chapter  4
22 Pages

Harmony in the Cantus-Firmus Compositions of the Fifteenth Century

EDITOR'S PREFACE: Chronologically, the subject of this study is among the latest of the articles presented here. Hence, some of its concerns lie outside the scope of the other selections. Meier's treatment of certain issues, however, is extremely relevant and represents perhaps the earliest systematic assessment of a significant body of late medieval polyphony according to principles outlined in contemporary theory. The most consequential aspect of Meier's methodology is his conviction that vertical sonorities in vocal polyphony must be explained as proceeding from the tenor and not from the bass. Meier shows how this principle is reflected in the theory of Johannes Cochlaeus and how standardized progressions are used in the practical compositions of Jacob Obrecht and Jacob Barbireau. In the translation, a number of slight corrections, additions, and changes of orthography are due to the kind suggestions of the author's widow, Dr. Helga Meier.