Music 1710F/G Lecture Notes - Nicolas Gombert, Gregorian Chant, Johann Sebastian Bach
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September 19 Readings/Class Notes – History
Wright 53-55, 66
Texture – the density and disposition of musical lines that make a composition.
Monophonic texture – a single line of melodic texture; no accompaniment eg.
Singing by yourself, Gregorian Chant in the Middle Ages – chanting in unison
Polyphonic texture – two or more lines are sung. The lines are independent of
each other. Compete equally for attention from one who listens to the piece
Counterpoint – two or more melodic lines that are independent of each other
and are harmonious
Imitative counterpoint – Melodic material shared b/w the two lines.
Free counterpoint – counterpoint without any imitation in the voices. May begin
together or separately No melodic relationship
Most counterpoint does not fall into these two categories strictly
Canon – A melody reproducing the initial melody exactly. Strictest form of
imitative counterpoint. eg. “Are You Sleeping”
JS Bach, Sinfonia No 4 in B flat Major (BWV 800)
- Counterpoint is both free and imitative – often involve imitation, but almost
never completely perfect in imitation
Homophony - “same sounding” - voices or lines move to new pitches at about
the same time
Form – an artist's way of organizing their materials in a meaningful and intentional
Texture Case Study: Palestrina's Missa Brevis
1. In the church decree drafted on Sept 10, 1562, what do church elders
suggest the role of music should be in relation to the text?
–People need to understand the words
–People were so into having contrapuntal texture, the words got confused –
too many musical lines at once
–Music should have a purpose - “not to give empty pleasure to the ears, but
in such a way that the words may be understood by all” Only hymns and
Palestrina agrees – he changes his view that music should be simple...“ a