| Margaret Bent | Kyung-Hee Choi | Alice V. Clark | Jeannette D. Jones | Ryan R. Kangas | Dominic Leo | Vivian Ramalingam | Anna Russakoff | Anna Zayaruzny |
The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business luncheon at the 2005 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies; titles and abstracts follow.
Can one speak of a “tonal center” in a
medieval motet? There is clearly no sense that a motet must begin and
end on the same sonority, and a modern sense of tonal “coherence”
obviously does not apply to medieval music in general and to the motet
in particular, but is there any way in which the final is more than
simply the last sonority heard? How can a medieval composer organize
harmony in a motet, which is usually based on a chant fragment that
belongs to a wholly different, modal, system? I would like to begin to
investigate these questions by examining a small group of
fourteenth-century motets, mostly by Guillaume de Machaut, that share a
single final (D), to see if one can locate any sense of a D
“tonality”—or indeed if (as is the case a bit later, as Cristle Collins
Judd has shown) there may in fact be several ways of projecting such a
tonality. This is a useful test group not only because it is relatively
small (a total of nine motets, including two based on secular songs and
three that do not have identified chant sources), but also because it
includes cases where the motet final is different from the final of the
tenor’s chant source. This difference between chant mode and tenor
final may have an effect on tonal issues, influencing for instance the
composer’s choice of secondary tonal areas. Scholars have not paid much
attention to this aspect, but preliminary work by the present author
suggests it is worth further study. This investigation will also as
needed include a consideration of how tonalities are projected in
polyphonic songs, where harmonic issues are in some ways clearer.
This paper will focus on the distinct voice-roles of the triplum and motetus in Machaut’s three-part motets. Traditionally, these parts are perceived as being differentiated only by their ranges, but closer study reveals that each voice is governed by different melodic and contrapuntal guidelines. Similarly, certain rhythmic gestures are consistently found in one, but not both, of the two upper voices. A difference in the rates of text-declamation also helps to desinate the triplum from the motetus, since triplum, with its longer text, tends towards shorter note-values. In several of the motets, the two voices also differ in content, whether due to different languages, or different viewpoints. In some cases, as with Motet 14, the two narratives actually contradict each other.
Once these voice-roles are investigated, I will consider the function of voice-crossings in selected motets. Since range is a basic identity-marker for a voice in a 14th-century motet, voice-crossings provide an opportunity for the individual voices to behave in uncharacteristic ways. I have previously discussed the semantic role of the 11-breve voice-crossing in Motet 14. Similar uses of voice-crossings may be seen in Motets 15 and 12. In the case of the latter, the upset in the natural order of the voices can be linked with the goddess Fortuna, as it is in Motet 14. In several other motets, brief crossings of the motetus over the triplum are used to clarify the poetic structure of the text by bringing to the musical foreground the beginning of a new phrase.
Special consideration will be given to
the two motets that begin with the motetus above the triplum.
The case of Motet 12, in which the voices switch roles exactly halfway
through the piece, will be used to explore Machaut’s manipulation of
the “stereotypical” voice-roles that may be seen in his other motets.
The V&A Missal of Saint-Denis (London,
Victoria and Albert Museum, Ms. L. 1346-1891), several miniatures of
which have been attributed to the “Master of the Remède de Fortune”
in the Machaut manuscript (Paris, B.n.F. Ms. Fr. 1586), includes two
folios illuminated with the foundation legends of the abbey of
Saint-Denis. My analysis of these unusual miniatures, rarely
found in the illuminated service books at Saint-Denis as well as at
other churches, reveals an intricate relationship among the liturgical,
hagiographical, and visual resources available to the monks of
Saint-Denis in the mid-fourteenth century. By associating the
visual images used to embellish two of the most important Dionysian
feasts with liturgical readings based on the hagiographic literature, I
emphasize that the employment of the gifted artist like the Remède
de Fortune Master was most suitable for the special images
depicting the abbey’s patron saint and its prominent royal patron, King
In addition to his role as a
Benedictine prior, Gautier de Coinci (c. 1177-1236) was a poet and a
songwriter. He is best known for his French octosyllabic verses
that recount 58 miracles of the Virgin Mary; he was also the first to
compose sacred Marian songs in the vernacular. Gautier’s literary
success is attested by the survival of 95 manuscripts that contain at
least a fragment of his text. A large proportion of the Gautier
de Coinci codices are illustrated, and this extensive body of imagery
has received surprisingly little scholarly attention. This paper
will focus primarily upon the visual aspects of the deluxe early 14th-century
copy that was illustrated by Jean Pucelle and his collaborators.
