Subtiliter alternare: The Yoxford Motet o amicus / Precursaris

Bent, Margaret; Howlett, David

The L'Oiseau-Lyre series largely excludes incomplete pieces; the number of complete motets, especially from the late fourteenth century, is still very small. Any addition to their number deserves comment; license for the extent of the present essay must lie in the cleverness with which its subject has been fashioned. o amicus / Precursoris qualifies as a motet by even the most rigorous of French standards, with its duply proportioned tenor diminution, two different texts, and chant tenor. In addition, it undertakes many further subtleties, including an early, or even the earliest, combination of canon with isorhythm, canon on a plainsong, canon at the fifth, and mensuration canon. It occupies the center of a bifolium that now serves as the first pair of flyleaves to a manuscript Extent of the manor of Yoxford, Suffolk, dated 11 Edward IV (1471-72).

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Columbia University
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February 3, 2015