Fall 2020 Online

Franconian Notation

Oct 7 - Dec 20, 2020


Course Details

6 sessions
Instructor: Raúl Lacilla

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 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.


Course Methodology

Explanation about mensural notation


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


Explanation about the different figures and ligatures in Franconian notation


Application to actual monophonic and polyphonic repertoires


Transcription of pieces into modern notation


Sight-reading from original sources

Teaching Methodology
  • Instructional videos and recorded lectures produced for each session
  • Downloadable reading materials and exercises that support the videos and lectures
  • Biweekly Q&A Zoom meetings
  • Blogs where students can ask questions and share information
  • Personalized instructions in connection to submitted exercises
Duration and Frequency of the Course

The course is open from October through December. It comprises 6 lessons that will be posted once a week during the first 6 weeks (October 1st-November 15). Live Q&A sessions will be conducted biweekly through the first six weeks of the course and will be recorded so that students can access them at any time. Students can work at their own pace throughout the three months, with access to the pre-recorded video lessons, accompanying materials, and the course forums.


  • 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




Dates & Duration

Oct 7 – Dec 20, 2020





English – Spanish

Open to

Musicians, musicologists, and people interested in Medieval music and the Middle Ages in general (with or without experience playing medieval musical instruments)


What Our Students Say

The online summer course was a fantastic experience! The fact that we had a week to comprehend everything, practice and work on it, gave us the opportunity to go much deeper than in regular an onsite course. The course was challenging and of great interest for beginners as well as for more advanced and professional musicians. Where other courses and institutions teach you about Medieval Music, the Online Music Course of Besalú gives you the real Middle Ages.

Marjolein van Amers - The Netherlands

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Matricúlate con tiempo, las plazas para los cursos son limitadas.

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: