Polyphony without introduction - Musical texture - monophony, polyphony, heterophony.


One of the most astounding features of organum (meaning "to sing in Symphoniae" [ citation needed ] ) is the similarity of the repertory in different manuscripts. The earliest European sources of information concerning organum regard it as a well-known practice ( Fuller 1990 , p. 487). Organum is also known to have been performed in several different rites, but the main wells of information concerning its history come from Gregorian chant . Considering that the trained singers had imbibed an oral tradition that was several centuries old, singing a small part of the chant repertory in straightforward heterophony of parallel harmony or other ways of 'singing by the ear' would come naturally. It is made clear in the Musica enchiriadis that octave doubling was acceptable, since such doubling was inevitable when men and boys sang together. The 9th-century treatise Scolica enchiriadis treats the subject in greater detail. For parallel singing, the original chant would be the upper voice, vox principalis ; the vox organalis was at a parallel perfect interval below, usually a fourth. Thus the melody would be heard as the principal voice, the vox organalis as an accompaniment or harmonic reinforcement. This kind of organum is now usually called parallel organum, although terms such as sinfonia or diaphonia were used in early treatises.

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