Motets constitute the most important polyphonic genre of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Moreover, these compositions are intrinsically involved in the early development of polyphony. This volume - the first to be devoted exclusively to medieval motets - aims to provide a comprehensive guide to them, from a number of different disciplines and perspectives. It addresses crucial matters such as how the motet developed; the rich interplay of musical, poetic, and intertextual modes of meaning specific to the genre; and the changing social and historical circumstances surrounding motets in medieval France, England, and Italy. It also seeks to question many traditional assumptions and received opinions in the area.
The first part of the book considers core concepts in motet scholarship: issues of genre, relationships between the motet and other musico-poetic forms, tenor organization, isorhythm, notational development, social functions, and manuscript layout. This is followed by a series of individual case studies which look in detail at a variety of specific pieces, compositional techniques, collections, and subgenres.