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Contents

Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century

MORE ELABORATE PATTERNING

Chapter:
CHAPTER 8 Business Math, Politics, and Paradise: The Ars Nova
Source:
MUSIC FROM THE EARLIEST NOTATIONS TO THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

In keeping with the idea of discordia concors, which emphasized belief in a hidden order and unity behind the world’s apparent chaos, composers of Ars Nova motets placed particular emphasis on subtle patterning that unified and reconditely organized the heterogeneous surface of their work. One can bring this aspect of Tribum/Quoniam/MERITO to light by comparing mm. 10–13 in the transcription with mm. 34–37. The repetition thus uncovered initiates an interlocking series of periodicities that crosscut the more obvious periodicity of the tenor. The same melodic phrases in the triplum and duplum will turn up again in mm. 58–62, and the triplum-duplum combination in mm. 22–25 will recur in mm. 46–49 and again in mm. 70–73. Every one of these spots corresponds to a progression in the tenor from E to D, which crosscuts the tenor’s more obviously repeating rhythmic ordo or talea (since in every case the E is the end of an ordo and the D is the beginning of another). And the thrice-recurring pair of alternating repetitions in the upper voices—mm. 10–13/22–25, 34–37/46–49 and 58–62/70–73 (ABABAB)—crosscut the tenor’s double cursus, which begins right between the members of the middle pair (just after our example breaks off). This is an especially significant hidden periodicity, for it imposes on the structure of the motet at its most encompassing level a “perfect/imperfect” duality (three repeated pairs vs. two tenor cursus) that reflects the duality of note-value relationships at the heart of the Ars Nova system.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 8 Business Math, Politics, and Paradise: The Ars Nova." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 29 Jul. 2014. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-008008.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 8 Business Math, Politics, and Paradise: The Ars Nova. In Oxford University Press, Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 29 Jul. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-008008.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 8 Business Math, Politics, and Paradise: The Ars Nova." In Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 29 Jul. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-008008.xml
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