Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Mary C. Caldwell
This dissertation consists of two parts: the score for a new musical work entitled Groundwater, and three essays on 13th-century vocal repertoires. These two different approaches—one creative and one scholarly—address related issues in compositional process with preexistent materials, sonic signification and recycling, and visual aspects of music notation. Groundwater is an evening-length work scored for voice and chamber ensemble with live electronics and video projections. It treats groundwater as a metaphor for memory and sets up feedback loops between sonic processes and their visual effects, often through asking performers to interpret these visuals as notation. “Mapping Shared Tunes: Pitch-based Logic in Late Medieval Refrain Citation” is a data-driven, corpus-wide review of intertextual refrains in the long 13th century that focuses on the compositional integration of refrains used across multiple works. I demonstrate that semitone-preserving transposition, especially by perfect fourth and fifth, was a core procedure for medieval composers working with refrains. “Common Tunes, Varied Songs: IN SECULUM Motets in the Sixth Fascicle of the Montpellier Codex” analyzes a group of motets on IN SECULUM—the most common 13th-century motet tenor. These motets display an unusually wide range of rhythmic treatments of the tenor and integrations of intertextual refrains in the upper voices. I argue that the “stockness” of the IN SECULUM tenor facilitated this compositional virtuosity and that these motets provided a key structure for the fascicle as well as an important connection to the rest of the manuscript. Finally, “Auralizing the Love Triangle: Polyphonic Rondeau Refrains in Renart le nouvel” examines a set of intertextual refrains shared between the satirical romance Renart le nouvel and polyphonic rondeaux from the 13th century. I argue that these refrains are direct citations from the rondeaux and that their use forms a deliberate citational strategy. By cuing the three voices of polyphonic rondeaux and drawing on characteristics of their texture and voice-leading, Renart’s compilers effectively auralized scenes of love triangles and adultery for medieval readers.
Cunningham, Flannery, "Shared Songs, Sonic Memory: Groundwater For Voice, Chamber Ensemble, And Electronics And Essays On 13th-Century Song" (2022). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 5021.