Saturday, January 1, 8220

Anon Authors (b. c. 1220) of Ars Antiqua Motets

Ars Antiqua Motet Author (b. c. 1220) - Alle, Psallite - Alleluya (c. 1250)

[Alle Psallite - Page 2]

Amor Potest (c. 1250)

In Mari Miserie (c. 1250)

O Mitissima - Hec Dies (c. 1250)

S'on me Regard (c. 1250)

Instrumental Motet for In Saeculum


Ars antiqua, also called ars vetus, refers to the music of Europe of the late Middle Ages between approximately 1170 and 1310, covering the period of the Notre Dame school of polyphony and the subsequent years which saw the early development of the motet. Usually the term is restricted to sacred music, excluding the secular song of the troubadours and trouvères; however sometimes the term is used more loosely to mean all European music of the thirteenth century and slightly before. The term ars antiqua is used in opposition to ars nova, which refers to the period of musical activity between approximately 1310 and 1375.

Almost all composers of the ars antiqua are anonymous. Léonin (fl. late 12th century) and Pérotin (fl. c.1180 – c.1220) were the two composers known by name from the Notre Dame school; in the subsequent period, Petrus de Cruce, a composer of motets, is one of the few whose name has been preserved.

In music theory the ars antiqua period saw several advances over previous practice, most of them in conception and notation of rhythm. The most famous music theorist of the first half of the 13th century, Johannes de Garlandia, was the author of the De mensurabili musica (about 1240), the treatise which defined and most completely elucidated the rhythmic modes. A German theorist of a slightly later period, Franco of Cologne, was the first to describe a system of notation in which differently shaped notes have entirely different rhythmic values (in the Ars Cantus Mensurabilis of approximately 1260), an innovation which had a massive impact on the subsequent history of European music. Most of the surviving notated music of the 13th century uses the rhythmic modes as defined by Garlandia.

The ars antiqua is sometimes divided into two rough periods, known as the early Gothic and the high Gothic. The early Gothic includes the French music composed in the Notre Dame school up until about 1260, and the high Gothic all the music between then and about 1310 or 1320, the conventional beginning of the ars nova. The forms of organum and conductus reached their peak development in the early Gothic, and began to decline in the high Gothic, being replaced by the motet.

Though the style of the ars antiqua went out of fashion rather suddenly in the first two decades of the 1300's, it had a late defender in Jacques of Liège (alternatively Jacob of Liège), who wrote a violent attack on the "irreverent and corrupt" ars nova in his Speculum Musicae (c.1320), vigorously defending the old style in a manner suggestive of any number of music critics from the Middle Ages to the present day. To Jacques, the ars antiqua was the musica modesta, and the ars nova was a musica lasciva -- a kind of music which he considered to be indulgent, capricious, immodest, and sensual.


In Western music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.

The name comes either from the Latin movere, ("to move") or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is "motectum." If from the Latin, the name describes the movement of the different voices against one another.
According to Margaret Bent (1997), "'a piece of music in several parts with words' is as precise a definition of the motet as will serve from the thirteenth to the late sixteenth century and beyond. This is actually very close to one of the earliest descriptions we have, that of the late thirteenth-century theorist Johannes de Grocheio." Grocheio was also one of the first scholars to define a motet. Grocheio believed that the motet was "not intended for the vulgar who do not understand its finer points and derive no pleasure from hearing it: it is meant for educated people and those who look for refinement in art."

The earliest motets arose, in the thirteenth century, out of the organum tradition exemplified in the Notre Dame school of Léonin and Pérotin. The motet arose from discant (clausula) sections, usually strophic interludes, in a longer sequence of organum, to which upper voices were added. Usually the discant represented a strophic sequence in Latin which was sung as a discant over a cantus firmus, which typically was a Gregorian chant fragment with different words from the discant. The motet took a definite rhythm from the words of the verse, and as such appeared as a brief rhythmic interlude in the middle of the longer, more chantlike organum.

The practice of discant over a cantus firmus marked the beginnings of counterpoint in Western music. From these first motets arose a medieval tradition of secular motets. These were two- or three-part compositions in which several different texts, sometimes in different vernacular languages, were sung simultaneously over a Latin cantus firmus that once again was usually adapted from a passage of Gregorian chant. It is suspected that, for the sake of intelligibility, in performance the cantus firmus and one or another of the vocal lines were performed on instruments.


In music, hocket is the rhythmic linear technique using the alternation of notes, pitches, or chords. This is opposed to the alternation of phrases, or antiphony. In medieval practice of hocket, the melody in two voices moves (sometimes quickly) back-and-forth in such a manner that one voice is still while the other moves, and vice-versa.

In European music, hocket was used primarily in vocal music of the 13th and early 14th centuries. It was a predominant characteristic of music of the Notre Dame school, during the ars antiqua, in which it was found in sacred vocal music. In the 14th century, the device was most often found in secular vocal music.

The phrase originated from its use to describe medieval French motets but is commonly used in contemporary music (Louis Andriessen's Hoketus), popular music (stereo panning), Indonesian gamelan music (interlocking patterns shared between two instruments -- called imbal in Java and Kotekan in Bali), Andean siku (panpipe) music (two pipe sets sharing the full number of pitches between them), and many African cultures such as the Ba-Benzélé, Mbuti, Basarwa (Khoisan), and Gogo (Tanzania). English-style church bellringing is related to hocket, as each ringer is performing on a separate instrument.


Isorhythm (from the Greek for "the same rhythm") is a musical technique that arranges a fixed pattern of pitches with a repeating rhythmic pattern. It consists of an order of durations or rhythms, called a talea ("cutting," plural taleae), which is repeated within a tenor melody whose pitch content or series, called the color (repetition), varied in the number of members from the talea. The term was coined in 1904 by Friedrich Ludwig to describe this practice in 14th and 15th century polyphonic motets but is also used in motets of the middle ages, the music of India, and by modern composers such as Alban Berg, Olivier Messiaen, and John Cage.

It may be used in all voices or only a few voices. In motets, it began in the tenor voice but was then extended to higher ones.

In modern usage, the term "isorhythm" is often associated with the practice of repeating two sets of parameters (such as duration and pitch) at different rates so that the values of one parameter are associated with different values of the other parameter at each repetition.

Ars nova composer Philippe de Vitry has been credited with the invention of the technique, but it "was neither an invention of Philippe de Vitry nor his exclusive property in the early fourteenth century." The isorhythmic construction was often varied through the use of strict or free rhythmic diminution in the repetition of the color.

Isorhythmic techniques were also used by Guillaume Dufay, but his work also marks the extensive use of the more fluid polyphonic styles of the early renaissance.

The talea was often a rhythmic mode. The color of isorhythm may be compared with the tone row of the twelve-tone technique's fixed order of pitches and varied durations. The modern musical innovation of integral serialism in the classes of Olivier Messiaen sprang from a study of the 12 tone compositions of Anton Webern and the isothythmic organization within motets of Guillaume de Machaut.

Coloration also refers to otherwise perfect notes colored red or with an open notehead to indicate the loss of 1/3 their duration, making them imperfect.

[8220 Notre Dame School / 8220 Ars Antiqua / 8217 Der Wilde Alexander]