Composers at Work: The Craft of Musical Composition 1450-1600
How did Renaissance composers write their music? In this revolutionary look at a subject that has fascinated scholars for years, musicologist Jessie Ann Owens offers new and striking evidence that contrary to accepted theory, sixteenth-century composers did not use scores to compose--even to write complex vocal polyphony. Drawing on sources that include contemporary theoretical treatises, documents and letters, iconographical evidence, actual fragments of composing slates, and numerous sketches, drafts, and corrected autograph manuscripts, Owens carefully reconstructs the step-by-step process by which composers between 1450 and 1600 composed their music. The manuscript evidence--autographs of more than thirty composers--shows the stages of work on a wide variety of music--instrumental and vocal, sacred and secular--from across most of Renaissance Europe. Her research demonstrates that instead of working in full score, Renaissance composers fashioned the music in parts, often working with brief segments, according to a linear conception. The importance of this discovery on editorial interpretation and on performance cannot be overstated. The book opens with a broad picture of what has been known about Renaissance composition. From there, Owens examines the teaching of composition and the ways in which musicians and composers both read and wrote music. She also considers evidence for composition that occurred independent of writing, such as composing "in the mind" or composing with instruments. In chapters on the manuscript evidence, she establishes a typology both of the sources themselves and of their contents (sketches, drafts, fair copies). She concludes with case studies detailing the working methods of Francesco Corteccia, Henricus Isaac, Cipriano de Rore, and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. This book will change the way we analyze and understand early music. Clear, provocative, and painstakingly researched, Composers at Work: The Craft of Musical Composition 1450-1600 makes essential reading for scholars of Renaissance music as well as those working in related fields such as sketch studies and music theory.
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A fascinating insight into the practices of musical composition and the early transformation of written music, written in plain English so it is easy to understand and interesting to get through from cover to cover
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altus anonymous Archivio autograph manuscripts barlines bass bassus bifolio Blackburn breve cadence cantus cantus firmus cappella cartella cartelle Casimiri Castell'Arquato CastellC chanson chant chap choirbook format Cipriano de Rore clefs coltel Compendium musices composer composer's compositional process contains contratenor copy with revisions Corteccia counterpoint discantus documents edition erased evidence example facsimile fair copy fascicles final version FlorBN Magl four-voice Francesco Corteccia Giovanni intabulation Isaac Lampadius letter libro Lowinsky lute madrigals maestro measure melody mensural notation Milan Partbooks motet Musica poetica Musik notes Othmayr Palestrina paper partbooks passage phrase piece plate point of imitation polyphonic poner quasi-score Renaissance repr ricercar Richard Sherr RomeSG 59 Rore Rore's Scribe segments semibreve setting sixteenth century sketches and drafts ſº Spataro staves Sub tuum praesidium superius tablature tablets ten-line staff tenor textless treatise unidentified composition vocal music voices writing written wrote