Medieval Music (IV): French and Italian Music in the 14th Century

Europe in the 14th century became more unstable compared to before the 13th century. During this period, the religious churches began to have problems with corruption and the prestige of religion declined during this period. Between 1309 and 1377, the pope was forced to flee from Rome to Avignon, France, and during the Great Schism (1378 -1417), there were two popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon. In such an era, religious music gradually moved toward secularization, and the original medieval position of secular music gained Further established. Of the history of music in the 14th century, French and Italian music is the most representative.

I. French music
(i) “New art”

At the beginning of the fourteenth century, a number of new phenomena emerged in French music, and this new phenomenon was reflected in the further development of notation and the new The emergence of a new musical genre. The new musical trend was represented by the French composer and poet Philippe de Vitry. (de Vitry, 1291–1361).

Vitry wrote a treatise at the time called Ars nova (The New Art), in which he addressed some of the problems of “ancient art” and discussed his views on the development and improvement of music in the 14th century. In this treatise, he discussed his views on the development and improvement of music in the 14th century in relation to the problems of “ancient art”, and on the role of music in the development and improvement of music. It had a major impact on the musical world of the time. That’s why the period that followed, “French music”, is particularly known as the “Art Nouveau” period.

How did “Art Nouveau” develop and improve over “Art Moderne”? To summarize.

Firstly, Art Nouveau had a new notation. Wasn’t Franco’s equal measure notation mentioned before able to record relatively clear rhythms, but in Art Nouveau the types of rhythms were increased.

Secondly, rhythms could be “doubly divided” or “triple divided”. Previously, the religious churches were not allowed to “dichotomize” the rhythms of music, considering them “incomplete”. But now in Art Nouveau it is allowed, and there are also “triple divisions”. To put it in layman’s terms, in the past “half-beats” were not allowed, but now they are.

Thirdly, Art Nouveau has begun to use the “equal tempo” technique to create works. This is a very complex issue. In simple terms, it means that in polyphonic music, there is an A repeating rhythm appears in the vocal part, called “talea”; there is also a repeating melody in the In the vocal part, it is called “kleine” (color). This repetitive rhythm and the length of the repeated melody are determined by the composer, which makes for a more logical approach to creation.

Fourthly, Art Nouveau begins to have a “sense of harmony”, and its concept and method of termination becomes more complex.

(If you don’t understand this paragraph, please skip it, because if you do, you probably won’t remember it, haha.

One of the most iconic poetic plays of the Art Nouveau period is the Roman de Fauve’s Tale. (Fauvel). This story is mainly a mad satire of the crimes of the court and church of the time. The composers, represented by Vettori, composed the score for this poetic drama, that is, a score using these four characteristics I mentioned above. One of the pieces teaches “Fate of the Furious” and satirizes the church and political figures of the time. We can use the audio to get a feel for how the new art feels different from the music of the previous ancient art period.

(II) Mashow

Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) was a French The most famous composer of the “Art Nouveau” period. His compositions are very varied and include both religious and secular works, with a mixture of conservative and radical styles.

Among his secular polyphonic works, the Ballade is the most representative. When composing secular works, Marceau usually sings the words in the upper part of the polyphony, leaving the other parts without words, as in the case of the ballade. The song is one of the genres in which the music is written. When composing, it is often necessary to write the uppermost part of the voice, a style of composition called the “narrative style” or “cantilevers” ( (cantilena style). There are also occasional two voices in Marceau’s compositions that have sung lyrics. We begin with a narrative song by Marceau, “Only She Can Count the Stars in the Sky.

In his religious music, Marceau composed many scripture songs. It is noteworthy that, in addition to the Art Nouveau style of composition that was popular at the time, he also used the “decomposition Melody” compositional technique and “musical concept of the suite”. The “melodic decomposition” involves adding rests between the notes of the highest part of the polyphony to create an “interlacing” of the voices. The “musical concept of the suite” is embodied in his Madonna Mass, in which he takes the five pieces of music and uses them in a way that makes them sound like a “suite”. The structure of the suite goes to layout, which may suggest the later development of the suite and the symphonic sonata style.

Italian Music
Italy was in a state of anarchy in the 14th century, with various places falling apart, all with their own local traditions. Italian music did not have a basis for the development of polyphony, so during this period Italian music was mainly mono-melodic music, its polyphony It is usually accompanied by a single melody and is somewhat improvisatory in nature. In the second half of the 14th century, French music began to influence Italian music, and Italian music gradually began to develop a relatively sophisticated Polyphonic music.

There were three main secular genres of polyphonic music in 14th-century Italy: pastoral, hunting, and balata.

Madrigal, usually two-part, without accompaniment, with lyrics about pastoral subjects, love, etc.

Caccia, usually in two parts, with instrumental accompaniment, with lyrics about exciting scenes such as hunting.

Ballata, usually in two or three parts, appears later than the first two, and is used to accompany dance music.

The representative composer of Italian music is Francesco Landini (c. 1335-1397), he was a blind composer. He was very good at writing batalas and established a particular mode of musical termination in his compositions, the “Landini termination”. In simple terms, the music ends with a 7th-6th-1st step at the end.