The survival of 78 high-quality images in this manuscript gives us a
unique opportunity to examine relationships between the illuminations,
the poetic verses, and the songs. This paper considers the full
cycle of minatures in relation to their codicological surroundings for
the first time. For example, n.acq.fr. 24541 features variations
in its mise-en-page, and emphases are created by both the sizes and the
placement of the images. Furthermore, n.acq.fr. 24541, along with
Besançon, Bibliothèque municipale ms. 551, are the only two manuscripts
that contain illustrations to Gautier’s songs. This paper will
also address some of the manuscript’s complex image-text relationships,
including the one divergence from and several additions to the
narrative. It will uncover several subtle additions in the
iconography, in micro-narratives such as the Jew of Bourges and
the Marian Image Insulted, that serve to deepen the didactic
messages of the miracles. N.acq.fr. 24541 provides us with an
example of (pre-Wagnerian) artistic synthesis, and it also reveals ways
in which imagery combined with the music and the text can tailor
meanings in a codex, updating it for a 14th-century royal
audience and context.
The illuminated manuscripts containing the
collected music and literature of Guillaume de Machaut present a rich
opportunity to explore image-music-text rapports. The miniature heading
the motets in MS A (of c. 1370) – possibly made under Machaut’s
supervision – depicts a group of men standing around a wine keg,
who sing from a scroll. This paper will touch on three aspects of the
miniature which may lead to breakthroughs in understanding the creation
and use of this manuscript: iconography, patronage and image-music
rapports. The varied secular and clerical dress of the men distinctly
sets this image apart from the religious iconographic tradition.
The iconography used here in A reappears in both another
Machaut MS and “Giovanni de’Grassi’s” sketchbook (c. 1380-1400). The
latter is connected with the Visconti family into which Isabelle de
France, daughter of Machaut patroness Bonne de Luxembourg, married in
1360. Was it copied from MS A, giving us an idea of patronage? Isabelle
and her daughter, Valentina, were known for their love of music,
dancing and the harp. Third, I will address rapports with the motet it
precedes (Quant en moy / Amour, M1).
Among Guillaume de Machaut's large body of works carefully assembled into manuscripts of his complete works, Machaut's motets, with their polyphonic settings of multiple texts, are an intriguing instance of a joining of his musical and poetic genres. This paper will show that Motet 12 (Helas! pour quoy virent / Corde mesto / Libera me) is a particularly interesting example of Machaut's amalgamation of genre.
With a French triplum and Latin motetus, it is one of his two bilingual motets. The complaint against Fortune, explicit in the motetus and implicit in the triplum readily suggest Machaut's narrative poem Remede de Fortune and, by extension, Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, already a model for Machaut in Remede. The text of the triplum and motetus, taking on different guises of courtly and clerkly respectively, could be seen as a direct recasting of the Lover's complaint against Fortune in Remede.
Musically Motet 12 is about song. The tenor even begins, "With a sad heart I complain in song." The three colors of the isorhythmic structure seem to divide the whole motet into three stanzas and already match the three stanzas of the Latin poem in the motetus. There even exists in each color a refrain-like passage, in which all the voices participate, reminiscent of the formes fixes.
With its simultaneous sounding of different texts, the medieval motet presents many obstacles to understanding, which can be turned around to become interpretive windows into these textually dense works. Kevin Brownlee proposes the existence of “three different but complementary kinds of intertextuality” in operation in motets: dialogue between the upper voices, dialogue between the upper voices and an external source, and dialogue between the upper voices and the meaning of the tenor in its original liturgical context. According to this formulation, motet texts have not only their own meaning, but also the meaning created through the interaction of the texts. With Machaut’s motet 7 as a focal point, this study aims to investigate the various sources of meaning created in such a piece. Some sources of meaning include the poetic texts, the interactions of the poetic texts in the motet, the role motet 7 plays in the larger collection of Machaut’s motets, and the musical-poetic structure of the motet.
The first portion of this paper addresses
the intertextuality of the motet texts, noting specifically the complex
(and potentially multiple) gendering of the voices, while tracing the
themes of betrayal and mercy that obtain in all three texts.
Moving to the level of poetic and musical structure, the second portion
of the study examines how the textual themes are reflected in certain
numeric features of the structure of the motet – the numbers 13 and 17
gird the poetic-musical structure of motet 7 and are tied in Christian
numerology to betrayal and mercy.
This paper supports Anne Walters
Robertson's contention that the motet cycle that is included in
Machaut's works in this genre comprises 17 compositions. The
question of the significance of numbers (structural and referential) in
this repertory is addressed. The reasons why the story of Joseph,
and not that of Christ as Harrower of Hell occupies the center of this
motet cycle are explained.
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