From Ink to Sound

Decoding Musical Manuscripts

Aktualisiert im Juni 2024

Music is all around us: we listen to it while we are on our way to work, when preparing lunch or even while showering. Most people know that music has its own script – the notation. But seldom they are aware of the long tradition of this notation system.

In this course, we’ll travel back in time and explore musical notations from the Middle Ages. We will show you how to decode and transcribe early notational systems. And we will discuss the challenges and principles of music notation, referring to semiotic approaches and visual theory.

This course is intended for professional and nonprofessional musicians interested in musical paleography and its history, as well as undergraduate students of musicology, historians, philologists, theologians, art historians and semioticians. The only requirement is that you know how to read modern musical notation.

Note that this course was first published by the University of Basel on FutureLearn. Adapting the course to the format you are seeing meant that we had to change certain aspects. However, there are still traces of the old format in it.


University of Basel


Angelika Moths

Prof. Dr. Matteo Nanni