Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Walter, Thomas

(b Roxbury, MA, 13 Dec 1696; d Roxbury, 10 Jan 1725). American tune book compiler. He graduated from Harvard College in 1713, and was ordained as a minister at the First Church of Roxbury in 1718. He took an active part in the movement to improve congregational singing in the 1720s, compiling one of the first singing books published in the colonies, The Grounds and Rules of Musick Explained (Boston, 1721), and preaching such sermons as ‘The Sweet Psalmist of Israel’ (1722). In his lengthy theoretical introduction to The Grounds and Rules Walter expressed the hope that his book would help enlarge the repertory of congregational psalmody, and replace ‘an horrid Medly of confused and disorderly Noises’ with ‘right and true singing of the Tunes’ through such expedients as ‘the just and equal Timeing of the Notes’. The book was one of the few colonial imprints before the 1760s to contain sacred music, and eight editions were issued by 1764. Many of its three-part, textless tunes were extremely popular in the 18th century, and several are still in use today.


DAB (F.W. Coburn)

F.J. Metcalf: American Writers and Compilers of Sacred Music (New York, 1925/R), 19–23

M.B. Jones: ‘Bibliographical Notes on Thomas Walter's “Grounds and Rules of Musick Explained”’, Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, xlii (1932), 235–46

C.K. Shipton: ‘Thomas Walter’, Sibley's Harvard Graduates, vi (Boston, 1942), 18–24

N. Temperley: ‘First Forty: the Earliest American Compositions’, American Music, xv (1997), 1–25


Walter of Châtillon [Gautier de Châtillon; Gautier de Lille; Gualterus ab Insula; Gualterus de Castellione Insulis; Walterus ab Insula]

(b Lille, c1135; d ?Amiens, c1190). French lyric poet andscholar, active not only in France but also in England and Italy. Most of the known details of his life come from a Latin vita of uncertain date and authenticity (F-Pn lat.8359) and from biographical information in the manuscripts of his works. After studying in Paris and Reims and acting as the head of a school in Laon and as canon of Reims, he may have entered the service of Henry II of England. Although no mention is made of his service in the vita, this may be dated from correspondence between Walter and John of Salisbury in 1166; apparently he did not remain in this position for long but returned to France and to teaching, this time in Châtillon. The reasons for his departure from the court of Henry II are not known, but it has been suggested that the murder of Thomas à Becket in 1170 may have played some role. John of Salisbury's part in this affair is well known, and it may be that Walter was influenced by the older man.

From Châtillon he went to Bologna to study canon law, and may have spent some time in Rome as well. He then returned to Reims (c1176) and finally moved to Amiens. In Reims he wrote his epic poem the Alexandreis (c1180), which he dedicated to his patron, the Archbishop William of the White Hands. His date of death is uncertain, but some of his poems suggest that he had a grave illness, which may have hastened his death; Johannes de Garlandia supports this view (‘Magister Gualterus … cum percuteretur a lepra’, F-Pn lat.1093, f.31). In addition to the extremely popular Alexandreis and a Tractatus contra Iudeos, Walter was the author of a substantial number of rhythmic poems. Of those which have been attributed to him with varying degrees of certainty, 13 are known to survive with music. This includes both monophonic and polyphonic conductus settings, nearly all of which are extant in the conductus collections in sources associated with the Notre Dame school. It is uncertain whether he composed the music to any of his poems.

See also Conductus and Goliards.


