The notation style looks like this, and you can probably recognize many of the modern rhythmic values:. The rhythmic precision afforded to musicians by mensural notation allowed the works of this time to assume a crisp and detailed complexity in their polyphony that was simply not possible before. Brainy composers began to delight in the brilliant games they could play while assembling music for multiple voices.
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A new polyphonic technique, the mensuration canon, was born. A mensuration canon exploits the manner in which the new notation allows you to notate the same melody in different rhythmic values.
It would sound like mush because Row, Row, Row Your Boat is not written to be performed that way, but some music is. Mensuration canons are also called prolation canons or tempo canons depending on the source, and a number of very calculating and contrapuntally-inclined composers have written them over the centuries, most recently Shostakovich in his 15th Symphony, and before that J.
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Bach in a really interesting appendix to the Goldberg Variations discovered in the s I had never heard of this and it is astounding! Check it out here and discover a potent catalogue of every canonic technique under the sun compressed into 15 minutes. But before Bach, mensuration canons were the domain of masterful Flemish polyphonic composers like Johannes Ockeghem, who wrote a haunting mass entirely out of mensuration canons of different stripes in the fifteenth century called the Prolation Mass, and his student perhaps , one of the most brilliant composers in the history of counterpoint, Josquin de Prez.
While not a household name, de Prez was quite famous and renowned during the sixteenth century for the craft and expressive power of his music. The beginning of the movement is a mensuration canon in 3 voices:.
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If you look closely you can see that the top line moves three times as fast as the middle line, and one-and-a-half times as fast as the bottom line. Additionally, the middle line starts a fourth below the first line, but all three lines are the same melody. Want to listen to the entire playlist for this week and other weeks? Do you have feedback for me? Do you have a comment to add to the discussion? Please leave one below and share your voice! Subscribe to Smart and Soulful on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post!
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You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. The beginning of the movement is a mensuration canon in 3 voices: If you look closely you can see that the top line moves three times as fast as the middle line, and one-and-a-half times as fast as the bottom line. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading April 6, at am Reply. April 13, at am Reply. Exactly when this happened, and by what process, is mysterious and will probably never be […] Like Like. May 2, at am Reply.
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Exact Audio Copy V. September EAC extraction logfile from September , Composer s : Tinctoris. The long-lived Flemish composer Johannes Tinctoris is most celebrated in musicological circles not for his compositions but for the fact that he wrote the first musical dictionary in , and a number of treatises on topics such as the rules of polyphony and the history of music.
Besides the musical examples that he composed specifically for these treatises, only four Mass settings, four motets and nine secular pieces by him survive. A Missa sine nomine, literally a "Mass without a name", is a musical setting of the Ordinary of the Mass, usually from the Renaissance, which uses no pre-existing musical source material, as was normally the case in mass composition. Not all masses based on freely composed material were so named, but many were, particularly from the late 15th century through the 16th century.
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