It is the body of which roads are the arms and legs,--a trivial or quadrivial
place, the thoroughfare and ordinary of travelers.
The close of this passage suggests how certain dances could be regarded as quadrivial, as belonging to that cluster of rigorous disciplines that included both geometry and music.
Song, and more broadly music, can do this in part because of its quadrivial character, its concern with proper proportions (331).
In view of Ficino's emphasis on the quadrivial character of music in its magical function, we should not be surprised that the Balet Comique employed geometric figures, as had earlier dances.
1) There is, however, considerable uncertainty about what this meant to musicians at the time and about the extent to which there was any link between quadrivial music, as we may call it, and music composed and performed, especially since Boethius' definitions of music and musicians are so far removed from our own.
If Boethius was such an unconstructive influence, it is surprising that his work remained so firmly at the centre of the quadrivial approach to education as a whole (and not merely Music).
But just as Tucke's notebook describes quadrivial music from the academic viewpoint, Fayrfax's Mass O quam glorifica illustrates a composer's response, for this was his Oxford doctoral exercise, and, as we shall see, it was written to illustrate the academic precepts.
Some of the ideas Tucke recorded that might have been discussed further include the relationship of notational coloration to heraldry (which Woodley announces will appear in a forthcoming publication), the use of arsis and thesis for retrograde and inversion in melody, the astrological and metallurgical parallels to the solfeggio system, and the combination of musical rhythm with Greek poetic meters that might be traced to the Oxford quadrivial
scholar and author of an important treatise on alchemy at the beginning of the fourteenth century, Walter Odington.
Of particular importance are the passages describing coloration, mensural complexity and other esoteric notational practices, which we must associate specifically with Oxford (and Cambridge) quadrivial