medieval music notation

Franconian Notation

6 sessions - Self-paced | Next offering in Fall Term 2021

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 modal and mensural notational structures. 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 to understand the development of our modern notation.

In this online course students will learn to read Franconian Notation 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



Open September 27 - December 27, 2021
6 sessions – Self-paced




Non-credit: 260€
1.5 credit ECTS: 310€


English - Spanish


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


Session 1 | Longs & Breves – The Single Figures

Session 2 | Franconian Ligatures

Session 3 | Mensural Rests – The Hocket

Session 4 | Concordance & Discordance

Session 5 | Working with Text – The Rhythmic Theories

Session 6 | Semibreves in Franconian Notation

Teaching Methodology

This course will be comprised of:

    • 6 tutorial videos of 15 minutes each (total 1.5 hours)
    • 6 recorded lectures of 1 hour each (total 6 hours)
    • 3 live Q&A sessions of 1hour and 15 minutes each conducted biweekly through the first six weeks of the course and will be recorded so that students can access them at any time (total 3 hours and 45 minutes)
    • Downloadable materials and links to additional resources

Schedules and assignments:

    • The course is self-paced. The majority of lessons will be posted on the first day of the term and students can work at their own pace until the platform is closed for the semester, with access to the pre-recorded video lessons, accompanying materials, and the course forums
    • 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: