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date: 16 September 2019


  • Ernest H. Sanders


Medieval term (13th, 14th and early 15th centuries) for the voice immediately above the tenor in motets; it was also used to designate the entire composition, whether it consisted of two or of more voices.

Notre Dame motets developed from some of the discant sections of Notre Dame organa and many of the clausulas. When French poetry began to be applied to their upper voice(s), the voice part above the tenor ceased to be called ‘duplum’. All pre-Franconian writers (Johannes de Garlandia, Anonymus 7, Lambertus, Sowa Anonymus, Amerus, Anonymus 4) used the term motellus, a Latin diminutive of the French word mot, which in the 12th century often denoted a stanza or strophe of French poetry. Probably the invention of short French poems tailored to fit duplum parts of melismatic discant polyphony, as well as the frequent insertion of chanson refrains, caused the change in terminology that eventually gave the genre its name....

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Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana
Acta musicologica
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft