Island and Mainland: Toward a Pan-European Style
- Little amount of English music remains from the mid-13 CE because there was destruction of
manuscripts containing Latin Church music during the Anglican Reformation in the 16 CE. th
- For the music from the end of the 13 CE triadic harmony is the most distinctive feature of English
music. Over the course of the 13 CE the third consonance became definitive in English music.
- The triadic harmony is very evident in “Thomas gemma Cantuariae/Thomas cesus in Doveria”.
Kings and Fortunes of War
- By the end of the 14 CE musical activity in the British Isle becomes more abundant.
- The codex Old Hall Manuscript contains decipherable polyphonic church music. It consists
predominately of Mass Ordinary settings. A Sanctus setting smoothly and skillfully writeen,
maintaining the English style with full triadic sonority can represent the “normal” English style
before it is changed.
- The English won a battle during the Hundred Years War at Agincourt near Calais, in 1415. They
celebrated until 1429 when the French won back most of their territory.
- John Dunstable “a musician with the Duke of Bedford (ruler of France)” had enormous influence on
continental composers. This is where, for the first time, a true pan-European style was created.
Dunstable and the Contenance Angloise
- When French composers turn to the English guise it is known as “Contenance Angloise”.
- Dunstable was brought up musically in the spirit of quadrivium, the arts of measurement. In his
writing: its dissonances are consistently subordinated to consonances in ways that begin to
approximate the rules of dissonance treatment still taught today in counterpoint class.
- English guise was filled with triads, and all the music came in chains.
- Faburden is the singing of three-voice parallel chords was realized over plainchant.
Du Fay and Fauxbourdon
- Guillaume du Fay’s duo “Vos qui secutie esti me” carries a rubric that says “If you desire a three-part
piece, take the top notes and start with them, but down a forth”. When this is done, fifths are
added to the framing octaves, and thirds are added to the sixths to produce a procedure called
fauxbourdon, a parallelism of imperfect consonaces amounting to a parallelism of traids, voiced for
maximum smoothness, with the “hard” and “hollow” perfect fifth.
- Singers seeing the word fauxbourdon would know that the cantus part of the piece had to be
doubled at the lower forth and that the tenor had parallel imperfect consonances Contenance
Angloise would emerge against the doubled line.
- Faburden has the doubling part above and Fauxbourdon has the doubling part below. Du Fay and Binchois
- Du Fay and Binchois were the most prolific masters of fauxbourdon and leading song composers
- Du Fay’s chant “Ave maris stella” is a paraphrase which is a technique of embellishing chants
- Binchois spent his career as a court and chapel musician to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy
- One of the grandest Franco-Burgundian ballade texts was “Deuil angoisseux” by Christine Pisan set
to music by Binchois, this also has the English guise
The Internationalism of the Upper Crust
- Even after the impregnation of the English, the base technique of music remained French; until
northerners began invading the south, then it was impossible to tell. Europe, musically, seemed
- Johannes Tinctoris (1435-1511) has dozens of treatises attempting to encompass all of
- There are much emulation of pieces, which are both homage, and an attempt to surpass it.
- Johannes Ockeghem (ca. 1410-97) became a favourite of Charles VII and Louis XI, by the time of his
death he was the most exalted musician in Europe
- The codex Chigi 1498 contains virtually complete collected sacred works by Ockeghem.
- Busnoys was Ockeghem’s counterpart where he served the last Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold
- The 15 CE is where humanism starts, people started to strive for intellectual attainments and
The Cyclic Mass
- Precisely a musical unit, not a liturgical one, nothing unified about the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus,
and Angus Dei, apart from unchanging texts
- Two are prayers, two are acclamations, and one is a profession of faith
- The new masses were large and impressively complex
- There was often a “Head motive” featuring the same foundation melody
- The motet went from the high style of the 14 CE, passed the motet into the domain of the cyclic
Mass, a kind of isorhythmic motet writ large.
“Caput” and the Beginnings of Four Part Harmony
- Continental composer adopted the cyclic Mass as the standard high mass genre from the English