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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Treatment of polyphony in the music of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Orlandus Lassus
by Doctor, Daniel Bruce, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2015, 64; 1606214
Abstract (Summary)

Composers who thrived during the Renaissance period were able to integrate a developing use of polyphony into their music successfully without distorting the meaning of the cherished sacred text. The fact that composers of this period were able to write hauntingly beautiful compositions, with so much resistance toward the use of polyphony, is truly astounding. The focus of this study will be on Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Missa Brevis and Orlandus Lassus's Missa "Entre vous Filles." Both works are solid representations of each composer's compositional characteristics after their writing style matured. This paper analyzes the many compositional techniques used in the two Missa brevis settings by Palestrina and Lassus with a goal of uncovering how these men created musically rewarding compositions while following the musical guidelines of their time.

In order to understand fully how each composer developed as a musician it is important to study the past. Therefore, the paper will feature a brief history of each composer aimed at familiarizing the reader with their formal training and their specific compositional characteristics. A study of each composer's musical tendencies will help track the development of their styles. The meetings at the Council of Trent had a profound impact on sacred music of this period. These implications will be briefly described in the paper. Finally, a thorough analysis of each Missa brevis, with specific attention placed on the Kyrie and Credo movements, will provide crucial information to support the position of this paper. The analysis will include Roman numeral harmonic implications, motivic development, treatment of text, and form. The goal is to uncover, through detailed analysis, how Palestrina and Lassus were effectively able to set text that pleased religious leaders while maintaining their musical integrity. This paper allows for an in-depth study into the approach each composer took to achieve this success. This research should be of great use to conductors of current choral ensembles who are considering programming sacred music by Palestrina and Lassus.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Talberg, Jonathan
Commitee: Hickman, Roger, Torres-Santos, Raymond
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 55/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Lassus, Orlandus, Pierluigi da Palestrina, Giovanni, Polyphony, Renaissance
Publication Number: 1606214
ISBN: 978-1-339-38078-0
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