Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hold my hand, Guido, and teach me to sing

While I was in the Philadelphia library looking at the Poe exhibit I found out that they are digitizing many of their holdings. They have their medieval manuscripts online and available through Columbia University's Digital Scriptorium. Which is pretty great. I had planned to write a post about the rare book collection at the Philadelphia Library, but this image from the Scriptorium hijacked me.

This is a "Guidonian hand with somatization symbols." Guidonian hands, in case you didn't know, diagram a medieval method of learning to site sing. You can read about them here, and there's a lovely short video of someone demonstrating their usefulness below.

But don't you just want to look at them? I love them.

The Granger Collection, NY

The Guido in question is Guido d'Arezzo, pictured here.

This is a parody of a Guidonian hand from this blog.

While I was looking at hand diagrams I came across a glove map of London.

It's from Bioephemera, which looks like a great blog, and from there I went to this wonderful collection of hand images that includes a really great grisly description of the medieval "hand of glory" that should creep you out just in time for Halloween.

Here are some more hand diagrams, just because they're awesome.


Igor XA said...

where did you find that lovely picture of guido? i'm looking for a larger version of it to incorporate into a tattoo, possibly. any ideas?

Sam Simpson said...

Hi Igor-
I got it here: . You might try poking around but I'm pretty sure I just googled his name in an image search.

maryc said...

The man in the video is my hero, Bill Mahrt!

Ольга said...

Thank You very much for your post!
I looked for only picture
, and find your post!
Why I looked for this picture?
In magazin "Time" of December 31,1999 were publications about innovations in the millenium. In 11th century "Best Musical Innovation" was name d'Arezzo and this picture
Now, I wanted tj place this picture in my post in LJ. And I find Your post. I wont to give link to your post so interesting in my post.
Thank You

Sam Simpson said...

Cool! Thanks for that!