medieval music notation

Mensural and Franconian Notations

6 sessions - Self-paced

Course Description

Towards the end of the thirteenth century the music theoretician Franco of Cologne developed a system of music notation that upgraded and revolutionized the already existing mensural notational structure. In this system the various note shapes conveyed in themselves specific durations. This allowed for faster reading, more complex rhythmic development and stratification, and a sense of a more faithful representation of the composer’s intentions. Franconian notation is not only crucial for the reading of most medieval and renaissance monophonic and polyphonic music, but also for the understanding of how our modern notation was developed.

In this online course students will learn to read Mensural and Franconian Notations through a series of steps that comprise the study of Franco’s system (from his treatise and other sources), the application of its precepts to actual monophonic and polyphonic compositions, the transcription of medieval pieces, and the performance of different compositions directly from the original sources.

In this course, students will:


Learn the precepts of mensural notation


Study Franco’s developments utilizing his music treatise and other related treatises


Explore the different figures and ligatures in Franconian notation


Apply the rules to actual monophonic and polyphonic repertoires


Transcribe pieces into modern notation


Sight-read from original sources

Raul LacillaInstructor:
Raúl Lacilla



February 19 to June 10, 2024
6 sessions – Self-paced



Price 1.5 creds

1.5 credit ECTS: 320€


English - Spanish


Student must have basic musical knowledge and be able to read modern music notation.


Session 1 | Longa et brevis – The Single Figures

Session 2 | Per oppositum proprietatis – Pre-Franconian Ligatures

Session 3 | Omnis media brevis – Franconian Ligatures

Session 4 | Voce amissa – Mensural Rests

Session 5 | Secundum auditum – Concordance & Discordance

Session 6 | Semibrevium tres pro brevi – Franconian Notation

Teaching Methodology

This course will be comprised of:

    • 6 tutorial videos of 20-35 minutes each (total 3.5 hours)
    • 6 recorded lectures of 45 minute each (total 4.5 hours)
    • 3 biweekly live Q&A sessions of 1hour and 15 minutes each (total 3.5 hours) conducted through the course. The sessions will be recorded so that students can access them at any time.
    • Downloadable materials and links to additional resources

Schedules and assignments:

    • The course is self-paced.
    • The majority of pre-recorded video lessons, lectures, and study materials will be posted on the first day of the term.
    • Students will have access to all session and their materials until the last day of the term.
    • The student workload to review the materials and complete the assignments is approximately 6.25 hours per session
    • There will be some suggested deadlines to submit assignments
    • Homework will be accepted until a week before the end of the term
    • Students taking the course for credit must complete all assignments and class requirements

Technical Requirements

    • Broadband Internet connection / WIFI

    • External or internal webcam
    • External or internal microphone
    • Speakers or headphones
    • Possibility of printing downloaded materials
    • Possibility of scanning your assignments
    • Possibility of auto-recording (audio and video)

Enroll Now

Places are limited for each section, so sign up early.

The International Course of Medieval Music Besalú offers singers and instrumentalists the possibility of studying the repertoires of monodic and polyphonic music composed between the 11th and 13th centuries.

With the support of: