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motet

motet (mōtĕt´), name for the outstanding type of musical composition of the 13th cent. and for a different type that originated in the Renaissance. The 13th-century motet, a creation (c.1200) of the school of Notre-Dame de Paris, was a polyphonic composition based on a tenor that was a fragment of plainsong (or, later, of any type of melody, sacred or secular) arranged in a brief, reiterated rhythmic pattern called an ordo. It existed side by side but was distinct from the conductus, an earlier development of choral composition, which was not based on preexisting liturgical chants and which employed several voice parts in a type of harmony. The motet's original text, sometimes only a word or two, was kept, but the tenor may have been played on instruments. The second part, called motetus [Fr. mot=word], had its own text, usually sacred and in Latin but by the second half of the century sometimes secular and in French. The third voice, the triplum, had still another text, and very often the motet combined a triplum that was a French love song and a motetus that was a Latin hymn to the Virgin Mary. The outgrowth of this early motet was the isorhythmic motet of the late 13th and the 14th cent. It employed a recurring rhythmic pattern called a talea, longer than an ordo and not restricted to the tenor part. Of the 23 extant motets of Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300–c.1377), an outstanding 14th-century composer, 20 are isorhythmic. Isorhythmic technique was not confined to the motet and persisted into the mid-15th cent. The Renaissance motet had but one text, in Latin, and was a polyphonic, unaccompanied composition. It had usually from four to six voices and was free from the 13th-century rhythmic rigidity. Cultivated by composers of the Flemish school, it had spread throughout Europe by the middle of the 15th cent. Outstanding composers are Josquin Desprez and Orlando di Lasso of the Flemish school; the Italians Andrea Gabrieli, Giovanni Gabrieli, and Palestrina; the Spaniard Tomás Luis de Victoria; and the Englishmen Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. In the baroque era the greatest motets were written in Germany to German texts. The Symphoniae Sacrae of Heinrich Schütz include many motets in various styles, with the addition of solo voices and instrumental accompaniment. The peak is reached in the six motets of Bach, which are thought to have had some continuo accompaniment. Since Bach's time the term motet has been applied to almost any kind of sacred choral polyphony but usually refers to unaccompanied Latin motets for use in Roman Catholic services. Many anthems in English, however, have been designated motets by their composers.

See F. Matthiassen, The Style of the Early Motet (1966).

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motet

motet. A form of short unaccompanied choral comp. which eventually superseded conductus, although both were in use from 13th to early 16th cents. In 13th, 14th, and 15th cents. the motet was exclusively sacred and was based on a pre-existing melody and set of words to which other melodies and words were added in counterpoint. Machaut, Desprès, Ockeghem, and others were masters of the motet. Du Fay introduced secular melodies as the cantus firmus of the motet. By the 16th cent., the motet reached its apogee as a sacred comp., with the madrigal as its secular counterpart. Palestrina wrote about 180 motets. Victoria, Morales, Tallis, Byrd, Bull, and Taverner were great composers of motets, sometimes called Cantiones Sacrae. J. S. Bach wrote motets (incl. Singet dem Herren), 4 of them for 8 vv. Soon the term came to be loosely applied by composers, sometimes to works with acc. and even to works for solo v. and acc. In some cases, e.g. Parry's Songs of Farewell, the words are not ecclesiastical. Generally today the term signifies a church choral comp., with Lat. words not fixed in the Liturgy. In 1951–2 Bernard Naylor wrote 9 motets to Eng. texts as a cycle for the 9 major church festivals.

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"motet." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"motet." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motet

motet

motet Musical form prominent in all choral church music from c.1200 to 1600. In the 13th and 14th centuries, it consisted of three unaccompanied voice parts. The Renaissance motet of the 15th century, usually in four or five parts, was contrapuntal in style. Palestrina composed some of the purest examples of the form. After 1600, there were new developments in the form, including occasional instrumental parts and texts in vernacular languages.

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"motet." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"motet." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/motet

motet

motet part-song; later spec. harmonized vocal composition, esp. for church use. XIV. — (O)F. motet, dim. of mot word, saying (see MOT); see -ET.

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"motet." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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motet

mo·tet / mōˈtet/ • n. a short piece of sacred choral music, typically polyphonic and unaccompanied.

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"motet." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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motet

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