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Neal, Brandi Amanda (2011) THE MULTIVOICE SACRED MUSIC OF NICOLAS GOMBERT: A CRITICAL EXAMINATION. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines the sacred compositions for six or more voices by Nicolas Gombert (1495-1560). Two multivoice (six or more voices) compositional techniques emerged in sixteenth-century Europe. The first of these, the Italian double-choir (coro spezzato) technique, has received far more attention from scholars. This practice divided the vocal ensemble into two groups that sang either separately or together, and whose members remained consistent throughout the musical composition. The second technique, practiced by composers in northern Europe, also split settings into two or more vocal groups, but the members of the groupings constantly changed. This dissertation examines the second practice of multivoice writing in the sacred music of Gombert.My study is concerned with multiple issues essential in understanding Gombert's works and their relationship to other techniques of vocal writing in the sixteenth century. Among these issues, I focus on compositional procedure and context, both historical and musical. I examine Gombert's multivoice techniques across three sacred genres, motets, masses and his single complete octo tonorum cycle of Magnificats. I highlight the mechanical procedures of the pervading imitative style and how it may have been adapted to larger settings.I have found evidence of a distinct change in his compositional process in settings for more than six voices. Gombert's motets demonstrate this change in procedure. Whereas his motets for six voices show procedures utilized in settings for four and five voices, the motets also demonstrate handling of vocal groupings that appears with greater frequency in his settings for more than six voices. To further contextualize Gombert's music, I discuss how Gombert negotiates and adapts other styles and integrates them within his own. All of his multivoice masses, for example, integrate musical techniques and styles from the previous generation. The Magnificat cycle presents a unique opportunity to examine Gombert's multivoice processes as a case study.Nicolas Gombert has been a murky figure and his works have been somewhat dismissed as compositional curiosities due to the density of his pervading imitation style. This dissertation sheds light on Gombert's compositional processes and adds to our understanding of multivoice writing in the mid-sixteenth century.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Neal, Brandi
Date: 30 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 1 April 2011
Approval Date: 30 June 2011
Submission Date: 20 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: classical texts; Magnificats; masses; motets; multivoice music; Nicolas Gombert; responsory form
Other ID:, etd-04202011-195010
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:39
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2011 20:16


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