A concordance for an early fourteenth-century motet

My first blog-only ‘publication’ Link to full text pdf version; Link to StM version of motet

The link above gives access to the pdf of a something that I’ve written purely to post here on my blog. Rather than the anonymous peer review of the traditional journal, I thought I’d subject it to the views of the crowd. All discussion, corrections, etc. most welcome. Unlike most journal articles it is designed less as a product of my own research and more as a prompt to other people’s: I spotted the concordance I discuss here, but I’d love for someone else to run with the questions that it raises for the repertoire c.1300.

I know, too, that the bibliography on this subject — especially the issue of English traits in 13thC motets — is much more extensive than the part of it that I’ve quoted here. I didn’t want to overburden a mere blog article with a whole musicological back history when its purpose is to stimulate someone (hopefully one of my future graduate students) to further action.

[UPDATE July 2012: Matthew Thomson’s 2012 MSt dissertation looked at  questions of notation, historiography, and provenance with regard to this motet and its two different manuscript instantiations; I hope he’ll present his work in public in due course!]

Rather than posting the piece as such, I thought I’d use the opportunity to learn LaTeX so I could create an attractive downloadable article for people to view online and/or print out. The file contains a complete edition of the motet Exaudi/Alme deus/TENOR, which has not, to my knowledge, been performed since the fourteenth century (go on, someone, sing it!).

[UPDATE July 2012: I’ve now also made a version in html:  Link to full text html version]

[UPDATE October 2012: The Saint-Maurice version of the motet is now online]

Creative Commons License
A concordance for an early fourteenth-century motet by Elizabeth Eva Leach is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~musf0058/Dijonmotet.html.


  1. Leofranc Holford-Strevens says:

    I’m not too worried about ‘English’ as a current notion by the late thirteenth century: granted that in 1216 the rebel barons had invited the Dauphin to oust King John, their defeat, rendering permanent the separation of the realms, had forced those who held lands on both sides of the Channel to throw in their lot with one king or the other, nor did the rebels against Henry III think of offering the crown to the lineage of Louis IX. (And poetic battles between French wine and English beer go back to the twelfth century.) More to the point is indeed whether ‘English music’ refers to the nationality of the composers or the place of composition; and whether a difference in style can yet be established that may help us to determine what we mean by ‘English’ and ‘French’ by establishing what such extra-musical characteristics one group of pieces may have against another.

  2. What a great idea. I have yet to do something on WordPress. I have printed it out and will read at leisure. Meantime I did pick up the “English” trait bit in an essay I wrote a year or so ago on earlier music. See on http://www.gillianlander.com/music.htm this essay – “Music for the Tuesday of Passion Week.” The last section summation makes the idea clear.

  3. And right on cue for this discussion comes Peter Crooks, “State of the Union: Perspectives on English Imperialism in the Late Middle Ages” in Past & Present Advance Access (Past and Present 2011 212: 3-42; doi:10.1093/pastj/gtq054). On the basis of this, perhaps ‘English’ music on the continent can be repackaged as an index of English (cultural) Imperialism…

  4. The use of long and breve to mean approximately the same note value (with long used for perfection or, rarely, vice versa) is common in late 14th c. Italian chant sources. I’m not saying there’s anything Italian about this piece, but there might be something in the chant sources of the time that would give a precedent for this notation.

  5. Lisa Colton says:

    I’ve been thinking about notions of Englishness in music a lot recently, in preparation for a chapter. It would be good to have a chat about this at some point, because there are some amazing comments about pieces of music that display enormous anxiety about whether music / musicians were really, truly, purely, entirely English (whatever that might mean)! I love this one, for example, by Hoppin: ‘Similarly, in the fourteenth century the innovations and at least some of the music of the French Ars Nova penetrated England with evident effects on the work of presumably native composers. The unfortunate anonymity of almost all of this music does nothing to remove our uncertainties.’ Ouch!

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