When the musical heritage of a particular composition is established, not only are its technical ingredients and background understood, but so are the symbolic associations and conventions of that heritage, which in turn provide additional insights into the meaning of the work as a whole; something approaching the level of understanding that would have been available to the people of the fifteenth century who were immersed in those traditions.
Once the terms of investigation are set, the largest share of the book is devoted to discussing motets themselves, beginning with a review of relevant late medieval documents, treatises, and manuscripts, and proceeding to a discussion of the surviving motet repertory of the period.
The repertory is divided into early- and mid-fifteenth century, and includes highly detailed analyses of significant manuscripts, as well as a large number of individual compositions that demonstrate the variety of types and genre characteristics that make up the corpus of fifteenth-century motet.
The musical analysis is necessarily quite technical in order to illustrate the complex subject, and is supplied in sufficient quantity and clarity to convince even the most sceptical reader of both the thesis and the usefulness of the methodology. In summary, the musicological world benefits on several levels from this study.
The most immediate gain is that Cumming has given us a far clearer understanding of the fifteenth-century motet, which in itself is no small accomplishment.
But equally important and far more basic, she has provided a new methodology and logic for investigating musical repertories that places them in a historical and cultural context and illuminates their intended meaning; a giant step in musicological research. In Modal Counterpoint, Renaissance Style one finds exemplary scholarship coupled with effective pedagogical strategies.
Particularly noteworthy is the author's decision to incorporate selected passages from contemporaneous treatises; well-chosen excerpts not only demonstrate the range of contrapuntal practice in the Renaissance, but also lend the textbook a sense of authenticity and vitality. The potential uses for the textbook are broad indeed: Schubert has designed it to serve as an introduction for incoming students, as a resource for upper-year undergraduates , or as a review for graduate students.
Given the diminishing role of modal counterpoint in the curricula of many university music letters in canada programs, some of which no longer require even tonal B let alone modal B counterpoint in their core theory sequence, the potential for multiple use strategically positions this textbook for a market that is not exactly burgeoning.
What makes this textbook so widely applicable is its modular design. Take, for instance, invertible counterpoint.
It is presented as a unit in chapter 13, but teachers who wish to include the concept may choose to incorporate the topic much earlier in the course. Likewise, those who wish not to introduce invertible counterpoint may simply skip that module entirely without detracting from the meaning of other modules.
But it is more than modular design that will catch the eye of theory instructors. Schubert has managed to supply a coherent and comprehensive treatment of the subject without over-specifying the pedagogical approach.
While providing a wealth of information and resources, he leaves instructors free to develop their own individual pedagogical strategies. Not only does this conceptualization of contrapuntal rules free the instructor, however, but it also helps students to distinguish between syntactical and stylistic aspects of contrapuntal practice.
Furthermore, the variation in contrapuntal practice revealed by quotations from contemporaneous treatises underscores the need for hierarchy within the rules, supplying a scholarly basis for a decision that is also pedagogically convenient. Many other compelling features of this textbook could be mentioned, including its carefully graded exercises and practical treatment of Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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LOG IN. University of Toronto Quarterly. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: humanities tionships of any one motet is valuable for a number of reasons.
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