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Contenance angloise and accidentals in some motets by Du Fay

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2008

Thomas Brothers
Duke University


Again and again, one discovers two patterns of movement yielding innovations in the history of European music: regional styles that were previously distinct from one another merge together in synthesis, as do stylistic tendencies that were previously tied to different genres. Both patterns may be invoked in an attempt to historicize the use of accidentals in a handful of important motets by Guillaume Du Fay, including Nuper rosarum flores and the troped Ave regina celorum. Historians have hardly been unaware of the importance of the influence of English music on Du Fay, nor have they been unaware of Du Fay's interest in transferring stylistic features from one genre to another. But it is useful to bring these two perspectives together, especially given the advance of recent scholarship. Our analysis may proceed from the basis of two well-known statements from the period. The first, from a treatise (c. 1400) attributed to the composer Philipoctus de Caserta, states that:

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1 Boecius autem invenit fictam musicam propter duas causas, scilicet causa necessitaris et causa pulchritudinis cantus. Causa necessitaris est quia non poteramus habere consonantias in omnibus locis ut supra dictum est. Causa vero pulchritudinis ut patet in cantilenis. After Wilkins, Nigel, ‘Some Notes on Philipoctus de Caserta (c. 1360?–c. 1435)’, Nottingham Mediaeval Studies, 8 (1964), 95–9.Google Scholar On the attribution to Philipoctus, see, most recently, Strohm, Reinhard, ‘Filipotto da Caserta, owero i Francesi in Lombardia’, in In cantu et in sermone: For Nino Pirrotta on his 80th Birthday, ed. Seta, F. Delia and Piperno, F. (Florence, 1989), 6574Google Scholar; as cited in Strohm, , The Rise of European Music 1380–1500 (Cambridge, 1993), 59.Google Scholar

2 Carz ilz ont nouvelle pratique / De faire frisque concordance / En haulte et en basse musique / En fainte, en pause et en muance; / Et ont pris de la contenance / Angloise, et ensuy Dompstable; / Por quoy merveilleus plaisance / Rend leur chant joieux et notable. After Fallows, David, “The Contenance Angloise: English Influence on Continental Composers of the Fifteenth Century’, Renaissance Studies, 1 (1987), 189208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Fallows has legitimate doubts about Martin le Franc's reliability, and he suggests that Martin and Tinctoris (see below) were both indebted to Du Fay for their knowledge of English influence. This passage from Martin has been frequently translated, and my translation builds upon these previous attempts; it is especially indebted to Page, Christopher, ‘Reading and Reminiscence: Tinctoris on the Beauty of Music’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 49 (1996), 24.Google Scholar

3 Fuit autem inventa falsa musica propter duas causas, scilicet, causa necessitatis et causa pulchritudinis cantus per se. Causa necessitatis, quia non poteramus habere diapente, diatessaron, diapson, ut in locis visis in capitulo de proportionibus. Causa pulchritudinis, ut patet in cantilenis coronatis. After Anonymous II: Tractatus de Discantu (Concerning Discant), ed. and trans, (the passage quoted here includes my slight modifications) Albert Seay, Colorado College Music Press Texts/Translations 1 (Colorado Springs, 1978), 32–3. See Herlinger, Jan, The Lucidarium of Marchetto of Padua: A Critical Edition, Translation, and Commentary (Chicago, 1985), 3840Google Scholar, for discussion of the earliest source for this treatise. The treatise seems to have been formed as a combination of two previously independent works, as discussed by Seay, Tractatus de Discantu, i–iii.

4 At the end of the fifteenth century, Tinctoris defined cantilena: ‘Cantilena est cantus parvus, cui verba cuiuslibet materiae sed frequentius amatoriae supponunrur.’ (A cantilena is a small piece which is set to a text on any kind of subject, but more often to an amatory one.) Ed. and trans. Parrish, Carl, Johannes Tinctoris, Dictionary of Musical Terms by Johannes Tinctoris: An English Translation of Terminorum Musicae Diffinitorium Together with the Latin Text (London, 1963), 1213.Google Scholar

5 This is the argument I present in my Chromatic Beauty in the Late Medieval Chanson: An Interpretation of Manuscript Accidentals (Cambridge, 1997).

6 Modern editions for all of Du Fay's polyphonic compositions may be found in Besseler, Heinrich, ed., Guillaume Dufay Opera Omnia, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 1, 6 vols. (N.p.: American Institute of Musicology, 19511966)Google Scholar. For corrections to and commentary on this edition, see Fallows, David, The Songs of Guillaume Dufay: Critical Commentary to the Revision of Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae, ser. 1, vol. VI (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1994)Google Scholar. Except for the accidentals, the examples used in this article follow Besseler's edition, with minor adjustments.

