By James McKinnon
From the sequence studying the advance of track in particular areas in the course of specific occasions, this publication seems at historic and medieval track, from Classical and Christian antiquity to the emergence of the Gregorian chant and the medieval city and Court.
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Additional resources for Antiquity and the Middle Ages: From Ancient Greece to the 15th century
Machaut's secularism is characteristic of the entire period. We witness it in every facet of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century life, and, again, while it may suggest decline from the limited viewpoint of the thirteenth-century medieval consensus, it can hardly be construed as such from a broader historical perspective. The musical climax of the century comes in the refined chanson composition of the Avignon school, the so-called Ars Subtilior, that emulated and ultimately far exceeded the rhythmic complexity represented in some ofMachaut's later works.
A canon ofNotre Dame Cathedral, Leonin was composing this music during the very years that the Gothic choir of the building was under construction, yet most fail to perceive anything particularly Gothic about it. If anything, with the protracted stasis of its lower voice and the rhapsodic windings of its upper voice, it reminds one of twentieth-century minimalism. This is not to deny the existence of such relationships at other times and places in the history of music. The grandeur and the kaleidoscopic orchestral colour of] ohann Sebastian Bach's overtures for orchestra, to choose just one example from his works, find a striking aesthetic resonance in Balthasar Neumann's great staircase and hall at Wiirzburg.
Still, the larger truth corresponds well enough with the line of thought under consideration. The entire period of monastic and Romanesque ascendancy was not a particularly productive one in the area of music theory after Guido and Pseudo-Odo. From Burgundy and Aquitaine virtually nothing was achieved in this field, so that the climax of medieval monastic polyphony, the music of what was formerly designated the St Martial or Limoges school, goes without an explanation of its rhythmic conventions.