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Chapter 4 - Paris: City, Cathedral, and University

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 April 2023

Helen Deeming
Affiliation:
Royal Holloway, University of London
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Summary

Zooming in on a single city, Chapter 4 focuses on Paris in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. As a prime example of the social changes brought about by urbanization, Paris was a commercial hub, the seat of royal administration, and a centre for advanced learning and education through its new university. We explore how this environment fed into the cultivation of polyphonic music at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, looking into the genres of organum, conductus, and motet, and examining the system of rhythmic modes that was developed to notate this music for posterity. Music theorists, writing a generation or more later, provide us with the names of some of those musicians responsible for the musical innovations at Notre-Dame, and thus we can identify the composers of liturgical polyphony for the first time. We learn how Léonin compiled his Magnus Liber Organi, and his successor Pérotin edited and supplemented it, giving us a unique insight into the ways in which medieval musicians preserved and reinvented the music of earlier generations.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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References

Further Reading

Bradley, Catherine A., Polyphony in Medieval Paris: The Art of Composing with Plainchant (Cambridge, 2018).Google Scholar
Everist, Mark, Discovering Medieval Song: Latin Poetry and Music in the Conductus (Cambridge, 2018).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gross, Guillaume, ‘Organum at Notre-Dame in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries: Rhetoric in Words and Music’, Plainsong & Medieval Music, 15 (2006), 87108.Google Scholar
Page, Christopher, The Owl and the Nightingale: Musical Life and Ideas in France 1100–1300 (London, 1989).Google Scholar
Payne, Thomas B., ‘Aurelianis civitas: Student Unrest in Medieval France and a Conductus by Philip the Chancellor’, Speculum, 75 (2000), 589614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roesner, Edward H., ‘Notre Dame’, in The Cambridge History of Medieval Music, volume 2, ed. Everist, Mark and Kelly, Thomas Forrest (Cambridge, 2018), 834–80.Google Scholar
Wright, Craig, Music and Ceremony at Notre Dame of Paris, 500–1550 (Cambridge, 1989).Google Scholar

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