Saturday, November 10, 2007

1160 – 1180 Leonin Organum

1163 Cornerstone of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
1152-89 Henry II Plantagenet, King of England
1170 Murder of Thomas Beckett



A new style consisting entirely of rhymed couplets was begun by Adam of St. Victor (d. 1192) and became the model for the following generations.


Bernart de Ventadorn (c. 1127-c. 1195), the finest poet of the troubadours, was associated with the court of Henry II Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine, granddaughter of Guilhem IX.


Notre Dame School

Associated with the famous cathedral in Paris, a school of organum flourished from c. 1160 to c. 1240. Music of the school was written in square notation, the first that can be interpreted rhythmically by modern scholars.

Organum purum

Organum purum|------------ fast, modal rhythm— Duplum
|Latin------- slow chant—Tenor

Like the melismatic organum of St. Martial with longer melismas of up to forty notes to each note of tenor, this style called organum purum appeared when the original chant was syllabic or neumatic.

Discant clausula

Discant clausula|----------- faster modes—Duplum
|Latin----- mode 5 chant melisma—Tenor

The plainchant melisma was set out in mode five in the tenor while the upper voice moved in the faster modes. Leonin (fl. c. 1160-80), the first important Notre Dame composer, composed a cycle of two-part organa for the entire church year called Magnus Liber Organi (c. 1175).

Polyphonic Conductus

Descended from monophonic songs, polyphonic conductus were quasi-liturgical homophonic songs with the same Latin text in all voices and textless passages called caudae. In Leonin's generation they were in two voices.

Theory and Notation

Square Notation

The curved and hooked symbols of the neumes were replaced by square note heads. The organa were written in joined notes called ligatures which can be interpreted according to the six rhythmic modes:







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