chapter  9
The Historical Implications of a Distinctive Scoring: Charpentier’s Six-Voice Motets for Mademoiselle de Guise
WithPsychoyou Théodora
Pages 22

This chapter focuses on an instance of the phenomenon occurs in the works of Marc-Antoine Charpentier. His pieces for six vocal parts, two treble instruments and continuo provide a fascinating example of this link between scoring and context. The ten pieces date from the period when Charpentier was composer-in-residence to the House of Guise, and were composed for Mademoiselle de Guise’s musical establishment: hence the number of performers and even their musical personalities contribute markedly to the motets’ character. The case of the Chant joyeux du temps de Pasques, H339, a work almost contemporary with the Miserere, is more ambiguous. It is clearly in five vocal parts and accompanied by two treble instruments and continuo, but includes a greater number of divisions of the upper dessus, it is thus tempting to include this work among the six-voice motets.