“Medieval Practices”

Friday – April 13, 2018

Academic Panel: “Medieval Practices”

10:00 a.m. – UO Collier House


“A Contemporary Pedagogy of Ancient Music: The “Vernacular Medieval” and the Twenty-First-Century Conservatory”

Angela Mariani

In many vernacular music traditions, oral transmission and improvisation take precedence over notation or pre-set composition. In these traditions, the performer’s skill and training thus prioritizes process, memory, and invention rather than dependence upon written repertoire. Medieval music practitioners acknowledge the chimera of an “authentically medieval” performance; but like our fellows in the worlds of vernacular music, we seek to discover models, to memorize and internalize what we can know of a specific musical language and its idioms, and to employ invention within such frameworks. A contemporary pedagogy of medieval music that also prioritizes those elements and processes has been developed by medieval music specialists in the contexts of workshops or one-on-one mentoring. But can these pedagogical approaches be employed within the regularized paradigm of university-level music education, working with young players and singers whose training tends to de-emphasize ear-learning, memory, improvisation, or invention? I suggest that a “vernacular pedagogy of medieval performance” can succeed in university music programs. I argue further that current academic emphases upon the diversifying fields of arts practice research, interdisciplinary investigation, project-based learning, and inclusion of vernacular artistry in fact provide us with a timely opportunity to make unique and valuable contributions.

Dr. Angela Mariani is Associate Professor of Musicology and director of the Collegium Musicum at the Texas Tech University School of Music, and was the 2017 recipient of Early Music America’s Thomas Binkley Award. A founding member of Altramar medieval music ensemble, she has also hosted the nationally-syndicated public radio program Harmonia since 1991, and is the author of Improvisation and Inventio in the Performance of Medieval Music (Oxford University Press, 2017).


“Troping Today: A New Lens for Approaching the Performance of Tropes”

Alison Kaufman

While musicologists have studied tropes extensively, the genre has received far less attention from scholars of performance practices. It is possible to find recordings of tropes worked into albums of high services like Easter and Christmas, but other than the amount of singers, there is often very little difference in approach from the trope to its base chant. Indeed, with the exception of the “Quem Quaeritis” trope, the only recommendation for the performance practice of tropes performer’s are likely to find is to vary the performance based on the trope’s region. While identifying regional traditions is a good starting place, this paper will propose a new question for performance interpretation: how does the trope interact with its base chant and how might that relationship impact one’s performance choices?

Based on an analytical model used by scholars of Medieval and Renaissance literature, proposed first by G. W. Pigman, this paper will provide a new lens through which one may examine the relationship between a trope and its base chant. The result of this inquiry can then be used to inform a performer’s choices when approaching a trope.

Alison Kaufman is a doctoral student at the University of Oregon in Musicology and Historical Performance Practice. She specializes in medieval liturgical music, having presented at conferences on topics ranging from Beneventan chant to Liturgical dramas. Kaufman is an active early music soprano and a co-founder of the Musicking Conference. She believes that performance cannot exist without musicology, and vice versa.


“‘Authorized Versions’ and Later Additions: Additional Contratenors in
the Posthumous MS E”

Emily Korzeniewski

The late fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century practice of adding contratenors to existing chansons documents shifts in stylistic trends. As Pedro Memelsdorff has shown in his analyses of Matteo Perugia, close examination of additional contratenors can reveal clues about the priorities of a composer, or, as Andrew Westerhaus finds in the case of Bologna Q15, it may reveal stylistic preferences embodied within a manuscript. I examine the additional contratenors of four two-voice balades found in the posthumous Machaut manuscript (MS E). Building on the hypothesis of Uri Smilansky and supported by Signe Rotter-Broman, I consider these later-added contratenors to be vestiges of a flexible performance tradition. My analyses focus on the stylistic impact of these inessential additional contratenors by comparing them to the contrapuntally inessential contratenors of six stable versions of three-voice balades by Machaut. The composer’s explicit, authorized versions of chansons — as implied in the famous inscription in MS A — may be far removed from the life and career of these pieces. I highlight the stylistic differences between the additional contratenors of MS E and those with secure attribution to Machaut in my comparison. Modern performers have the choice to strive towards honoring the established intentions of the composer, as directed in MS A, or to participate in the transformational process of improvising a contratenor, and thus continue in the flexible performance tradition preserved in MS E.

Emily Korzeniewski is a graduate student at the University of Oregon where she is currently pursuing
Master’s degrees in both Musicology and Composition. Her interest in early music and historical performance practice grew out of her curiosity surrounding the compositional processes at work in the music of Guillaume de Machaut. Currently, her research interests include Machaut, fixed forms, and functional anonymity in the Renaissance.


*All Musicking Conference Events are Free and Open to the Public
**All events are subject to change

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