By Robert Toft
The oral traditions surrounding the appliance of sharps and apartments to sixteenth century vocal tune are documented in terms of theoretical literature, vocal assets, and intabulations of vocal song. unique reference is made to the motets of Josquin Desprez, Clemens non Papa, and Alexander Agricola.
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Additional resources for Aural Images of Lost Tradition: Sharps and Flats in the Sixteenth Century
Similar remarks were made by Ramis de Pereia (1482),24 and all of the theorists quoted here on this matter underline the freedom with which Renaissance musicians interpreted the notated page. In fact, Ramis de Pereia expanded his discussion of the semitonium subintellectum to include the following three melodic figures: Unde dicit ipse quod si cantus psallet acd et non revertatur ad c: quamvis deberet dici re fa sol ut ordo demonstrat Debet tamen dici ut mi fa propter hoc quia ac non est semiditoni.
And if it cannot be remedied in this manner for a particular reason, it is to be remedied in the lower voice with the black key that is fa. 19 He acknowledges that while octaves should be approached by major sixths, some impediment, namely, vertical dissonance, may prevent the inclusion of the subsemitone. 7 Chromatic progressions at clausulae Theoretical Framework sections marked with an asterisk). In each case, the subsemitone normally would have been incorporated on the first note of the bar, except that if it had been employed, dissonance would have been incurred.
What will emerge, however, is an understanding of how performers during the sixty years after his death interpreted the vocal sources of his motets. Treatment of Cadences The intabulations provide ample opportunity to view the cadential use of the subsemitone in five modal groups: Dorian 'Memor esto' Dorian cantus mollis (Dorian transposed to 'G' with a signature ofB[>) 'Ave Maria ... 1 Subsemitonal, subtonal, and suprasemitonal cadences in the motet intabulations Mode Cadences (%) Dorian (1 motet) Primary D 64sst 36 st A Secondary Transitory F C 100 sst 100 sst E G Primary G 89 sst list D Secondary Transitory B^ F 100 sst 100 sst A C Primary E 100 sast A Secondary Transitory C D 100 sst 80 sst 20 st G 63 sst 37 st 100 st Primary Secondary F A C 100 sst Transitory G 100 sst 8 sst 92 sast 80 sst 20 st D 90 sst 10 st Primary Secondary G C 100 sst 100 sst D 100 sst Dorian cantus mollis (8 motets) Phrygian (1 motet) Lydian cantus mollis (4 motets) Mixolydian (1 motet) 58 sst 34 st 8 sast 100 sast 100 st 48 sst 26 st 26 sast 100 sast 86 sst 14 st Notes: sst = subsemitone, st = subtone, sast = suprasemitone.
Aural Images of Lost Tradition: Sharps and Flats in the Sixteenth Century by Robert Toft