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This second chapter devoted to forms considers that most malleable of genres, the motet, which served an especially wide range of functions and was therefore especially adaptable. Since a survey of the motet in a book of this size (let alone a single chapter) is practically impossible, a single source is taken as a snapshot of the repertory at precisely the midpoint of the period covered in this book: the Medici Codex, compiled c.1519 at the behest of pope Leo X (Giovanni de’ Medici, r.1513–1521) as a wedding-gift for a young relative. Whilst spanning little more than twenty years, the Medici Codex’s contents includes music by composers of at least two generations and represents nearly all the techniques then available, from the most up-to-date to those whose pertinence was then on the wane. It offers an ideal vantage-point from which to survey the Renaissance motet.
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