Prelude Conditions were more difficult than in the thirteenth century. The Hundred Years’War (1337–1453) strained the economy. Bad weather, famine, and floods
Prelude The Great Plague (known as the Black Death) killed a third of Europe’s population during 1348–50. – Victims died in agony within days of contracting the plague. – Survivors often fled Europe’s cities. Peasant and urban rebellions occurred in many European regions.
A divided Church King Philip IV (the Fair) of France engineered the election of a French pope, who resided in Avignon rather than Rome. During the Great Schism of 1378–1417 there were two and sometimes three claimants to the papacy. When the papacy returned fully to Rome, it brought French music. The Church and corrupt clergy were targets of much criticism.
Science and secularism Philosophers distinguished between divine revelation and human reason. Church and state were seen to have dominion over different realms. These views spurred advances in science and technology. Interest in the world, the individual, and human nature made way for a growing secular culture.
The arts enjoyed remarkable creativity Increased literacy led to more literature in the vernacular. – Dante’s Divine Comedy (1307) in Italian – Boccaccio’s Decameron (1353) in Italian – Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1387–1400) in English Giotto (ca. 1266–1337), a Florentine painter, created a more naturalistic style in art. Secular songs received more attention.
Ars nova Ars nova (“The new art,” early 1320s) by Philippe de Vitry (1291–1361) The title of this treatise denotes the French musical style during the first half of the fourteenth century. The stylistic innovation of this era centers on rhythm and its notation
Ars nova Changes to the motet – The subjects of motets became more political and less amorous. – The structure became more complex, as seen in isorhythm. Changes to secular songs – The polyphonic art song was the most important new genre of the era. – Machaut in France and Landini in Italy mastered this genre while writing love lyrics in the tradition of the trouvères.
THE ARS NOVA IN FRANCE
Roman de Fauvel The Roman de Fauvel (Story of Fauvel) captures the spirit of the turn of the century. – This allegorical poem satirizes corrupt politicians and church officials.
Roman de Fauvel Fauvel is the main character. – Fauvel is an anagram for Flattery, Avarice, Villainy (u and v were interchangeable), Variété (fickleness), Envy, and Lâcheté (cowardice). – Fauvel, a jackass who rises to a powerful position, symbolizes a world turned upside down. – He marries and produces offspring that destroy the world.
Roman de Fauvel The manuscript contains 169 pieces of music – Some were written for this collection; others were chosen for their relevance to the poem’s message. – Most are monophonic. – Thirty-four polyphonic motets, many denouncing the clergy, are among the first examples of the Ars Nova and of isorhythm. – Philippe de Vitry composed at least five motets.
Isorhythm The tenor is laid out in segments of identical rhythm. – Thirteenth-century motets often have short, repeating patterns in the tenor. – In the fourteenth century, the tenor pattern grew longer and more complex. – The slow pace of the tenor makes it less a melody and more of a foundational structure. – The rhythmic pattern is called talea. – The melody, called color, may also repeat but may not coincide with the rhythm.
Isorhythm In arboris/Tuba sacre fidei/Virgo sum, attributed to Vitry – The tenor has two statements of the color. – The color statements have three repetitions of the talea. – The upper voices are isorhythmic during the duple sections of the tenor.
GUILLAUME DE MACHAUT
Guillaume de Machaut Machaut (ca. 1300–1377) is the leading composer of the Ars Nova. – Born in northeastern France, probably to a middle-class family – He composed in most of the major genres of his time.
Motets Twenty-three motets, most from early in his career Traditional texture: borrowed tenor and two upper voices with different texts Longer and more complex than thirteenth- century motets
Motets Nineteen use isorhythm, sometimes in all three voices. Frequent use of hockets, passages featuring a quick alternation of voices with one resting while the other sings
Messe de Nostre Dame Probably the earliest polyphonic setting of the Mass Ordinary composed by a single composer and conceived as a unit
Messe de Nostre Dame Composed for the cathedral in Reims – Performed at a Mass for the Virgin Mary celebrated every Saturday – After Machaut’s death, an oration for his soul was added to the service. – It continued to be performed there until the fifteenth century.
Messe de Nostre Dame
The six movements are linked by style and approach. – All six movements are for four voices. – Recurring motives and cadence tones unify the movements. – The Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and Ite, missa est are isorhythmic, each with a different cantus firmus. – The Gloria and Credo, with longer texts, are in discant style and end with elaborate isorhythmic “Amens.”
Messe de Nostre Dame Kyrie – The tenor is from a chant on the same Ordinary text. – The contratenor, a second supporting voice in the same range as the tenor, is also isorhythmic but with its own talea. – The upper voices are partially isorhythmic.
Messe de Nostre Dame
Monophonic works in the trouvère tradition Performed in the courts of the elite Machaut composed numerous lais, a twelfthcentury form similar to the sequence.
Monophonic works in the trouvère tradition The virelai is one of the formes fixes. – A popular poetic form in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries often intended for dancing (see Figure 4.7) – The form is AbbaA: A is the refrain, a has the music of A but new words, and b is a contrasting musical phrase.
Monophonic works in the trouvère tradition
Machaut, Foy porter – Monophonic virelai – The text pays homage to the poet’s beloved. – Machaut uses innovative rhythms and supple syncopations.
