Visualization and the Composition of Polyphonic Music

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:
Visualization and the Composition of Polyphonic Music

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This chapter is concerned with the impact of the art of memory on polyphonic music that was not improvised but written down. It attempts to explain how polyphonic compositions, in particular isorhythmic motets, could have been composed in the mind. It suggests that the memorization of consonance tables and interval progressions allowed one to work out pieces in the mind and that mnemotechnics also provided an important background to understanding isorhythmic motets.

Keywords: memory; polyphonic music; polyphonic compositions; isorhythmic motets; consonance tables; interval progressions; mnemotechnics

Chapter.  21836 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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