Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Perotin: Sederunt

In music history we have gone and continue to look through chant and how music expanded from those earliest and original settings of chant. I don't really like chant at all, and the first piece of music I have enjoyed from this section is Perotin's "Sederunt". It is an organum quadruplum. It is four voice (quadruplum) sacred music, and this one was used at the music for the first word of the Respond of the Gradual for St. Stephen's Day. The reason that this piece is called an organum is because it was formed off of an already existing chant. The staff that is on the bottom of the four voices is the line which has all sustained notes and is the one which outlines the original chant. The rest of the melody has been newly composed by Perotin to jazz things up a bit. For the first few measure all the voice are doing the same dotted rhythm, but slowly as we work into the piece the voices are no longer in unison rhythm but break off to make it kind of a repition of a motive. In measure 35 of the piece it introduces a new line which gets passed through the top two lines that adds a more sustained feeling while the other two lines are still doing the earlier rhythm (quarter eighth quarter eighth). After an authentic cadence in m. 55 there is new material introduced. This is also where the vowel changes from Se---- to the de---. Oh yeah, I forgot to say this song only says one word..one time..so half the song is se, the other half de, and the last 12 measure runt. With this new part of the word we get a much more expanded range in the melodic line. It is streching higher and lower, and the bass sustained note has changed to an f, whereas before it was a d. The rhythms are still keeping the general outline, but the notes are different. To me it is very interesting how when you look at the piece it all looks fine, but when you really look at it, since all the parts are in bass clef there are many times when the voice parts overlap each other. I think this is really interesting how close all the voices are working together. Cool piece...a lot better than all the earlier chant stuff....later

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