Saturday, November 10, 2007

1315 – 1340 Ars Nova

1315     Breakdown of the French government
1337     100 Year War began

This is the first generation of the isorhythmic motet.



Traditionally established in 1311 by "Frauenlob" in Maintz, Meistersingers were members of craft guilds who cultivated the tradition of the Minnesingers. Bar form was almost exclusively used. The movement flourished especially in the 15th and 16th centuries and then began to die out. The Meistersinger guild in Ulm dissolved in 1839.


Ars Nova

Including the entire fourteenth century, this "new art" consisted of

(a) the use of duple as well as triple meter,
(b) isorhythmic tenors,
(c) increased use of thirds,
(d) a new characteristic rhythm: instead of , and
(e) faster tempo with smaller note values.


De Vitry Motet |Latin (French) -- 6/8 lilting—Cantus
|Latin (French) -- 6/8 lilting—Motetus
|------------------ very slow, isorhythmic—Tenor

The first new style motets were in the Roman de Fauvel (Novel of the Yellow Horse) of c. 1315 which included 130 musical compositions in Latin, mainly monophonic, including 33 motets. Seventeen had duple meter; five have been ascribed to Philippe de Vitry (1291-1361). His motets showed a lilting 6/8 rhythm in the two upper voices over a very slow tenor in modal rhythm (still written in ligatures). The repetitive rhythmic patterns in the tenor were much longer—isorhythm. An occasional fourth voice called the contratenor appeared.

Instrumental Music

The earliest preserved organ music was the Robertsbridge Codex (c. 1325), an English tablature containing motets and two voiced estampies, dances made up of puncta (periods), each pair of phrases with ouvert ("open" half) and clos ("closed" full) endings.

Theory and Notation

Treatises were:

  1. Ars Nova (c. 1325) by Philippe de Vitry established rules for the subdivision of the semibreve (prolatio), introduced the minima , and legalized duple meters.
  2. Ars Novae Musice (1319) by Jean de Muris (c. 1290-c 1351) first used the term "ars nova."
  3. Pomerium (c. 1319) by Marchettus of Padua was an important treatise on Italian notation.


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