Miller, Jonathan Marcus : Word-sound and Musical Texture in the Mid-sixteenth-century Venetian Madrigal


'Dissertation. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1991, under the direction of James Haar'

Referentie vermeld in :

Schiltz, Katelijne : Rore, Rorus, Cipriano, Ciprianus, de (MGG) (Schiltz, Katelijne (19992007))
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill : The Musical Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (
page: : Dissertations 1990-1999 : Jonathan Marcus Miller : Abstract :
'Around 1540, the composers Adrian Willaert, Cipriano de Rore, and Willaert's pupils worked within a culture filled with a new spirit of invention in the Italian language. Venice was under the aesthetic spell of the great poetic theorist Pietro Bembo, who developed a comprehensive neo-Ciceronian theory of linguistics, syntax, accent, and even affect for individual vowels and consonants. Recent research has linked syntactical rigor and variety in Willaert's music with this theory; the specific Bembist emphasis on word-sound and accent shapes my focus for musical analysis. Through detailed examination of diction, I show these composers to be highly sensitive to linguistic matters. Composers frequently arrange rhythm and texture to highlight internal textual similarities. Favorite methods include aligning sounds vertically in different voices (with assonant or alliterative attacks) and forming consecutive sound-clusters and accents.
Following an introduction to my methods, I analyze the four-voice madrigals in Willaert's great collection Musica nova (written c. 1538-1545, published in 1559). The unusually dense textures in these four works emphasize phonic sonorities. I then expand my inquiry to include cinquecento ideas of poetic accent and study Willaert's structural uses of accent in Musica nova madrigals 5 and 6. In Chapter 4, I compare seven madrigals from Venice and Florence, written to the same Petrarchan sonnet. Imitative writing produces some sound-alignments as a matter of course; however, in exhaustive embedding of poetic sound in musical texture, non-Venetian madrigals fall far short of Venetian ones. I also compare a previously unnoticed madrigal pair (by Arcadelt and Willaert), which demonstrates further the distinctiveness of the Venetian approach to poetry in polyphony. In Chapter 5, I provide a new assessment of Rore's imitative process in the Primo libro (1542), showing its relationship to word-sound and demonstrating its flexibility. Challenging prevailing notions, I show that his melodies frequently imitate material from the middle of earlier entries and even from earlier passages. I also offer new speculations about Rore's influences on Willaert, as Rore follows Willaert's phonic style only in part. In conclusion, I combine analytical tools in a detailed study of Rore's "Hor che'l ciel." This study shows the profound influence of humanistic thinking and literary criticism on an entire repertoire and offers a new way of studying polyphonic vocal music'

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