PRELUDE. Prelude An international style emerged in the fifteenth century. Characteristics of fourteenth-century French and Italian music were mixed with

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  • Prelude An international style emerged in the fifteenth century. Characteristics of fourteenth-century French and Italian music were mixed with the new sounds of English composers. By 1500, composers from northern France and the Low Countries had assimilated the new style. Secular genres were cultivated and influenced sacred music.
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  • English influence During the Hundred YearsWar, the English had a strong presence in France. Composers and musicians were taken across the channel. Many British works were copied into Continental manuscripts. English music made a significant impression, particularly with its lively consonances. The contenance angloise (English quality) was highly praised.
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  • Burgundian leadership The dukes of Burgundy ruled parts of France and the Low Countries. Their power rivaled that of the Kings of France. They expanded into the Netherlands and Belgium, ruling until 1477. Northern music became the chief conduit for the new style. Nearly all of the leading composers from the late fifteenth century came from these regions.
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  • Burgundian leadership Philip the Good and Charles the Bold maintained chapels with salaried composers and performers. These were the most resplendent chapels in fifteenth-century Europe. Foreign musicians contributed to a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
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  • Sumer is icumen in, ca. 1250 Most famous medieval canon or round Called a rota: a perpetual canon at the unison Produces harmonies with thirds
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  • Carols Songs in strophic form with refrains Parallel thirds and sixths are common
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  • John Dunstable (ca. 13901453) Leading English composer of his time For a period, he served in France with the duke of Bedford. Regent of France from 1422 to 1435 Commander of English army fighting Joan of Arc
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  • John Dunstable (ca. 13901453) Dunstables sixty or so known compositions include: Isorhythmic motets Mass Ordinary settings Secular songs Three-part settings of miscellaneous liturgical texts
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  • John Dunstable (ca. 13901453) Isorhythm Apparently still fashionable, it is found in twelve Dunstable motets. Some of his mass sections also use the technique.
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  • John Dunstable (ca. 13901453) Only a few of his songs have survived. Expressive lyrical melodies The clear harmonic profile is typical of English music. The three-voice sacred pieces are among his most important works. Settings include antiphons, hymns, and mass movements. The chant melody can be a cantus firmus in the tenor or ornamented in the top voice.
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  • John Dunstable (ca. 13901453) Quam pulchra es This motet does not borrow an existing melody. Each of the three voices is equal in importance. Homorhythmic; follows natural accents of the words A few streams of 6-3 sonorities lead to cadences. Mostly Renaissance in sound, other than double leading-tone cadences
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  • Redefining the motet
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  • Medieval definition: any work with texted voices above a cantus firmus The isorhythmic motet was old-fashioned by ca. 1400 and disappeared by ca. 1450. By 1450, a motet did not need to have a chant melody. From the sixteenth century on: any polyphonic setting of a Latin text, including settings from the Mass Proper and the Office
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  • Music in the Burgundian lands Principal types of polyphonic works from the mid-fifteenth century Secular chansons with French texts Motets Magnifcats and hymn settings for Offices Mass Ordinary
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  • Music in the Burgundian lands Most works have three voices, similar to the fourteenth- century chanson. Each line has a distinct role. The cantus spans a wide range, while the tenor and countertenor have restricted ranges.
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  • Gilles de Bins (known as Binchois, ca. 14001460) Spent time in the service of an English earl who was part of the forces occupying France Worked for Philip the Good at the Burgundian court, 14271453
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  • Gilles de Bins (known as Binchois, ca. 14001460) Composed more than fifty chansons (polyphonic settings of French secular poems) Most are settings of stylized love poems, generally in rondeau form: ABaAabAB. Some of his works were extremely popular.
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  • Gilles de Bins (known as Binchois, ca. 14001460) De plus en plus Composed around 1425 Treble dominated texture Graceful, arched melody Full, generally triadic, harmony
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  • Gilles de Bins (known as Binchois, ca. 14001460)
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  • Guillaume Du Fay The most famous composer of his time Traveled widely, serving as a chapel musician in Italy and southwestern France. His travels allowed him to absorb many regional stylistic traits.
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  • Resvellies vous, 1423 Composed in Italy to celebrate a wedding French characteristics Ballade form (aabC) Rhythmic complications, including syncopation Dissonant ornamental notes Italian characteristics Smooth melodies Melismas on the last accented syllable of each line of text Meter change for the B section
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  • Se la face ay pale Ballade, composed ten years after Resvellies vous English elements added to the French and Italian traits The tenor is as tuneful as the cantus. Brief phrases Consonant harmony favoring thirds, sixths, and triads
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  • Three-voice sacred works Du Fay set numerous motets and Office pieces for three voices. The texture resembles that of a chanson, with the main melody supported by the tenor and contratenor. Example: Christe, redemptor omnium Setting of a hymn text The treble paraphrases the chant.
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  • Isorhythmic motets For solemn public occasions, composers continued to use the then-archaic isorhythmic motet. Nuper rosarum flores, 1436, was composed for the dedication of the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Two isorhythmic tenor voices, both based on the same chant, evoke the two vaults used to support the dome. Du Fay was in the service of Pope Eugene IV, who officiated at the dedication.
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  • Isorhythmic motets
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  • Polyphonic settings of the Mass Ordinary Before 1420, polyphonic settings of the Ordinary texts were composed as separate pieces. Machauts mass was an exception. Sometimes compilers grouped them together.
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  • Polyphonic settings of the Mass Ordinary During the fifteenth century, composers began to set the Ordinary as a coherent whole. Complete mass settings were often commissioned for specific occasions or significant individuals. Du Fays Missa Se la face ay pale is linked to his Savoy patrons. The tradition of composing masses on the Lhomme arm tune may be connected to the Order of the Golden Fleece
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  • Polyphonic settings of the Mass Ordinary
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  • Musical unity Some mass settings were unified simply by having all five movements in the same style. Some used the same thematic material in all sections. A motto mass uses a similar musical idea at the beginning of each movement. Eventually the same cantus firmus appeared in each movement, resulting in the cantus firmus mass or tenor mass.
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  • Cantus firmus mass The principal type of mass by the mid-fifteenth century
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  • Cantus firmus mass The four-voice texture became standardized. A part was added below the tenor as a harmonic foundation called the contratenor bassus (low contratenor) and later simply bassus, now bass in English. The contratenor above the tenor was called contratenor altus (high contratenor), later simply altus, now alto in English. The top voice was called superius (highest), later soprano.
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  • Cantus firmus mass Cantus firmus treatment When the cantus firmus was from a sacred work, a rhythmic pattern was imposed and repeated if the melody was repeated. When the cantus firmus was from a secular song, the original rhythm was retained, but not at the original tempo. The name of the original tune would generally appear in the title.
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  • Cantus firmus mass Du Fays Missa Se la face ay pale, Gloria The cantus firmus is the tenor of Du Fays own ballade The cantus firmus appears three times; it is easily recognized in only the third appearance because the first two are in longer durations. The top two voices maintain smooth melodic contours and occasionally exchange motives. The angular contratenor bassus provides a harmonic foundation. Du Fay favors thirds and sixths, often using full triads. Dissonances are carefully controlled.
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  • Cantus firmus mass
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  • Additional Art for Chapter 5
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  • Figure 5.4
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  • Figure 5.6


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