Interactivity and Allegory in Polytextual Motets in the Thirteenth Century.
The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
The use of secular elements within sacred polyphony has been widely studied as a deliberate, common practice with exegetical purposes. Allegory was frequently used in music for certain feasts which lacked explicit support from the New Testament. These insertions were sometimes overt as in the addition of a new layer of text on top of a pre-existing chant. In many instances, the use of a well known popular melody as cantus firmus would suffice to recall a certain emotion or to 'humanize' a particular feast subject, thereby making it more accessible. In the thirteenth century, the practice of motets with several added voices -- each with its own text -- flourished as part of paraliturgical contexts. I suggest that the audience of these polytextual motets consisted of active listeners who were capable of not only discerning the various layers of text, but also performing simultaneous selection from the resulting matrix of meanings. I further propose that this simultaneity can be analyzed as an exercise of interactivity as defined by Liu and Shrum.
Interactivity and Allegory in Polytextual Motets in the Thirteenth Century,1017-3455,The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.