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Title:The Motet as a Representation of Sociocultural Value Circa 1500
Author(s):Erviti, Manuel Gustavo
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tom R. Ward
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, Medieval
Abstract:This study develops a conceptual idea of the motet about the year 1500. Starting with terms and categories expressed in the only known definition of the genre that survives from that period, it applies an anthropological distinction between use and function, as embodied in a structuralist-derived, comparative model of social representation, to explore how underlying assumptions formed by historically contrasting mental habits and modes of thought affect views of the genre. As a point of departure, Chapter 1 re-examines the sources of Johannes Tinctoris's definition of motetum, published in his Terminorum musicae diffinitorium (ca. 1495). Identification of literary emulation of a passage from Cicero's Orator concealed within the definition confirms the growing picture of Tinctoris as humanist and underscores the centrality of the idea that the relative sociocultural status of the motet (within the framework of a specific systemic organization of musical genres) is central to a period conceptualization. Chapter 2 introduces an model of hierarchy from the work of anthropologist Louis Dumont as a means of interpreting the nature of the structural value system formed by the configuration of Tinctoris's related definitions of three polyphonic genres found in the Diffinitorium (viz., missa, motetum, and cantilena, highest to lowest). The principle guiding hierarchical order suggests Tinctoris's formulation of motet conveys an equivocal orientation of sociocultural value mediating between collective and individual interests. Chapter 3 explores methodological implications behind the distinction between context (occasion) of use and functional level of sociocultural value, as conceived by the hierarchical model, in order to throw light on the contrasting nature of modern conceptualizations of the genre by Anthony Cummings and Jeremy Noble. Based on categories opposing 'liturgical' and 'devotional' contexts of use, contemporary models, in comparison with the hierarchical model, overlook the crucial, structuring role of collective social value in their taxonomies of the genre. Chapter 4 concentrates on the texts and text sources of nearly 750 motets from the first third-century of music printing as a body of evidence to support a claim that Tinctoris's definition of the genre forms part of a hierarchical social representation that can be described by a statistical profile of the repertory. Finally, Chapter 5 presents a case study of the motet Misericordia et veritas (published 1502) illustrating how the concept of motet as mediate sociocultural value is better suited than modern scholarly categories to account for the theatrical circumstances that most likely led to the creation of that particular piece.
Issue Date:1997
Description:478 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9717272
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1997

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