Catalogues: G.A. Anderson: ‘Notre Dame and Related Conductus: a Catalogue Raisonné, MMA, vi (1972), 152–229; vii (1973), 1–81 (also cross-refers to G.A. Anderson and C. Brewer, eds.: Notre Dame and Related Conductus, Henryville, PA, 1979–) [a]

R. Falck: The Notre Dame Conductus: a Study of the Repertory (Henryville, PA, 1981) [f]

Dum medium silentium teneret, aK15, f99 [dated 1174, from a sermon preached in Bologna]

Ecce torpet probitas, aL50

Excitatur caritas in Ierico, af30, f111; 3vv

Frigescente caritatis aL23a

Licet eger cum egrotis, aL51

Omni pene curie, aI34, f252; 2vv

Sol sub nube latuit, aI16, f334; 2vv [contrafacta: Thibaut de Blaison, ‘Chanter et renvoisier seuil’, L.255.6, R.1001; Gautier de Coincy, ‘Pour mon chief reconforter’, L.72.16, R.885]

Ver pacis aperit, aJ32, f366; 2vv [dated 1179, for the coronation of King Philippe Auguste of France; contrafactum: Blondel de Nesle, ‘Ma joie me semont’, L.24.13, R.1924]

works with spurious, doubtful or conflicting attributions

Beata viscera Marie virginis cuius, aK14, f42; text by Philip the Chancellor, music by Perotinus (see Dronke, 1987, pp.563–4) [contrafacta: Gautier de Coincy, ‘De sainte Leocade’, L.72.3, R.12, and ‘Entendez tuit ensemble’, L.72.5, R.83]

In hoc ortus accidente, aK5, f174; by Philip the Chancellor (see Dronke, 1987, pp.563–4)

Quid ultra tibi facere, aK17, f288; by Philip the Chancellor (see Dronke, 1987, pp.563–4)

Veri floris sub figura, aC1, f369; 3vv; probably not by Walter (see Dronke, 1976/1984, n.19)

Vite perdite, aJ35, f387; 2vv; modern attribution to Peter of Blois (Dronke, 1976/1984, p.322) [contrafactum: Hue de Saint Quentin, ‘A l'entrant du tens sauvage’, L.113.1, R.41; Peirol, ‘Per dan que d'amor m'aveigna, PC 366.26]



K. Strecker, ed.: Die Lieder Walters von Châtillon in der Handschrift 351 von St Omer (Berlin, 1925)

K. Strecker, ed.: Moralisch-satirische Gedichte Walters von Châtillon (Heidelberg, 1929)

M.L. Colker, ed.: Galteri de Castellione Alexandreis (Padua, 1978)

R.T. Pritchard, ed. and trans.: Walter of Châtillon: The Alexandreis (Toronto, 1986)


K. Strecker: ‘Walter von Châtillon, der Dicher der Lieder von St Omer’, Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum, lxi (1924), 197–222

K. Strecker: ‘Walter von Châtillon und seine Schule’, Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum, lxiv (1927), 95–125, 161–89

F.J.E. Raby: A History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1934, 2/1957)

A. Wilmart: ‘Poèmes de Gautier de Châtillon dans un manuscrit de Charleville’, Revue bénédictine, xlix (1937), 121–69, 322–65

J. Hillegouarc'h: ‘Un poète Latin du XIIe siècle: Gautier de Lille, dit Châtillon’, Bulletin del l'Association Guillaume Budé, 4th ser., i (1967), 95–115

E. Heckard: Studien zur ‘Zweiten Sprache’ in der religiösen Lyrik des zwölfen Jahrhunderts: Adam von St. Viktor – Walter von Chatillon (Ratingen, 1971)

P. Dronke: ‘Peter of Blois and Poetry at the Court of Henry II’, Medieval Studies, xxxviii (1976), 185–235; repr. in The Medieval Poet and his World (Rome, 1984), 281–339

P. Klopsch: ‘Zwei Gedichte Walters von Châtillon’, Der altsprachliche Unterricht, xx (1977), 123–41

H. Roussel and F. Suard : Alain de Lille, Gautier de Châtillon, Jakemart de Giélée, et leur temps (Lille, 1980)

P. Dronke: ‘The Lyrical Compositions of Philip the Chancellor’, Studi medievali, 3rd ser., xxviii (1987), 563–92

A.C. Dionsotti: ‘Walter of Châtillon and the Greeks’, Latin Poetry and the Classical Tradition: Essays in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, ed. P. Godwin and O. Murray (Oxford, 1990), 73–96


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