chapter  11
26 Pages

Tonality and Harmony in the French Chanson between Machaut and Dufay

ByWolfgang Marggraf (1966) 301 I. Guillaume de Machaut

EDITOR'S PREFACE: The author of this study was a student of Besseler, and many of the latter's ideas find a strong echo here. One of Marggraf's primary goals is to confirm Besseler's view that the so-called "dominant-tonal sonority system" is discernible within the Franco-Flemish musical sphere beginning in the late fourteenth century. Through a series of chronological tables, Marggraf examines tonal coherence in various sets of chansons and concludes that a trend is evident towards increasing emphasis on the fifth scale degree. This the author interprets as a clear "result of a new harmonic and tonal sensitivity. " He further asserts that "the dominant-tonal ordering of sonorities was developed in courtly song and not in sacred music." The lack of text underlay in the musical examples makes it difficult to evaluate certain arguments, however, since a crucial element of cadences is precisely the manner by which the grammatical sense of the text is articulated. In Marggraf's article as originally published, footnote number 48 appears twice, so that here the final three footnotes have been renumbered 49-51.