In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Guido of Arezzo

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Published Facsimiles of MSS
  • Transcription Available Online at the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum
  • Editions and Translations (with Electronic Versions at the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum)
  • Manuscript Transmission of the Works of Guido
  • Concordance
  • Medieval Commentaries (with Electronic Versions at the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum) and Reception
  • Life and Works

Music Guido of Arezzo
James Grier
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 September 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0248


Guido d’Arezzo is perhaps the most important writer about music between Boethius and Tinctoris. His four authentic writings, datable to the third and fourth decades of the 11th century, treat the main theoretical issues that underlie the successful practice of plainsong, adumbrate rules for the practice of polyphony in chorally sung chant, and introduce two important practices: solmization and staff notation equipped with clefs. The dedicatory letter to Bishop Theobald of Arezzo with which he prefaced his Micrologus and his letter to Michael of Pomposa provide an outline of his biography. He had a strong but troubled association with the Benedictine abbey of Pomposa, also the home of Michael, failing to win the support of Abbot Guido for his antiphoner. He did, however, secure patronage from Theobald and Pope John XIX, as we know from his prefaces.


No specialized bibliography for Guido and his works exists. Palisca and Pesce 2013 provides a list of works that discuss Guido, while Huglo 1988 cites a few specialized sources.

  • Huglo, Michel. “Bibliographie des éditions et études relatives à la théorie musicale du Moyen Âge (1972–1987).” Acta Musicologica 60 (1988): 229–272.

    DOI: 10.2307/932753

    Literature regarding Guido appears on p. 252.

  • Palisca, Claude V., and Dolores Pesce. “Guido of Arezzo [Aretinus].” In Grove Music Online. Edited by Deane Root. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

    A good general bibliography for Guido. Available online by subscription.

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