7 Edition of Cesaris's A virtutis ignitio / Ergo, beata nascio / Benedicta filia tua a domino in Gilbert Reaney, ed., Early Fifteenth Century Music (hereinafter abbreviated as EFCM), Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 11/1 (N.p.: American Institute of Musicology, 1955), 32; the single accidental occurs at the final cadence, in the top voice.

8 Carmen's motets are edited by Reaney, EFCM I, 39–61. In the canonic Pontifici decori speculi, several accidentals have been deleted from Reaney's edition, presumably because of problematic dissonances. At bar 34, g-sharp is deleted (bar 37 of the canonically generated voice) and at bar 44 another g-sharp has been deleted (bar 47 of the canonically generated voice); for similar use of forceful g-sharps in other songs transmitted by this manuscript and related manuscripts, see my ‘Sharps in Medée fu: Questions of Style and Analysis’, forthcoming in Studi Musicali. Also, Reaney puts an f-sharp in parentheses at bar 6, communicating his doubt about the inflection; but the sudden turn away from the cadence on g and to a cadence on f is found elsewhere in Oxford 213 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Canonici Misc. 213), and it must be a stylistically legitimate event. On the other hand, it is possible to argue that someone has carelessly edited one part only, with no thought for how this top part fits with the other parts; this could be argued for Tapissier's Eya dulcis (see the next footnote), as well. Use in performance of the Oxford 213 copy of Carmen's Venite adoremus dominum (fols. 138v–139r) is indicated by little lines connecting syllables of text underlay to specific pitches.

9 Tapissier's Eya dulcis adque vernans rosa / Vale placens peroratrix is edited by Reaney, EFCM I, 72. Again, Reaney has deleted the accidentals from his edition. There should be c-sharp at bar 14 of the motetus and, more forcefully still (but still idiomatically, in my opinion), c-sharp at bar 109 of the same voice.

10 Edition of Guillaume Le Grant's songs by Reaney, EFCM II.

11 ‘Reading and Reminiscence’, 3. I leave haute and basse untranslated because they are generic categories for which we lack simple translations: haute designates music for the louder wind band, while basse designates music for the softer ensembles of strings and voice. Page observes that ‘contenance angloise’ stands as ‘the only known locution in Middle French that registers a wide-ranging sense of musical style’. It has been maintained by some scholars that ‘concordance’ must refer to vertical intervals. Yet it is often the case in the late Middle Ages that ‘concordance’ is used to describe both melody and what we call harmony; for recent discussion of this point, see Falconer, Keith, ‘Consonance, Mode and Theories of Musica Ficta’, Modality in the Music of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, ed. Günther, U., Finscher, L. and Dean, J., Musicological Studies and Documents 49 (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1996), 17.Google Scholar For example, ‘concord’ is used with reference to melodic motion by the Parisian Anonymous of 1375; see Ellsworth, Oliver B., ed. and trans., The Berkeley Manuscript: University of California Music Library, MS. 744 (olim Phillipps 4450) (Lincoln, Nebr., and London, 1984), 246.Google Scholar

12 Quo fit ut hac tempestate facultas nostrae musices tarn mirabile susceperit incrementum quod ars nova esse videatur, cuius, ut ita dicam, novae artis fons et origo apud Anglicos quorum caput Dunstaple exstitit, fuisse perhibetur, et huic contemporanei fuerunt in Gallia Dufay, et Binchois, quibus immediate successerunt moderni Okeghem, Busnois, Regis et Caron, omnium quos audiverim in compositione praestantissimi. After Proportionale musices, ed. Seay, A., Johannis Tinctoris Opera Theoretica, 2 vols. in 3, Corpus Scriptorum de Musica 22 (N.p.: American Institute of Musicology, 1975 and 1978), Ha: 10. The translation given above is from Strunk, Oliver, Source Readings in Music History: The Renaissance (New York, 1965), 5.Google Scholar

13 Quorum omnium omnia fere opera tantam suavitudinem redolent ut, mea quidem sententia, non modo hominibus heroibusque verum etiam Diis immortalibus dignissima censenda sunt. Quoted and translated by Page, ‘Reading and Reminiscence’, 17.

