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Contents

Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century

THE LITERARY REVOLUTION AND THE RETURN OF THE MADRIGAL

Chapter:
CHAPTER 17 Commercial and Literary Music
Source:
MUSIC FROM THE EARLIEST NOTATIONS TO THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin
The Literary Revolution and the Return of the Madrigal

ex. 17-13b Orlando di Lasso, Prophetiae Sibyllarum, Sibylla cimmeria, mm. 35-46

The extremity of style represented by Lasso’s sibyls, while eerily astonishing as befits the subject, is not unintelligible in musical terms, relying as it does on harmonies and progressions that, taken singly, were part of ordinary musical language. (The progressions are not even “chromatic” to any huge extent, as the sixteenth century defined the term, since even where accidentals are involved, the voices usually move by half step from one scale degree to another—the definition of diatonic motion—rather than by inflecting single scale degrees.) It is in the aggregate that they overwhelm. Still, although musically intelligible, such a style is not easily explained on purely musical grounds: that is, it would be hard to account for Lasso’s musical decisions or their motivation without taking the text into consideration. Are the motivations then “extra-musical”? Is the result “literary”? Do such motivations or such results make the product artistically impure? And is artistic impurity an artistic vice?

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 17 Commercial and Literary Music." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-017007.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 17 Commercial and Literary Music. In Oxford University Press, Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 24 Apr. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-017007.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 17 Commercial and Literary Music." In Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 24 Apr. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-017007.xml
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