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