Musica Mensurabilis Early Modern Music

Cantus lenis? Some mistakes in the modern reception of the Nightingale motet

Or, is anyone really listening?

Verdelot’s Mass

While listening to Verdelot’s Philomena mass1, I was struck by a certain detail which remained with me long after the music has ended. The ending of the Credo (see Figure 1, which reproduces the Verdelot Opera Omnia2) contains a plagal cadential extension which is exceedingly elegant. These extensions are commonplace in the motet and masses of the 16th century since they add weight to the authentic cadence and provide a sense of closure to a long work that the usual short cadential gestures of the period were not able to supply. Usually, at least one voice holds the finalis of the mode, in this case the soprano D, while the other voices circle the consonant scale degrees under it. Verdelot’s altus, which leaps between the 3rd and flattened 6th degree of the mode, is entirely typical, as is the G-F-G-D (or 4-3-4-1 in terms of scale degree) motion in the bass. What makes this passage extraordinary is the insistent leap to B-flat in the altus and the subsequent heartrending 7-6 suspension leading to a stark bare 5th in the final chord. Delitiae Musicae’s sensitive performance, with a tastefully applied ritenuto, adds greatly to the poignancy of the moment.

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Contrapuntal diagrams in Lilypond

Milsomgrams

Over the past decade or so, John Milsom has developed an idiosyncratic presentation of contrapuntal analysis of music in Josquin’s generation and beyond1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Figure 1 below demonstrates how the beginning of the famous Absalon motet is rendered under such a diagram 6

Figure 1: Crop of example 1 from Surface, Structure and ‘Style’, page 263

Figure 1: Crop of example 1 from Surface, Structure and ‘Style’, page 263

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Review: Guillaume Du Fay - Missa Se La Face Ay Pale

Recordings Conductor Group Vocal forces Duration Andrew Kirkman The Binchois Consort 4 voices, falsettist superius 34:30 Giuseppe Maletto Cantica Symphonica 7 voices, female superius, instruments 38:27 Antoine Guerber Diabolus in Musica 8 voices, falsettist superius 38:29 Jesse Rodin Cut Circle 8 voices, female superius 28:41 - The Hilliard Ensemble 4 voices, falsettist superius 32:02 Introduction Du Fay's Se La Face Ay Pale mass was the first mass he composed after absorbing the influence of the English Caput mass, and the first of four late cantus firmus masses that he left to us1.

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a history since now

The Hapsburg Connection On the 5th of January, 1477, Charles the Bold died, thus ended the illustrious Burgundian line of the Valois dynasty. He perished in the same reckless manner as he lived, in the midst of battle as he tried to unify his fragmented territories. As the Duke of Burgundy, Charles was in possession of huge swathes of land inside both the kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire.

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