14 Here is the place to mention, as an aside, a statement from the Ars nova treatise (attributed to Philippe de Vitry) referred to by Page: ‘Semitonium, ut dicit Bernardus, est dulcedo et condimentum totius cantus, et sine ipso cantus esset corrosus, transformatus et dilaceratus’ (the semitone, according to Bernard, is the sweetness and salt of all music, and without it music will be corrupted, transformed and torn apart); Philippi de Vitriaco Ars Nova, ed. Reaney, G., Gilles, André and Maillard, Jean, Corpus Scriptorum de Musica 8 (Rome, 1964), 21.Google Scholar Page translates ‘condimentum totius cantus’, plausibly, as ‘the seasoning of all music’, and he relates this to other associations between music and smell. Equally plausible would be to translate ‘condimentum’ as ‘salt’, with the sense that salt is a preservative, for the passage emphasizes the role of the semitone as preserving good musical order. This more prosaic interpretation would place the remark in the context of traditional concerns of music theorists with semitones that must be measured, added, subtracted, coordinated, solmized, theorized, etc. The durability of this passage is notable, for it surfaces in Zarlino's Le lstitutioni harmoniche in the context of a defence of ‘propinquity inflections’ – that is, the adjustment of imperfect consonances by a semitone so that they are as close as possible to the perfect consonance into which they resolve; Le lstitutioni Harmoniche: Facsimile of the 1558 Venice Edition (New York, 1965), 156–7. From Zarlino the preserving semitone found its way into Rameau's Traite de L'Harmonie: Traite de L'Harmonie: Facsimile of the 1722 Paris Edition (New York, 1965), 55. The same Bernardus (it would seem) is quoted by Marchetto da Padua, Lucidarium in arte musice plane, ed. and trans. Jan W. Herlinger (Chicago, 1985); see the index of theorists and see, especially, pp. 394–5. There one finds another food metaphor for intervals: ‘as Bernardus says, species are dishes [at a] musical [banquet]; they create the modes.’ Herlinger reports that he is unable to trace these references in the writings of Bernardus; I assume that he is searching in the writings of Berno of Reichenau. It is reasonable to expect that a different Bernardus is being quoted. Since Philippe (whose direct authorship of Ars nova is in doubt, it should be said) and Marchetto were contemporaries, Bernardus may well have lived during the early fourteenth century. Perhaps the reference is to the writer Barlaam, known also as Bernardus, who visited Constantinople, debated with Nicephoros Gregoras about Ptolemy's views on music, taught Greek to Petrarch, and was in Avignon from 1339 on a diplomatic mission; for a short biographical sketch with bibliography, see Hughes, Andrew, ‘Barlaam’, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Sadie, Stanley (London, 1980), II, 163.Google Scholar

15 Page relates the idea of ‘frisque concordance’ to Du Fay's rondeaux; ‘Reading and Reminiscence’, 4. That is possible, of course, but I would rather construe the remark more broadly; and I would also hope to construe it more deeply, as a remark that goes beyond party songs. Stanley Boorman argues for a general change in melodic idiom for Du Fay that is noticeable in both sacred and secular polyphony and that was influenced by the English; see The Early Renaissance and Dufay’, The Musical Times, 65 (1974), 560–5.Google Scholar

16 Philip Kaye's dissertation is a valuable attempt to reckon with the phenomenon in a quantitative way, though one may object that the attempt lacks sufficient nuance; The ‘Contenance Angloise’ in Perspective: A Study of Consonance and Dissonance in Continental Music, c. 1380–1440 (London, 1989)Google Scholar. Kaye concludes (p. 267): ‘In the vast majority of “continental” pieces by Dunstable and Leonel, there is no evidence to suggest that harmonically they had anything to offer mainland Europe.’ Yet one suspects, still, that there is more to say about points of harmonic influence from England to the Continent. Kaye comes close to the emphasis made in the present study when he says (p. 269): ‘English music also incorporates highly consonant duets and these must have struck the ears of continental musicians most strongly, as their own two-part sections were usually quite dissonant. However it cannot have been the consonances per se which were found impressive… it was, rather, the appearance of them in this context and with the English rhythmic and melodic styles which would make them stand out.’

17 Liber de arte contrapuncti, ed. Seay, Albert, Corpus Scriptorum de Musica 22/11 (N.p.: American Institute of Musicology, 1975), 12;Google Scholar trans. Seay, Albert as The Art of Counterpoint (N.p.: American Institute of Musicology, 1961).Google Scholar

18 Stylistic Layers in the English Mass Repertory, c. 1400–1450’, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, 109 (19821983), 34 n. 29.Google Scholar

19 Left out of this discussion are polyphonic settings of Mass texts, other than those belonging to cantus-firmus Mass cycles. Also left out are changes in chanson style during the early fifteenth century, which some scholars have related to English activity. Having omitted these genres from the present discussion, Binchois' role, for one, is slighted. One could probably construct an argument about English influence on Binchois that would have little in common with the present argument. For discussions of Binchois, see, most recently, Strohm, The Rise of European Music, 24411, and (on the chansons) Kemp, Walter, Burgundian Court Song in the Time of Binchois: the Anonymous Chansons of El Escorial, MS V. 111. 24 (Oxford, 1990).Google Scholar Tantalizingly, there is also the recent discovery that a Credo attributed to Binchois quotes nearly forty bars of an English carol, Pray for us thou prince of peace; this is noted by Fallows, David, review of The Sacred Music of Gilles Binchois in Early Music, 22 (1993), 284,Google Scholar who cites the discovery of Robert Mitchell (doctoral thesis, University of Exeter, 1989; I thank Andrew Kirkman for this reference). In the face of these alternative lines of analysis, one may, at the least, simply acknowledge the likelihood that there were probably several different dimensions to contenance angloise.

