Guillaume de Machaut is the most important poet and composer of the 14th century, with a lasting history of influence. This ranges from general remarks about poetics and other aesthetic concepts to details about the composition of particular pieces, questions about their fixing and transmission in writing and their realization in sound. Biographical details also allow the works to be placed in a social context. Oxford Music Online.
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Guillaume de Machaut c. Machaut's life Earning a living Money in the middle ages Machaut's residence in Reims Machaut's epitaph Travel in the middle ages John of Bohemia The calamitous fourteenth century? Philippe de Vitry. Kyrie Gloria. How to make a motet: M8. Kyrie The Kyrie consists of three distinct textual and melodic sections, each stated three times in succession for a total of nine: Kyrie eleison Lord have mercy Christe eleison Christ have mercy Kyrie eleison Lord have mercy The chant melody for the two Kyrie sections are often related, but not here, so the overall melodic form is A B C.
Performers would likely alternate these polyphonic settings with monophonic chant, though it would also be possible simply to repeat the polyphony. In the first Kyrie statement, the pitches of the chant are distributed in rhythmic units four measures long in transcription.
The melody is presented in full, once. The two upper voices move at approximately the same rhythmic level as the tenor and contratenor. That means the tenor does not have the kind of foundational role it does in most contemporary motets, where it has notes much longer than the parts written above it. The generally similar rhythmic movement of both upper and lower voices, however, may be another factor encouraging more continuous motion, and the effect is rather one of four equal voices in through-composed music.
The upper-voice and lower-voice pairs are more rhythmically differentiated in the Christe and in Kyrie II and III than in the opening section, because the upper voices use shorter note values. The tenor phrases are also longer twelve and eight measures, respectively. Moreover, the Christe introduces rising and falling scalar passages of a sort we will find prominently stated in the Gloria.
Kyrie II and III not only use short notes in the upper voices, but also add passages of syncopation and hocket that provide increased rhythmic drive toward the end of the movement. This too is a technique borrowed from the motet. The entire Kyrie, then, uses compositional techniques borrowed from the motet, but the result is appreciably different. The Kyrie, unlike contemporary chant-based motets, sounds like a through-composed piece with a fundamentally equal-voiced texture—in other words, a texture similar to that used in the Gloria and Credo.
Messe de Nostre Dame (Machaut, Guillaume de)
Guillaume de Machaut c. Machaut's life Earning a living Money in the middle ages Machaut's residence in Reims Machaut's epitaph Travel in the middle ages John of Bohemia The calamitous fourteenth century? Philippe de Vitry. Kyrie Gloria. How to make a motet: M8.
Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame : an overview
It is uncertain if the manuscripts collected together various settings of sections of the Mass or if they were intended to be performed as a whole. There was nothing - a repeating motive, or a similarity in compositional style - that tied the individual parts together. By the mids this changed with the composition of Guillaume de Machaut's Mass of Our Lady, the earliest known polyphonic setting of the Mass by a single composer. Why Guillaume composed it has been subject of a heated debate in musicological circles for some time. The first scholars felt that it was written for the coronation of Charles V in the cathedral at Rheims, map , where Machaut had been a canon since the s, was traditionally the site for French coronation ceremonies. Later scholarship, using the name as an entrypoint and confirmed by the use of Kyrie IV as a cantus-firmus, felt that the Mass was written for a Marian feast day, such as the Nativity.
Widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of medieval music and of all religious music, it is historically notable as the earliest complete setting of the Ordinary of the Mass attributable to a single composer in contrast to earlier compilations such as the Tournai Mass. The Gloria and Credo have no apparent chant basis, although they are stylistically related to one another. Machaut's Messe de Nostre Dame is for four voices rather than the more common three. Machaut added a contratenor voice that moved in the same low range as the tenor , sometimes replacing it as the lowest voice.