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Title:The Fifteenth-Century French Chanson: A Computer-Aided Study of Styles and Style Change
Author(s):Trowbridge, Lynn Mason
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This investigation employs techniques of data processing to analyze and compare 92 chansons of Gilles Binchois, Guillaume Dufay, Antoine Busnois, and Johannes Ockeghem. To that end a specially developed computer program supplies output of two types: (a) a note-by-note analysis of each composition showing chord configurations, nonharmonic tones, rhythmic activity, voice crossing, voice direction, and range; and (b) for each composition and repertory, a statistical summary of properties such as chord inversion and duration, nonharmonic tone classification and distribution, root and bass-line progression and distribution, melodic activity, direction, and relative motion, melodic and harmonic interval distribution and range, voice crossing, and texture. Among the investigations carried out using this tool were an examination of general style change during the fifteenth century, the identification of specific changes in the styles of Binchois and Dufay through comparative analysis of chronologically grouped compositions, and the resolution of several questions of authorship on the basis of style comparisons. The computer's role in analysis of this type was clearly demonstrated during the study. The degree of analytic detail required by this approach precluded any possibility of accurate manual treatment.
Amid a wealth of detailed information concerning fifteenth-century style, several general findings of this study appear of particular interest: (a) early compositions show a unique roughness of melodic style and diversity of texture which gradually gives way to a smoothness of line and a textural balance most striking in the works of Ockeghem; (b) the first clear signs of progressive harmonic thinking appear in the compositions of Busnois; (c) the style of Dufay appears truly transitional, showing strong ties with that of Binchois regarding musical texture while at the same time providing an apparent model for the melodic style of Ockeghem; (d) Binchois' works demonstrate clear patterns of style change, with those of ca. 1429-1433 differing radically from earlier compositions, and the chansons of ca. 1433-1450 exhibiting a more moderate practice; and (e) while consistent chronologically related patterns of style change are typical between the repertories of Binchois, clear trends in Dufay's style are more difficult to identify.
Issue Date:1982
Description:454 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8209635
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1982

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