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Music 1711F/G Lecture Notes - Parody Mass, Johannes Tinctoris, Word Painting

Course Code
Music 1711F/G
Kate Helsen

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Feb 27 – Genres of Renaissance Music. 1420-1520: Sacred Vocal Music
Sacred Vocal Music: 1420-1520
Major musical development: *Cantus Firmus technique
Two types of sacred vocal music: the mass and the motet. Cantus firmus
used in both of these types of pieces
The Mass
Cyclic mass: a setting of all five components of the Ordinary of the Mass by
one composer which are unified musically.
First composers of cyclic masses: Leonel Power (d. 1445) -
John Dunstable (1390-1453)
Writing a mass cycle: now more about the musical connections than what
the piece looks like in a mass in a church. More of a musical form than as
part of a mass.
Cantus firmus – composer unifies the mass movements musically. A melody line
used in at least one voice part, repeated several times throughout a work. This
links the different parts together – like a repeating motif.
The Mass
Guilliame Du Fay: first composer to use a Cantus Firmus in tow new ways:
Take a secular song's melody
Put the Cantus Firmus in the tenor, but put a lower voice underneath the
tenor line
Result: Missa Se la Face ay Pale.
Canon – 'rule' or 'law'
'Canon' at beginning of a Mass is an instruction from composer about how
Cantus Firmus is to be sung
Typically rhythmic instructions. eg. “Sing the Cantus Firmus through twice,
the second time doubling the length of each note.”
Head Motif
Repeated melodic lines in the upper voices (along w/ Cantus Firmus in lower
Serves as unification: pieces that echo and unify
Ideas stated at beginning, then developed throughout the piece
Called head motifs.
The Canonic Mass
Build round voice parts on the technique of a canon (or “round”). Often done
with the Cantus Firmus eg. Missa Prolationum (CD 2:12)
Four voices, only two notated
Other two are supposed to be canons with the notated voices
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