20 As defined here, ‘cantilena motet’ is partly a matter of text-type and more a matter of song-like texture and format. Indeed, each of the three genres I am working with in this article (cantilena motet, isorhythmic motet and cantus-firmus Mass cycle) takes its definition through this same intersection of text-type and compositional practice, with emphasis on the latter. This puts the greater weight of generic classification on compositional traditions, relative to poetry or function. Clearly, the category of ‘cantilena motet’ must be able to accommodate chanson-like settings of Marian antiphons. Famously, MS Modena Biblioteca Estense, aX.1.11 announces a large group of pieces with the words ‘Hie Incipiunt Motetti’; the group includes pieces like Du Fy's Alma redemptoris mater and Ave regina celorum, which are, therefore, motets.

21 Resvelliés vous was composed for the wedding of Vittoria di Lorenzo Colonna and Carlo Malatesta da Pesaro, 18 July 1423; see Fallows, David, Dufay (London, 1987), 22–3 and 165–8.Google Scholar

22 French precedents for the coloratura may be found in Velut's Un petit oyselet chantant, MS Oxford 213, fols. 89v–90r, ed. Reaney, EFCM n, 119; Velut's Laissiés ester vostres charts de liesse, MS Oxford 213, fol. 100, ed. Reaney, EFCM II, 122; Nicholas Grenon's ballade Je ne requier, MS Modem, Biblioteca Estense, a M. 5.24, fols. 45v–46r, ed. Reaney, EFCM VII, 4; and Haucourt's virelai Se j'estoye aseüree, MS Oxford 213, fol. 82v, ed. Reaney, EFCM II, 36. For an extended discussion of Flos florum, including reference to pieces that show thematic resemblance, see Nosow, Robert, ‘The Florid and Equal-Discantus Motet Styles of Fifteenth-Century Italy’, Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1992), 152258.Google Scholar

23 The important exception is Supremum est mortalibus bonum (1433), which is unusual in its use of an unnotated ‘fauxbourdon’ voice that finds its place between the top two voices.

24 See John Dunstable: Complete Works, Musica Britannica 8 (London, 1970), 2nd rev. ed., Bent, Margaret,Google Scholar Ian Bent and Brian Trowell. The exceptions are Gaude virgo salutata and Preco preheminencie. In the latter piece, the motetus rises above the triplum very rarely.

25 Hamm, Charles, A Chronology of the Works of Guillaume Dufay Based on a Study of Mensural Practice (Princeton, 1964), 98–9;Google Scholar Hamm suggests influence from the English to Du Fay in the early 1430s. Another feature distinguishing Du Fay's isorhythmic motets from 1435 on is the ‘double tenor’ disposition of the lower voices. (The earlier Ecclesiae militantis also has two tenors, but this is a different situation, since two different chants are used.) All four of the four-voiced isorhythmic motets by Dunstaple that survive – Salve scema sanctitatis, Preco prehemninencie, Veni Sancte Spiritus and Gaude virgo salutata – are double tenor (though only Salve scema is identified in this way by the surviving sources, misleading David Fallows on this point; Dufay, 120) in the sense that the contratenor is essential to the harmony, sometimes falling below the tenor to properly harmonize its fourths with upper voices. David Fallows (Dufay, 120) observes that for Fulgens iubar, one of the late isorhythmic motets that I am suggesting show Dunstaple's influence, ‘Dufay employed the three-stage double-ffl/ea structure that Dunstable had used in five of his eleven surviving motets.’ Though one finds a cluster of connections between Du Fay's isorhythmic motets from 1435 on and motets by Dunstaple, one should perhaps qualify this argument by suggesting that Dunstaple may not have been the first or even main English exponent of these techniques. He may simply have been the best or the best-known exponent, or, indeed, one among several.

