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The source situation for Guillaume Du Fay's music, particularly in his early years, is quite good. Over a period of twenty-five years, a series of manuscripts transmits Du Fay's music in consistently good versions and with solid attributions. Du Fay's personal and clerical career is considerably better documented than those of most of his contemporaries. Despite the loss of late sources, Du Fay's music survives in higher proportion than that of his contemporaries and immediate successors. Du Fay was unusual in defining himself primarily as what is called today a "composer" rather than as a singer or even a clergyman. Du Fay promoted his music and sought to disseminate it. One of his earliest works is based on a plainsong that was sung at Cambrai as part of the Missa ad tollendum schismam. Du Fay's turn toward paraphrased cantus firmi led him to largely abandon the free cantilena style in liturgical and ceremonial works.
The touching episodes of Jesus' Nativity were memorialized visually in illuminated books of hours, in sculptures of the scene in the stable in Bethlehem and in the architecture of countless churches dedicated to the Mother of God. One experience that was common was the reading of sacred affective literature. Affective treatises required the reader to immerse herself in the details of Jesus' life and that of the Virgin. A single treatise of affective devotion from the fourteenth century served as the basis for almost every aspect of devotional piety in the late Middle Ages. Another category of affective writing that helped mold sacred music in the fifteenth century is important because of its early date and the special relationship it bears to mass and motet. Scores of dramatic works composed in the vernacular helped make the lives and attributes of Christ and the Virgin more comprehensible while also facilitating the flow of ideas between the sacred and secular spheres.
This chapter investigates the complex interplay between music, history, and the sacred, by examining broad historical constructions of religion and music in South Asia. In the most recent past, nationalism and communalism have been the agents that justify particular histories of religious music. These are the same histories that tend to stabilize Hindu practices into Hinduism and that oversimplify or ignore much of the creative ideological borrowing that has taken place between Hinduism, its relatives and South Asian Islamic and Christian practices. The chapter explores the performance of sacred music which also addresses ideas about history in addition to repertories and genres being drawn into histories. It examines the relationship of sacred music in South Asian history, and history in South Asian sacred music and reveals how this relationship has been mobilized by large-scale narratives and how musical performance provides opportunities to revise the narratives.
In the twenty-first century, Sufism and Sufi music appear to be predisposed for an accelerated and universalized globalization that includes and, indeed, privileges music as the most ubiquitous and instantly transmitted sonic medium. Approaching sacred versus world music, Philip Bohlman posits that music history in the Islamic world embodies narratives that profoundly depend on the different ontologies of music that are central to Islamic thought. Islamic musics have undergone extensive processes of globalization, and some repertories, such as the Sufi qawwali, are inseparable from world music today. Given the fact that Sufi world music is derived directly from its traditional counterpart, this chapter explores the relations between Sufi music as sacred music, on the one hand, and Sufi music as world music on the other. A historical orientation is built into Indic Sufism, for it is hierarchical and based on seniority and spiritual ancestry.
This chapter explores some of the routes that music has traveled through the peripheral geography, focusing especially on the sounds of the sacred, on what it means to sing one's self in Diaspora. World music has been shaped by the experiences of diasporic, Caribbean communities, and this was the case for many even before they arrived in the region. Accounts of musical performances and of the creation of body art on board ship during the middle passage illustrate the power of the expressive arts to shape experiences and to combat psychic and physical violence. Highlife and jùjú, are two West African genres that have been affected by musical styles emanating from the Caribbean. The Caribbean has transplanted its inhabitants across the globe and has also transplanted its musics and its festivals to new locations, implanting them in new contexts where ethnicity, nationality, and identity take on new meanings.
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