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Fole acostumance/Dominus It is only a crazy habit that makes me sing.

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Super te Ierusalem/Sed fulsit virginitas/Dominus Triplum: For you, Jerusalem, from a virgin mother, was born in [Bethlehem] . . . Duplum: but her virginity glowed with the Spirit’s breath. Therefore, pious . . .

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Franconian notation and modern equivalents.

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Adam de la Halle, De ma dame vient/Dieus, comment porroie/Omnes Triplum: From my lady comes the grievous pain which I bear and of which I will die, if hope does not keep me alive . . . Duplum: God, how can I find a way to go to him, whose [lover I am?]

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Page from the Montpellier Codex in performance format, showing the beginning of Adam de la Halle’s De ma dame vient/Dieus, comment porroie/Omnes and the end of the previous motet. The triplum is in the left column, the motetus (duplum) on the right, and the tenor is written across the bottom. Compare the transcription in Example 5.14. (Bibliothèque Inter-Universitaire, Montpellier, Section Médecine)

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Petrus de Cruce, Aucun ont trouvé/Lonctans/Annuntiantes Triplum: Some compose their songs out of habit, but Love gives me a reason to sing, he who so fills my heart with joy that I have to make a song; . . . Duplum: I have long refrained from singing, . . .

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Cadence forms

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Sumer is icumen in Summer is come, sing loud, cuckoo! The seed grows and the meadow blooms, and now the wood turns green. Pes: Sing, cuckoo, now; sing, cuckoo!

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Sumer is icumen in (ca. 1250) in its original notation. The upper parts have a secondary Latin text, written in red ink below the English words. The pes is shown at the bottom of the page. (Courtesy The British Library)

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Motet (cont’d) Early motets (to ca. 1250) (cont’d) Motets composed from scratch A tenor from a clausula was set to a different rhythm. New voice(s) above the tenor were added. Fole acostumance/Dominus Features the same tenor as Example 5.11, but is repeated Newly composed duplum in a faster rhythm The text is in French, with a secular theme.

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Ex05-12 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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Motet (cont’d) Early motets (to ca. 1250) (cont’d) Super te/Sed fulsit /Dominus The tenor has a different rhythmic pattern from that of Example 5.11. The top two voices set the first and second halves of one Latin poem. The topic is the birth of Christ, making it suitable for Christmas (the season of the original chant).

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Ex05-13 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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Motet (cont’d) Early motets (to ca. 1250) (cont’d) Super te/Sed fulsit /Dominus (cont’d) The upper parts rarely rest together or with the tenor, propelling the motet forward. Two other versions have added voices. A version in the Montpellier Codex, a major source of motets, has a third texted voice. An English source has an untexted fourth voice. The upper voice(s) were sung, but it is unclear whether the tenor was sung or played on an instrument. Refined and discerning listeners were the intended audience.

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Motet (cont’d) Motets in the later thirteenth century By about 1250, three-voice motets were the rule. The two texts were usually on similar topics. The texts could be in Latin or French. Some motets had upper voices in both Latin and French. The tenor became a cantus firmus after ca. 1270. The term designates any pre-existing melody. The existing melody continued to be a plainchant.

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Motet (cont’d) Franconian notation made it possible to signify more rhythms. Described by Franco of Cologne in his Ars cantus mensurabilis (ca. 1280) Noteshapes signified relative durations. Durations consisted of double long, long, breve, and semibreve.

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Motet (cont’d) Franconian notation (cont’d) The tempus was the basic unit. Three tempora constitute a perfection (like a measure). A long could last two or three tempora. A breve could last one or two tempora. The system included signs for rests in specific durations as well.

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Motet (cont’d) Franconian notation (cont’d) Layout of the parts could be separated. Each part would be in the same book but no longer in score format. The tenor extended across the bottom, with the other voice(s) above.

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F05-05 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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Motet (cont’d) Franconian notation (cont’d) Franconian motets Motets written in Franconian notation, in a style made possible by that notation Each upper voice had a distinctive rhythm. Upper voices no longer needed to conform to the rhythmic modes. Adam de la Halle’s De ma dame vient/Dieus comment porroie/Omnes The triplum part concerns a man’s point of view. The duplum part voices the woman’s point of view

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Ex05-14 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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F05-06 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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Motet (cont’d) Franconian notation (cont’d) Adam de la Halle’s De ma dame vient/Dieus comment porroie/Omnes (cont’d) The tenor part repeats the “omnes” melisma from Viderunt omnes twelve times. The upper parts use a modified first mode rhythm, with many semibreves. The phrases are independent, with voices rarely cadencing together.

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Motet (cont’d) Petrus de Cruce (Pierre de la Croix, fl. ca. 1270–1300) His motets take the Franconian motet one step further (e.g., Aucun ont trouvé/Lonctans/ Annuntiantes).

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Ex05-15 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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Motet (cont’d) Petrus de Cruce (cont’d) Each voice has its own pace. The tenor is very slow-moving. The duplum is slow-moving, but not as slow as the tenor. The triplum has as many as seven semibreves in a tempus. The tempo was probably even slower than in a Franconian motet.

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Motet (cont’d) Harmonic vocabulary of motets allowed thirds and dissonances, but the perfect consonance was still expected at the beginning of each perfection. The perfect fourth was treated like a dissonance. Cadence patterns developed.

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Ex05-16 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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English Polyphony English culture was tied to that of France after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Although they adopted French culture, English musicians created a distinct style.

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English Polyphony English musicians created a distinct style (cont’d) Imperfect consonances were more prominent. Improvised partsinging in close harmony was documented as early as 1200. NAWM 21c shows many harmonic thirds and triads, including the final sonority.

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English Polyphony (cont’d) English musicians created a distinct style (cont’d) Voice-exchange evolved into elaborate techniques. The rondellus, in which two or three phrases are heard simultaneously, with each voice singing each one in turn Triplum: a b c Duplum: c a b Tenor: b c a

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English Polyphony (cont’d) English musicians created a distinct style (cont’d) The rota: Sumer is icumen in A rota is a perpetual canon or round at the unison. Sumer is icumen in is the most famous. Two voices sing a pes (Latin for “foot” or “ground”). The canon produces alternating F–A–C–F and G–B-flat–D sonorities. English melodies are relatively simple, syllabic, and periodic.

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Ex05-17 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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F05-07 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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A Polyphonic Tradition By 1300, “composition” meant creating polyphony, not monophony. Writing down music of multiple parts in coordinating vertical sonorities to create a sense of direction would be a hallmark of Western tradition and set it apart from almost all other musical traditions.

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A Polyphonic Tradition (cont’d) Medieval music rarely outlived its composers, but in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, composers drew on medieval music as an exotic element, making it seem more familiar to listeners.

Summary: conductus and medieval motets

Tags: music early polyphony