Anno 2017/2

Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale
Anno XXIII n. 2, 2017

Composition and Improvisation in Fifteenth-Century Music 
Composizione e improvvisazione nella musica del Quattrocento

Edited by / a cura di Julie E. Cumming, Jesse Rodin, Massimiliano Locanto


Giampiero Piscaglia, Musiche per Sigismondo, pp. vii-viii

Prefazione, pp. ix-xii


Julie E. Cumming, Du Fay’s Use of Improvisatory Techniques in Resvellies vous et faites chiere lye, pp. 3-23

Francesco Rocco Rossi, “Aria” di Rimini: rimandi improvvisativi in Unum pulchrum Salve cara Deo tellus di Ludovicus de Arimino, pp. 25-51

Cecilia Nocilli, «Diversità di cose». Composizione e improvvisazione nella musica per danza del Quattrocento, pp. 53-75

Catherine Motuz, Orality and Composition Alla Mente, pp. 77-104

John Milsom, Henricus Tik and the Spectrum of Fuga, pp. 105-134

Alessandra Ignesti, Compositional Strategies in the Late Fifteenth Century and Beyond: Observations on the Missa Mente tota of Antoine de Févin, pp. 135-164

Agostino Magro, Ancora sui procedimenti di parafrasi polifonica nelle messe di Antoine Brumel. Il caso della Missa de Dringhs, pp. 165-193

Jesse Rodin, The Ballade as Formal Playground. With a Postscript on “Improvisation” and “Composition”, pp. 195-215


Susanna Pasticci, L’analisi musicale nel XXI secolo: bilanci e prospettive, pp. 219-255

Notes on Contributors / Notizie sugli autori, pp. 257-263

Giampiero Piscaglia - pag. vii-ix

Musiche per Sigismondo

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Julie E. Cumming, Massimiliano Locanto, Jesse Rodin - pag. ix-xii


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Julie E. Cumming - pag. 3-23

Du Fay’s Use of Improvisatory Techniques in Resvellies vous et faites chiere lye

While for many years musicologists believed that the art of Renaissance improvisation was lost, recent scholarship has revealed abundant surviving information about historical improvisation in treatises, while musicians have begun to revive these practices.

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Francesco Rocco Rossi - pag. 25-51

“Aria” di Rimini: rimandi improvvisativi in Unum pulchrum e Salve cara Deo tellus di Ludovicus de Arimino

The first part of this contribution focuses on some short compositions attested in Tr. 87. Thanks to their formal structure and to the presence of recurrent melodic and polyphonic modules they reveal a connection with the improvisational practice.

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Cecilia Nocilli - pag. 53-75

«Diversità di cose». Composizione e improvvisazione nella musica per danza del Quattrocento

Fifteenth-century dance treatises transmit not only specific indications for the ornamentation and improvisation of dance, but also hints regarding musical composition. This study considers movimenti naturali and movimenti accidentali, vodo (upbeat) and pieno (downbeat) of the music and steps, consonance and dissonance applied to dance, the character of the music per bemolle and per bequadro in the gestures and the choreographic steps, the versatility of misure and the function of the tenorista in support of musical and choreographic improvisation.

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Catherine Motuz - pag. 77-104

Orality and Composition Alla Mente

Improvising counterpoint was common skill in the Renaissance, heard not only in church but in the home, the tavern, fields, mines, and even public baths. Despite its former ubiquity, efforts to revive the practice have not led to widespread fluency.

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John Milsom - pag. 105-134

Henricus Tik and the Spectrum of Fuga

Much recent research into compositional process in Renaissance polyphony has focussed on fuga — the term Renaissance theorists used for the phenomena nowadays called “imitation” and “canon”. This study proposes new ways of defining and describing the different available categories of strict fuga — which is to say, fuga in which the participating voices replicate one another exactly in terms of both durations and intervals.

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Alessandra Ignesti - pag. 135-164

Compositional Strategies in the Late Fifteenth Century and Beyond: Observations on the Missa Mente tota of Antoine de Févin

The “imitation mass” (Missa ad imitationem) is a polyphonic setting of the Ordinarium Missae which bears a structural relationship to the polyphonic fabric of a pre-existing composition. Such compositional approach began to be adopted systematically during the early decades of the sixteenth century as an alternative to cantus firmus and paraphrase techniques. This paper focuses on the earlier stage of development of this procedure and discusses passages from the Missa Mente tota of Antoine de Févin, a younger contemporary of Josquin and a key figure in the evolution of the genre.

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Agostino Magro - pag. 165-193

Ancora sui procedimenti di parafrasi polifonica nelle messe di Antoine Brumel. Il caso della Missa de Dringhs

By means of an analysis of the Missa de Dringhs this article aims to highlight Brumel’s coherence in the treatment of his polyphonic model — the chanson Tous les regretz by Brumel himself — throughout the various sections of the Mass. The analysis shows that the chanson’s complex polyphonic texture and cadence plan are followed sentence by sentence. Brumel’s reworking of his model makes this mass quite innovative within the panorama of contemporary sacred music.

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Jesse Rodin - pag. 195-215

The Ballade as Formal Playground. With a Postscript on “Improvisation” and “Composition”

The polyphonic formes fixes — rondeau, virelai, and ballade — remain ripe for further exploration. This essay argues that each subgenre creates formal affordances that condition a unique experiential starting point. Because the ballade incorporates the least textual and musical repetition of the three, it is the most open-ended, formally speaking.

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Susanna Pasticci - pag.

L’analisi musicale nel XXI secolo: bilanci e prospettive

The article aims to discuss some issues in the trends of music analysis studies in the twenty-first century, by relating the cultural policies that inspired the editorial line of the Italian journal «Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale» (directed by Susanna Pasticci from 2012 to 2017) with the parallel developments of research within the wider international community of scholars.

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