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Look Inside The Cultural Life of the Early Polyphonic Mass

The Cultural Life of the Early Polyphonic Mass
Medieval Context to Modern Revival

$137.00 (C)

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  • Date Published: May 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521114127

$ 137.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The 'cyclic' polyphonic Mass has long been seen as the pre-eminent musical genre of the late Middle Ages, spawning some of the most impressive and engrossing musical edifices of the period. Modern study of these compositions has greatly enhanced our appreciation of their construction and aesthetic appeal. Yet close consideration of their meaning – cultural, social, spiritual, personal – for their composers and original users has begun only much more recently. This book considers the genre both as an expression of the needs of the society in which it arose and as a fulfilment of aesthetic priorities that arose in the wake of the Enlightenment. From this dual perspective, it aims to enhance both our appreciation of the genre for today's world, and our awareness of what it is that makes any cultural artefact endure: its susceptibility to fulfil the different evaluative criteria, and social needs, of different times.

    • Examines the role of polyphonic music in late-medieval liturgy, opening up new views of late-medieval religious practice to liturgists and chant scholars
    • Fosters a historical awareness of the role of sound in enhancing key rituals and symbolism of the late Middle Ages
    • Enhances appreciation of the genre for listeners today by demonstrating its enduring legacy
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011

    Reviews & endorsements

    "...Kirkman’s excellent use of both historical writings and modern musicological scholarship will go far towards contextualizing musical compositions for other scholars of this period."
    -ELIZABETH RANDELL UPTON,University of California

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521114127
    • length: 398 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.91kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 15 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Status of the Early Polyphonic Mass:
    1. Enlightenment and beyond
    2. Contemporary witnesses
    Part II. The Ritual World of the Early Polyphonic Mass:
    3. 'Faisant regretz pour ma dolente vie': piety, polyphony and musical borrowing
    4. 'Head of the Church that is His Body': Christological imagery and the Caput Masses
    5. Sounding armour: the sacred meaning of L'homme armé
    6. The profane made sacred: outside texts and music in the Mass
    Part III. The Cradle of the Early Polyphonic Mass:
    7. The shape of the Mass
    8. Counterpoint of images, counterpoint of sounds
    Last things
    Appendices: Appendix 5
    Appendix 6.1
    Appendix 6.2

  • Author

    Andrew Kirkman, Rutgers University, New Jersey
    Andrew Kirkman is Associate Professor of Music at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Jersey.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011

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