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The two-part conductus: morphology, dating and authorship

The two-part conductus: morphology, dating and authorship
The two-part conductus: morphology, dating and authorship
The conductus repertoire was widely cultivated between c.1160 and the late thirteenth century, and it comprises Latin texts set to both monophony and polyphony. Unlike the organum and the motet, the conductus does not normally exploit any pre-existing musical or poetic material. This makes the polyphonic share of conductus material the first newly composed, coherent repertoire for more than one voice. This thesis focuses on the two-part conductus. It aims at exploring the authorial and historical context in which it was created, analysing and categorising the interaction between its syllabic and melismatic sections, and describing its development over the life span of the corpus. The conductus is introduced and presented within the broader context of music of its time. It is argued that most of the extant testimonies of conductus were subject to several stages of reworking, and a multitude of personalities are credited with the creation of the repertoire as a whole. Furthermore, the study discusses some particular cases of contested attribution and proposes new authorial identifications. The analytical description that follows challenges the current view of the polyphonic conductus as a rigid juxtaposition of syllabic cum littera and melismatic sine littera sections. Such a sharp division does not take into account the complex structure of the syllabic cum littera music. The analytical study consequently undertaken describes all melismatic features of the two-voice conductus. Two groups of melismas are identified. The first, framing caudae, typically covers a structural role. The second, internal caudae, interacts actively with all the components of the song: text, meter, rhymes, and meaning of the poem. The last section of this work examines the evolution of the use of melismas throughout the lifespan of the genre. The study is accomplished by building on the previous analytical investigation, diminishing ambiguities due to the relatively small sample of datable songs. The terminal cauda results being the main feature of the repertoire, initially set to all stanzas. The initial cauda was instead either set to all stanzas or not used at all. The approach to framing caudae becomes more flexible after the end of the twelfth century. Internal caudae were instead always used by conducti composers.
Mazzeo, Jacopo
3c82fedc-5c97-40f1-906d-8b0854782657
Mazzeo, Jacopo
3c82fedc-5c97-40f1-906d-8b0854782657
Everist, Mark
54ab6966-73b4-4c0e-b218-80b2927eaeb0

(2015) The two-part conductus: morphology, dating and authorship. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 375pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The conductus repertoire was widely cultivated between c.1160 and the late thirteenth century, and it comprises Latin texts set to both monophony and polyphony. Unlike the organum and the motet, the conductus does not normally exploit any pre-existing musical or poetic material. This makes the polyphonic share of conductus material the first newly composed, coherent repertoire for more than one voice. This thesis focuses on the two-part conductus. It aims at exploring the authorial and historical context in which it was created, analysing and categorising the interaction between its syllabic and melismatic sections, and describing its development over the life span of the corpus. The conductus is introduced and presented within the broader context of music of its time. It is argued that most of the extant testimonies of conductus were subject to several stages of reworking, and a multitude of personalities are credited with the creation of the repertoire as a whole. Furthermore, the study discusses some particular cases of contested attribution and proposes new authorial identifications. The analytical description that follows challenges the current view of the polyphonic conductus as a rigid juxtaposition of syllabic cum littera and melismatic sine littera sections. Such a sharp division does not take into account the complex structure of the syllabic cum littera music. The analytical study consequently undertaken describes all melismatic features of the two-voice conductus. Two groups of melismas are identified. The first, framing caudae, typically covers a structural role. The second, internal caudae, interacts actively with all the components of the song: text, meter, rhymes, and meaning of the poem. The last section of this work examines the evolution of the use of melismas throughout the lifespan of the genre. The study is accomplished by building on the previous analytical investigation, diminishing ambiguities due to the relatively small sample of datable songs. The terminal cauda results being the main feature of the repertoire, initially set to all stanzas. The initial cauda was instead either set to all stanzas or not used at all. The approach to framing caudae becomes more flexible after the end of the twelfth century. Internal caudae were instead always used by conducti composers.

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Published date: May 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Music

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Local EPrints ID: 389789
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/389789
PURE UUID: 3fb4afb1-ed9c-4299-906a-45bf5f45174b

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Date deposited: 15 Mar 2016 11:42
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 19:32

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