26 Bent, Margaret, Dunstaple (London, 1980), 36.Google Scholar It is worth quoting Bent more broadly on this point (p. 16; the reference of ‘Ex. 13’ is to a Gloria setting by Dunstaple): ‘Dunstaple was by no means the first English composer to give such prominence to the top line; many pieces in OH have much more contrast between a florid top part and a simple accompaniment than the above examples suggest.’ Bent comments further on Dunstaple as melodist: ‘Dunstaple's melodic gift, particularly when it takes wing for longer than in Ex. 13, yields melodies more distinctive than those of comparable length in OH … often with Dunstaple, every note plays a significant role in the shape and direction of the phrase. His melodies are finely chiseled (p. 31); and: ‘Rhythmically, Dunstaple achieves a shapely rise and fall which is never assertive or rhetorical, and avoids tautology and strong accents. The opening rhythm of a phrase may be more strongly denned in order to establish a pulse, but except in the case of a sequential patterning (which is neither frequent nor extensive), each successive bar in a phrase (to use modern terms) normally has a different rhythm, especially where short note values are involved’ (p. 36). Gareth Curtis's analysis of stylistic details in Mass music of this period leads him to observe that ‘most of the traits which Professor Bent finds in Dunstable's work of this type are equally characteristic of other comparable English pieces, both anonymous and attributed to other composers. It can also hardly escape attention that it was the conventions and rules of this third style which so profoundly influenced continentals from the mid-fifteenth century onwards’; Stylistic Layers in the English Mass Repertory c. 1400–1450’, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, 109 (1983), 34.Google Scholar Curtis's third style would seem to fit neatly with the stylistic profile for Dunstaple and Du Fay under consideration, and his careful analysis of mensural detail is a welcome advance. Yet, contrary to Curtis, I find it likely that aspects of this style had an impact on Du Fay well before mid-century.

27 Besseler's views were complicated, but this passage from his edition of Du Fay's Masses is a good summary: ‘Dufay's music employs in the early period clearly marked rhythmic groups, permitting the normal bar in the transcription. This picture changes little by little, above all after about 1430 in connection with the new ‘singable’ melody. The latter is connected with the ‘flowing rhythm’ (Stromrhythmus) which depends on an equal and uninterrupted flow of each voice. By this the polyphony of the 15th century soon obtained an altered character. From this time on the single voice becomes a ‘continuum’, a stream of melody continuously sounding with other streams of melody. The common rhythmical order of these voices is indicated by the system of mensura. Yet in itself the individual voice is not constructed symmetrically according to a rule, but continually changes its rhythm as well as its melodic figures. Johannes Tinctoris in his treatise on counterpoint (1477) turns expressly against any repetition or symmetry: varietas redictas evitare debemus. His ideal is freely changing and uninterrupted flow in melody in all voices. For rendering the rigid system of mensura on the one hand and the freedom and continuity of the single voice on the other, the transcription uses bar-lines between the staves. These mark off exactly the mensural rhythm and are consequently in no respect arbitrary. Nevertheless they allow a full melodic freedom to the voice in accord with the original notation without bar-lines.’ Guglielmi Dufay, Opera Omnia: Tomus 111, Missarum Pars Altera, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae (Rome, 1951), x.Google Scholar

28 For the most recent discussion of this point, see Strohm, The Rise of European Music, 137–8 and 250–3.

29 See Fallows, Dufay, 48–50.

30 Veni Sancte Spiritus / Veni Creator is copied as a late addition into MS Old Hall (London, British Library, Additional 57950), the main body of which was completed c. 1420.Google Scholar Bent suggests the early date of 1416 for Preco preheminencie / Precursor premittitur; Dunstaple, p. 8. On watermark datings for Trent 92–1, see Elizabeth Saunders, Suparmi, The Dating of the Trent Codices from their Watermarks, with a Study of the Local Liturgy of Trent in the Fifteenth Century (New York, 1989), 70–1 and 159.Google Scholar Du Fay's Nuper rosarum flores was copied into MS Trent 92–1 on paper having the same watermark, and we know that it was composed in 1436.

31 Strohm, The Rise of European Music, 204, cites an isorhythmic motet by Cooke, added late to MS Old Hall, in wich ‘the cantabile writing for the upper voices anticipates later English motets, especially those of Dunstable.’

32 Saunders, The Dating of the Trent Codices, 205. It has been suggested that the Missa Da gaudiorum premia by Dunstaple was performed in 1431, and that the piece dates from as early as 1420; see the discussion by Strohm, The Rise of European Music, 228.

