Saturday, November 10, 2007

1370 – 1415 Mannerists

1370         Machaut's composition ends
1370-1417     Church schism
1404-19     John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy
1415         English occupied France


French Ars Nova



The motet was panisorhythmic—isorhythm in all voices.




The possibilities of black mensural notation became the ruling obsession of this generation; notation was the master rather than the servant of music. The musical effect is one of confusing rhythm, shifting meters, different meters in each voice, syncopation, suspensions, etc. Composers Jean Vaillant, Antonello da Caserta, Selesses and Cordier maintained the traditional formes fixes.


Italian Trecento



An Italian virelai in two or three voice texture, the ballata was the form preferred by Francesco Landini (1325-97), the outstanding composer of the generation. He wrote 140 examples, 91 in two voices, 49 in three voices. His style showed French influence and was more sophisticated than the earlier Italians. The Landini cadence was common. Also, Gherardello da Firenze.

Madrigal and caccia


The madrigal and the caccia were also composed by Landini in three voices.


English School

Mass sections


Thematically paired section of the Ordinary (e.g. Kyrie, Gloria) in four-part chordal texture with the melody in the upper voice and a strong preference for thirds and sixths were found in the Old Hall MS (c.1425). English practice also included use of a liturgical cantus firmus ("fixed song", and a new term for the traditional derived tenor melody around which a contrapuntal composition was written) in the tenor with a contratenor below, or a liturgical melody which moved from one part to another called a migrating cantus firmus.




English discant is a modern term for improvised parallel sixth chords with the melody below, also called faburden or discantus supra librum.


Theory and Notation

Mannerist notation


Semibreves appeared with a large assortment of tails, double tails and hooks; notes were sometimes white, sometimes black; red for triplets (coloration), in use since 1300 in tenors, appeared in all voices, sometimes filled in, sometimes hollow; hollow notes with dots in the middle indicated syncopation, etc.


Prosdocimus de Beldemandis (c.1400), theorist on Italian notation, arrived at a complete chromatic scale.

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