods are green leafy vegetables, avocados, white beans, potatoes, mushrooms, banana, Salmon fish.
  • Chicken, meat, and eggs should be consumed moderately as they cause constipation.

Foods to be avoided are –

  • Green peas, karela(bitter gourd), Frozen meat, fermented foods, cold drinks, cold water too.

Ayurvedic dietary tips

  • Take 5-6 pieces each of garlic and clove in a 10 ml sesame oil, heat on low flame for 5 minutes, allow to cool a bit and then apply it on your back with a gentle massage every day at bedtime. This remedy offers excellent relief from back pain, stiffness, and lumbago.
  • Freshly prepared ginger and lemon juice with black salt is good to relieve backache.

Home care for Sciatica

Self-care at home is necessary to manage the pain factor in sciatica. Stretching or activities that place additional strain on the back must be avoided.

Sleeping one-sided with a pillow taking in between the knees is seen as comfortable in many cases.

Heat and ice therapy alternating can provide instant relief of sciatic nerve pain. Ice pack helps to reduce the inflammation, while heat increases the blood flow to the painful areas giving some relief. Apply an ice pack to the painful area for 15 minutes once every hour and then apply heat for 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.

Proper body posture is found essential in helping to relieve the pain many times. Varying the posture after every 15 to 20 minutes is also beneficial.

Posted in Health

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sexy video clips have a more negative influence on girls than on boys, says Dutch pop professor Tom ter Bogt. Ter Bogt investigated the influence of sexy video clips on the thoughts, behaviour and self-image of 13 to 16 year old children. After viewing the clips, girls felt that outward appearance was more important, they were less satisfied with their own appearance, and they became less resolute in denying permissive sex.

In his research Ter Bogt showed (censored) sexy videos from well-known pop-artists 50 Cent, Amanda Wilson ft. Freemasons, Nelly, NERD and David Guetta to a group of 250 children. An equally-sized group watched the concert performances of the same songs. After seeing the videos the girls in the test group felt more strongly that outward appearance was important for girls, and they tended to be less satisfied about their own appearances. Unexpectedly the videos did not affect the boys in the groups as much, their behaviour and self-image was more or less unchanged, contrary to previous beliefs that boys can be influenced by sexy videos to participate in group rapes.

Tom ter Bogt was instated today as professor at the University of Utrecht in pop music and youth culture. “There is no reason for a moral panic,” Ter Bogt says, “young people need to experiment with sex. But these experiments must be based on equality between men and women, and the relationships in these videos are not based on equality. The clips undermine the self-image of young girls. When they start to define their identity with their looks, they may lose self-confidence, will perform worse in school, and will suffer more from eating disorders.”

The conclusions of Ter Bogt are confirmed by research by US psychologists, but also shows that parents have a major influence in their girls’ self-image.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Larry Stevens is running for the Libertarian Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Kitchener-Conestoga riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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