33 , Saunders, The Dating of the Trent Codices, 205.Google Scholar Modern edition of the English Missa Caput by Enrique Planchart, Alejandro, Missae Caput (Department of Music, Yale University, 1964).Google Scholar The other early English four-voiced cycle is Missa Veterem hominem, from Trent 88; modern edition by Bent, Margaret, Four Anonymous Masses (London, 1979), 110.Google Scholar

34 Strohm, emphasizing connections between Du Fay's Missa Se la face ay pale and the English Caput, claims a reference in Du Fay's head-motif to the head-motif of the latter; The Rise of European Music, 416 and 422. Given the much closer similarity between Du Fay's head-motif and the first phrase of his chanson, the similarity between the head-motifs of the two Masses may be regarded as an insignificant coincidence; the differences are more important than any similarities. Strohm also claims Du Fay's modelling of Caput's disposition of lower voices, in which the tenor sometimes needs the lower contratenor (which is really, therefore, a second tenor) in order to legitimize fourths between tenor and top voices. Yet it should at least be noted that Du Fay's four-voiced isorhythmic motets from 1435 on – Salve flos, Nuper rosarum, Fulgens iubar and Moribus et genere – are all ‘double tenor’ in disposition; clearly, Du Fay had ample experience with this technique, and it is unlikely that he needed the example of Missa Caput. Along with Okeghem's Missa Caput, Petrus de Domarto's Missa Spiritus Altnus has been claimed as another early cycle from the Continent that followed closely on the heels of the anonymous English Missa Caput; see Wegman, Rob, ‘Petrus de Domarto's Missa Spiritus Almus and the Early History of the Four-Voice Mass in the Fifteenth Century’, Early Music History, 10 (1991), 235303, and Strohm, The Rise of European Music, 416ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Judged by standards of melodic elegance set by Du Fay in Missa Se la face ay pale, these cycles by Okeghem and Domarto are inferior works. Of course, that is not the only standard upon which to base evaluation, and a composer's attention may be focused on matters other than melodic elegance (Okeghem's towards harmony and Domarto's towards mensural transformation). Yet the point of comparison here may be taken as suggesting that their Masses were conceived more closely to the model of the English Caput than Du Fay's Mass was. In any event, I see no reason to believe that these factors have anything to do with relative dates for any of these continental Masses. The main point may be that Du Fay led the continental way in bringing melodic craft to the more ‘elevated’ genres of isorhythmic motet and cantus firmus Mass cycle.

35 Missa Se la face ay pale's use of isorhythmic techniques is summarized in my ‘Vestiges of the Isorhythmic Tradition in Mass and Motet, ca. 1450–1475’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 44 (1991), 156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

36 The reference is to the contrary opinion from Reinhard Strohm, The Rise of European Music, who speculates about the radiating impact of English music in the early fifteenth century: ‘What impelled it from within, was not the expansive power of a single aesthetic principle such as tonal harmony, but rather – and I admit that my historiography is here out on a limb – the sheer excellence and reputation of individual works and composers' (p. 8). Elsewhere (p. 128), Strohm articulates a view on contenance angloise that is close to the view I have sketched:’ “Contenance” must rather refer to the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic style of written works … When applied to a written composition, it may fit as a metaphor describng melodic-rhythmic shapes. Heinrich Besseler was perhaps close to this understanding of the term when he coined the formula neuer Stromrhythmus (“new flowing rhythm”) for Dufay's music around 1430.’

37 Belle plaisant et gracieuse is the only song by Du Fay copied into the early layers of Oxford 213. See the discussion by Boone, Graeme, ‘Dufay's Early Chansons: Chronology and Style in the Manuscript Oxford, Bodleian Library, Canonici misc. 213’, Ph.D. diss., Harvard University (1987), 157–60;Google Scholar see also Fallows, David, The Songs of Guillaume Dufay: Critical Commentary to the Revision of Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae, 131.Google Scholar

38 Anonymous 11: Tractatus de Discantu, ed. Seay, 32.

39 A date of c. 1426–7 has been suggested for both Helas ma dame and Vergene bella; see Boone, ‘Dufay's Early Chansons: Chronology and Style in the Manuscript Oxford, Bodleian Library, Canonici misc. 213’, 192ff. On the date of Flos florum, see Nosow, ‘The Florid and Equal-Discantus Motet Styles of Fifteenth-Century Italy’, 152–258. On the date of Resvelliés vous see Fallows, David, Dufay, 22–3 and 165–8.Google Scholar

40 Loqueville – presumably one of Du Fay's teachers at Cambrai – uses b-flat before cadences on G in several songs from fascicle 6 of Oxford 213 (Je Vous pri, Puis que je suy amoureux and Pour mesdisans; all edited by Reaney, EFCM IE). There is an extended pre-cadential use of b-flat in Dame que j'ay loingtamp servie (Oxford 213, fol. 62v; ed. Reaney, EFCM IV, 34). The gesture is used, extraordinarily, on A-flat (with ending on F) in Vide's Il m'est si greif (Oxford 213, fol. 77r; ed. Marix, J., Les musiciens de la cour de bourgogne au XVe siècle (Paris, 1937), 21);Google Scholar and, even more extraordinarily, on D-flat (with ending on B-flat) in Je vueil vivre (Oxford 213, fol. 124v; ed. Reaney, EFCM IV, 25).

