Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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1. Life.

Information and conjecture about Jacobus of Liège have accumulated piecemeal. The Speculum was originally attributed to Johannes de Muris. Coussemaker based this conclusion on a 16th-century inscription and the proximity of the two authors in a Paris manuscript, ignoring the direct contradiction between the teachings of the two treatises. The author of the Speculum stated, moreover, that his name could be discovered from the initial chapter of each book; this gives the acrostic ‘Iacobus’. Smits van Waesberghe proposed the identification of ‘Iacobus’ with a Iacobus de Oudenaerde, canon of Liège and professor at the University of Paris in 1313. Another possible identification may be found in the Berkeley Manuscript of 1375 (US-BE 744), whose anonymous author refers to a certain ‘Iacobus de Montibus’ in connection with Boethian theory, a major concern of the Speculum musice. The surname ‘de Montibus’ could refer to an unspecified mountainous region or, possibly, to the city of Mons in Belgium. Bragard conjectured that he was born in or near Liège in about 1260 and spent his early years there, receiving a musical training imbued with the theories of Franco of Cologne. Bragard identified the treatise on the consonances (Tractatus de consonantiis musicalibus) printed by Coussemaker as Anonymus 1 (CoussemakerS, i, 296–302) and a companion work on psalm tones (Tractatus de intonatione tonorum) cited in books 1 and 6 of the Speculum as early works of Jacobus. (Both works are attributed to Jacobus in the edition by Smits van Waesberghe, Vetter and Visser, 1988, together with a third treatise, Compendium de musica, also ascribed to him). From several remarks in the treatise it appears that he studied in Paris, where he laid the foundation of his later work by mastering the first two books of Boethius's De institutione musica. The Speculum may have been among the ‘many things’ which Jacobus said he had begun in Paris, especially since the voluminous quotations in books 1–5 suggest ready access to an extensive library. Books 6 and 7 may have been composed at Liège, since book 6 draws upon the Questiones in musica (c1100) found in two Liègeois manuscripts, while book 7 cites two motets of Petrus de Cruce according to another Liège source.

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