Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Maniates, Maria Rika. “Mannerist Composition in Franco-Flemish Polyphony.” The Musical Quarterly 52 (January 1966): 17-36.

Scholars have perceived polytextual Franco-Flemish polyphony from 1450 to 1530 as medieval (rather than Renaissance) in style. In reality, such polyphony from this era demonstrates complexity, obscure symbolism, deliberate artificiality, and ingenuity that are all mannerist features from a more Renaissance than medieval spirit.

Polytextual polyphony from this era exhibits the mannerist tendency to demonstrate obscure relationships through uniting disparate texts and musical topoi in a deliberately artificial and ingenious form. Motets on sacred subjects were constructed on secular cantus firmi or on liturgical melodies whose original text differed from that of the polyphonic setting. Double- and triple-texted chansons often quoted one or more pre-existent melodies whose musical style and textual content differ radically from their polyphonic context. Besides uniting diverse melodic and poetic styles, the double chanson in its mature phase fuses antithetical structures, combining the asymmetrical formes fixes with symmetrical forms in canonic layout. As a result, each composition displays a starling disparity of musical styles. This disparity of styles is what distinguishes Renaissance polytextual polyphony from medieval polyphony: medieval polyphony strove to unify various elements into a coherent whole, while Renaissance polyphony deliberately juxtaposed various elements in a complex manner.

Works: Busnois: Puis qu’aultrement – Marchez là dureau (20-27); Compère: Plaine d’ennuy – Anima mea (28-29); Josquin: Videte omnes populi (30).

Sources: Anonymous (Sarum chant): Circumdederunt me (30).

Index Classifications: 1400s, 1500s

Contributed by: Amanda Jensen

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