Compositional Process and the Transmission of Notre Dame Polyphony

Busse Berger Anna Maria

in Medieval Music and the Art of Memory

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520240285
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930643 | DOI:
Compositional Process and the Transmission of Notre Dame Polyphony

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This chapter explores the possibility that the rhythmic modes of Notre Dame polyphony were used as a mnemonic device. It explains that the musical texts of the Notre Dame polyphony exhibit many features similar to those found in contemporary verbal texts, and it is increasingly clear that orality played a role in their composition and transmission. It suggests that the invention of modal rhythmic notation might be related to the contemporary passion for didactic quantitative Latin poetry, where difficult material was put into verse form so that it could be remembered better.

Keywords: Notre Dame polyphony; mnemonic device; rhythmic modes; verbal texts; orality; modal rhythmic notation; Latin poetry; verse form

Chapter.  13591 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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