Tinctoris’ Hand

from PInterest.

click to enlarge.

Tinctorius HandUniversitat de València, Biblioteca Històrica, BH Ms. 835, f. 3v. Johannes Tinctoris, Opus musices. Naples, c. 1483, illuminated by Nardo Rapicano. The Guidonian hand: “a graphic mnemonic device in which musical notes are arranged on the left hand, used in medieval music to assist in sight-singing.”

A factor of 18 looks pretty good to me, but only as a hint of some possible method.

I should perhaps remind readers, and myself, that while there do seem to be some diagrams that allude to some form of chemistry or alchemy, they are mainly among the ‘ladies in tubes’ diagrams and whatever the manuscript’s seventeenth-century owners or Mnishovsky may have believed its subject, there’s no indication that any of them ever managed to read it.  Their interests may not have been those of the earlier makers and/or compilers. In other words, it may not be primarily a medical text, or contain pharmaceutical plants and recipes, at all.

– that’s for the original makers to know, and for us to find out.  😀


Postscript – as always, if someone has ever mentioned this in the same breath as the Voynich manuscript before, do let me know.

And here’s another version.


Addition (June 6th., 2013).

The term used for Oriental Jews was Edot Mitzrayim.

Words in blue indicate links in the original (wiki) article ‘Nusach’.

The whole musical style or tradition of a community is sometimes referred to as its nusach, but this term is most often used in connection with the chants used for recitative passages, in particular the Amidah.

Many of the passages in the prayer book, such as the Amidah and the Psalms, are chanted in a recitative rather than either read in normal speech or sung to a rhythmical tune. The recitatives follow a system of musical modes, somewhat like the maqamat of Arabic music. For example, Ashkenazi cantorial practice distinguishes a number of steiger (scales) named after the prayers in which they are most frequently used, such as the Adonoi moloch steiger and the Ahavoh rabboh steiger. Mizrahi communities such as the Syrian Jews use the full maqam system.

The scales used may vary both with the particular prayer and with the season. For examples, there are often special modes for the High Holy Days, and in Syrian practice the scale used depends on the Torah reading for the week (see The Weekly Maqam). In some cases the actual melodies are fixed, while in others the reader has freedom of improvisation.