41 Graeme Boone observes these motivic connections and also the same connection to a third piece, the Credo of Missa Sancti Jacobi, where, again, the motif undergoes transposition; see ‘Dufay's Early Chansons’, 192ff. On Vergene bella as a cantilena motet, see Alejandro Enrique Planchart, ‘What's in a Name? Reflections on Some Works of Du Fay’, Guillaume, Early Music, 16 (1988), 165–75.Google Scholar Facsimiles of two sources of Vergene bella are on pp. 167–8. Facsimiles and modern editions of both sources of O beate Sebastiane in Karol Berger, ‘The Martyrdom of St Sebastian: The Function of Accidental Inflection in , Dufay'sO beate Sebastian’, Early Music, 17 (1989), 342–57.Google Scholar Julie Cumming has observed that these two motets belong to a subgenre of the cantilena motet, one that features (Φ mensuration, florid melismas, and coronae series. She places twenty-two pieces from Bologna Q15 (Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliographi'co Musicale, MS Q15) in this subgenre. I thank Professor Cumming for drawing my attention to this; her research has been presented in a paper read at the national meeting of the American Musicological Socity, November 1990, Oakland, California.

42 For ease of reference, Ex. 6a uses the barring suggested by Besseler in his edition for the Opera Omnia.

43 Karol Berger supplies editorial flats with question marks above the e, aa and aa of the cantus in Ex. 5e; see ‘The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian’, 344. Rather than imagining performers adding something to the score that would soften the dissonances, one might imagine, instead, the dissonances being expressively emphasized. In any event, aa-flat would seem to be unlikey in this particular situation, since the tenor sounds d in bar 20. Helas ma dame, Vergene bella and O beate Sebastiane all show Du Fay's interest in integrating the contratenor into the thematic and harmonic discourse of the piece. Accidentals signed in that voice are one indication of this interest. Helas ma dame features six-line staves for the contratenor and an unusual pattern of clefs, c1, c3 and c4. Significantly, O beate Sebastiane duplicates this format. As mentioned above, a date of c. 1426–7 has been suggested for both Helas ma dame and Vergene bella. A copying date into Bologna Q 15 of 1434 has been suggested for O beate Sebastiane; see Berger, “The Martyrdom of St Sebastian’, 343, citing a private communication from Margaret Bent.

44 This model has been developed by Karol Berger, who was building on the work of Lewis Lockwood; see Berger, Karol, Musica Ficta: Theories of Accidental Inflections in Vocal Polyphony from Marchetto da Padova to Gioseffo Zarlino (Cambridge, 1987), 162–88;Google Scholar and Lockwood, Lewis, ‘A Sample Problem of Musica ficta: Willaert's Pater Noster’, Studies in Music History: Essays for Oliver Strunk, ed. Powers, H. S. (Princeton, 1968), 161–82.Google Scholar

45 Jan Van Eyck's original painting (c. 1425) belongs to the Staatliche Museen, Berlin (Inv. No. 525c); the anonymous copy (1499) is in Antwerp at the Koninklijk Museum voor schone Kunsten. I thank Hans J. Van Miegroet, Professor of Art History at Duke University, for bringing this copy and the detail to my attention.

46 There is another, more localized point to make about the transmission of Vergene bella and O beate Sebastiane. Karol Berger (‘The Martyrdom of St Sebastian’) has analysed O beate Sebastiane and its transmission through Bologna Q 15 and Modena B; the two manuscripts differ in reporting accidentals, as indicated by some of the examples given above. Berger suggests that the two versions of the piece represents Du Fay's first conception and a later revision, and that this accounts for differences in accidentals, with Bologna Q 15 showing ‘fa preference’ and Modena B showing ‘mi preference’. He further relates the two redactions to what he imagines to have been the use of sharps as a symbolic representation of arrows, St Sebastian's main iconographic attribute. Comparison with the transmission of Vergene bella, however, suggests that what has happened is that Bologna Q 15 tends to eliminate sharps (that is, ‘hard b’). For O beate Sebastiane, Bologna Q 15 carries seven flats and only two sharps (f-sharp and 6-natural), while Modena B carries five flats and ten sharps. For Vergene bella, Bologna Q 15 carries twelve flats and only one sharp, while Oxford 213 carries thirteen flats and eleven sharps. Thus, the differences in redaction may be accounted for largely by this localized and mysterious tendency of Bologna Q 15 to drop sharps; viewed in this light, it would appear that the redaction has nothing to do with any symbolic associations that accidentals may have carried. It is true that Bologna Q 15 carries two sharps that are absent from Modena B, but it is easy to imagine that both got dropped in the fifteen years or so that probably separated Modena B from the original exemplar. Margaret Bent notes various indications of scribal initiatve in Bologna Q 15, including selection and rejection of pieces, addition of contratenors and adjustments in mensural notation; see A Contemporary Perception of Early Fifteenth-Century Style: Bologna Q 15 as a Document of Scribal Editorial Initiative’, Musica Disciplina, 41 (1987), 183201.Google Scholar Rob C. Wegman notes a similar case of wholesale omission of sharps in the transmission of Domarto's Missa Spiritus almus: ‘Petrus de Domarto's Missa Spiritus Almus and the Early History of the Four-Voice Mass in the Fifteenth Century’, 275. Thirty-six (or so) sharps are preserved with a good bit of consistency in all sources of the Mass save one, Modena E M.1.13, which removes all of them. To round out this problem it may be noted that one sometimes discovers cases where a manuscript has dropped all accidentals for a piece (for example, some songs in MS Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, dm 14274).