Polyphonic chanson (“songs”) Treble-dominated songs were a major innovation of the Ars Nova. – The treble or cantus carries the text. – A slower-moving, untexted tenor supports the cantus. – A contratenor may be added.
Polyphonic chanson (“songs”) Most are settings of the formes fixes – The formes fixes are fixed poetic forms. – Musical settings generally reflect the poetic rhyme scheme. – Principal types: virelai, rondeau, and Ballade – In polyphonic settings, Machaut preferred the rondeau and ballade.
Polyphonic chanson (“songs”) Rose, liz, printemps, verdure – This work is a rondeau: ABaAabAB. – Long melismas fall on structural points and enhance the appeal. – Varied rhythms, including supple syncopations, are typical. – Machaut uses both duple and triple meters. – The unusual fourth voice was probably added later.
Polyphonic chanson (“songs”) Ballades – Apparently Machaut’s favorite, these works were more serious than the other chansons. – Form: aabC – Machaut composed more than forty ballades for two, three, and four parts. – Typical setting: high tenor solo and two lower parts
ITALIAN TRECENTO MUSIC
Italian Trecento Music Music was important to Italian social life. Boccaccio’s Decameron describes music in social life (see Vignette, p. 78). Most music was not written down, as even polyphony was largely improvised. In Italian courts, travatori followed the tradition of the troubadours. The only examples surviving in manuscripts are monophonic laude, processional songs that are devotional in nature.
Italian Polyphony Largest body is from the repertory of secular songs. The principal centers are in central and northern Italy, including Florence. Few examples of polyphony come from before After that date, there are several manuscripts, including the Squarcialupi Codex.
Squarcialupi Codex One of the main sources for Italian secular polyphony Named for a former owner There are 354 pieces, grouped by composer. A portrait of each of the twelve composers appears at the beginning of the section containing his works.
Squarcialupi Codex Most are for two or three voices. Types of works – Madrigal – Caccia – Ballata
Madrigal Madrigal (not related to the sixteenth-century madrigal) Subjects: love, satire, pastoral life Usually for two voices
Madrigal Form – Each stanza set to the same music – Ritornello (Italian for “refrain”), a closing pair of lines set to different music in a different meter
Non al suo amante by Jacopo da Bologna (fl. 1340–?1370) – Unlike in the French chanson, the voices are relatively equal. – The last accented syllable of each poetic line is set to a long, florid, melisma. – The melody lacks the syncopations common in French music.
Caccia (Italian, “hunt”) Similar to the French chace (“hunt”), a popular- style melody set in strict canon with lively, descriptive words Two voices are in canon at the unison with an untexted tenor. Sometimes the text plays on the concept of a hunt, as in Tosto che l’alba by Ghirardello da Firenze. – Imitations of hunting horns – High-spirited and comic
Ballata Popular later than the madrigal and caccia Influenced by the treble-dominated French chanson Ballata is from ballare (“to dance”), and it was originally a song to accompany dancing.
Ballata The form is AbbaA, like a single stanza of a French virelai. – The ripresa (refrain) is sung before and after the stanza. – The stanza consists of two piedi (feet) and the volta, the closing line sung to the music of the ripresa.
Francesco Landini Landini (ca. 1325– 1397)was the leading composer of the trecento. – He was blind since boyhood. – He played many instruments but was a virtuoso on the small organ (organetto).
Francesco Landini He composed 140 ballate. – Most are for two voices. – Others, presumably later works, have three parts in a treble-dominated style similar to Machaut’s.
Francesco Landini Non avrà ma’ pieta – Many sonorities containing thirds and sixths, though never at the beginning or end of a section – Despite syncopation, arching melodies are smoother than Machaut’s – Melismas on the first and penultimate syllables of a poetic line are characteristic of the Italian style. – Under-third cadences, known as “Landini cadences,” are typical of trecento music.
Foreign influences French influence overtook the Italian style at the end of the century, particularly after the papal court moved back from Avignon. English polyphony was also influential; this would become more pronounced in the next century.
THE ARS SUBTILIOR
The Ars Subtilior In the late fourteenth century, French and Italian music became more refined and complex. Music catered to the extravagant tastes of performers and the courtly elite. The papal court at Avignon was one of the main patrons of secular music.
Polyponic chansons predominated The formes fixes continued to be set. Most were love songs. Composers were fascinated with technique and extreme complexities. This repertory is known as the Ars Subtilior (“the subtler art”).
Polyphonic chansons predominated The written music often included fanciful decorations and ingenious notation. – Love song in the shape of a heart – Canon in the shape of a circle Rhythmic complexity – The level of complexity is not matched until the twentieth century. – Works feature voices in contrasting meters and conflicting groupings. – Harmonies are purposely blurred through rhythmic disjunction.
En remirant vo douce pourtraiture En remirant vo douce pourtraiture by Philippus de Caserta (fl. 1370s) Ballade The three voices move in different meters. Each phrase has a distinctive rhythmic profile. Modern performance of the tenor and contratenor can be either vocal or instrumental
En remirant vo douce pourtraiture
Additional Art from Chapter 4
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