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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Music History
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Lecture Comments (2)

1 answer

Last reply by: Professor Hills
Wed May 29, 2013 9:52 AM

Post by Vongani Bevula on May 29, 2013

Why do composers use a pre-existing melody in mass and motet and Why does this compositional technique become less frequently used towards the end of the 16th century?


  • One of the first polyphonic compositions
  • Derived from the substitute clausulae from early polyphony and organum
  • Machaut wrote many
  • Based around rhythmic modes: series of longs or shorts
  • Isorhythmic Motet: color (melody) and talea (rhythm) were different lengths and would meet up at some point based on length
  • Way of organizing a composition around something other than text or chant


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Motet 0:07
    • Substitute Clausulae
    • Unique Composition
    • Components of a Motet
    • New Upper Voices
    • Prosula
  • Rhythmic Modes 2:22
    • Used in Discant
    • Different Combinations of Longs and Shorts
    • Mode 1
    • Mode 2
    • Mode 3
    • Mode 4
    • Mode 5
    • Mode 6
  • Notational Developments 5:25
    • Famous Rhythmic Developers
    • Different Combinations of Longs and Shorts
    • Longa, Breve, Semibreve, Minim
    • Perfect or Imperfect Prolation
  • Notation 6:50
    • Tempus, Prolation
    • Tempus Perfectum/Prolation Major
    • Breve
    • Semibreves
    • Minim
    • Breve is the Main Unit of Time
    • Tempus Perfectum/Prolation Minor
    • Tempus Imperfectum/Prolation Major
    • Tempus Imperfectum/Prolation Minor
    • Common Time Origin
  • Machaut and the Isorhythmic Motet 11:48
    • Isorhythmic Motet
    • Talea
    • Color
  • Review 13:42
    • Motet
    • Characteristics
    • Isorhythmic Motet
    • Which Rhythmic Mode Are These Examples?