47 The nine chansons with melodic Terzfreiheit (all in Oxford 213) are Estrines moy, Belle veuillies moy retenir, Je ne suy plus, C'est bien raison, Or pleust a dieu, Navré je suis, Ce jour le doibt, Belle, veuillies vostre mercy and Ma belle dame, je vous pri. My argument for distinguishing pre-cadential lowered-thirds from the more expansive and melodic Terzfreiheit is presented in Chromatic Beauty in the Late Medieval Chanson.

48 On this point about the two tenors and the use of Terzfreiheit in Nuper rosarum flores, see my ‘Genre, Style and Compositional Technique in French Music of the Fifteenty Century’, 135. As I have said, the shift, in the cantus of Nuper rosarum flores, from bb-natural to fcb-flat at the same moment in each cursus of the cantus firmus is caused by the use, precisely around this moment, of b-flat in tenor 2. It is important to recognize how the Terzfreiheit structure depends, therefore, on the transposed cantus firmus.

49 Edward Lowinsky emphasized the preference for ‘root-position triads’ – by which he meant, mainly, that thirds and fifths often fill out the chords: ‘Canon Technique and Simultaneous Conception in Fifteenth-Century Music: A Comparison of North and South’, in Essays on the Music of J. S. Bach and other Divers Subjects: A Tribute to Gerhard Herz, ed. Weaver, R. L. (New York, 1981), 189–94.Google Scholar See also Blackburn, Bonnie J., ‘On Compositional Process in the Fifteenth Century’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 40 (1987), 269–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar For Lowinsky, this represented an advance in the history of harmonic organization, a movement one step closer to modern-day harmonic thinking in chords rather than intervals. Yet, clearly, there is no advance in syntax. There is no new way of connecting the sonorities. In fact, there is less connection between sonorities, not more, relative to earlier motets. There are relatively few structural sixths in Nuper rosarum flores, and this indicates an underplay but not an abandonment of traditional harmonic syntax, in which imperfect sonoroties move towards perfect sonorities. There is a predominance of root-position triads but there is also relatively sparse harmonic motion towards those triads. The harmonic syntax of the time is not transformed; rather, it is avoided and perhaps weakened, for thirds would seem to be less forward-moving than they are in French music of the fourteenth century (and as they still are in Helas ma dame, from a decade earlier). I develop these points further in Chromatic Beauty in the Late Medieval Chanson (on Helas ma dame) and in Chapter 2 of ‘Genre, Style and Compositional Technique’ (on Nuper rosarum flores), 134–8. A changing approach to consonance has long been singled out as an important aspect of contenance angloise, and this less syntactical and more decorative use of thirds in Nuper rosarum flores may well show another dimension of English influence.

50 David Fallows (Dufay, 120) makes this interesting comparison between Dunstaple and Du Fay: ‘part of the difference is that Dufay's lines and progressions are clearer, more familiar to the ear that is accustomed to expecting logical harmonic patterns and formal designs. To return from Fulgens iubar to Dunstable's motets is to enter a world of apparent shapelessness, of poorly points - ‘apparent shapelessness’ and ‘relatively graceless lines’ – Du Fay's superiority must have had something to do with his extensive experience composing chansons, an experience that would not have been available to Dunstaple (in spite of the attribution to Dunstaple of Puisque tn'amour). Certainly other of Du Fay's chanson-composing contemporaries knew how to write melodies with shape and grace; many of their chansons can be compared favourably with his chansons. As I have argued already, Du Fay's distinction is to have brought this melodic craft to Latin-texted music.

51 , Dufay'sNuper rosarum flores, King Solomon's Temple, and the Veneration of the Virgin', Journal of the American Musicological Society, 47 (1994), 395441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar The most recent edition of Nuper rosarum flores is by Blackburn, Bonnie J. (Espoo, 1994).Google Scholar

52 Blackburn, ‘On Compositional Process in the Fifteenth Century’.