Motet
(moe-TET)


[Eng.]


A polyphonic vocal style of composition. The motet was popular in the middle ages, when it consisted of a tenor foundation upon which other tunes were added. The texts of these voices could be sacred or secular, Latin or French, and usually had little to do with each other, with the result that the composition lacked unity and direction. During the 14th century, isorhythm came into use and other rhythmic refinements, somewhat unifying the sound and texture of the motet. By the Renaissance, the separate voices of the motet had adopted the same text (by this time the texts were religious almost without exception) and each voice was considered a part of the whole rather than a whole in itself, thus finally giving the motet unity and grace.


SUGGESTED LISTENING EXAMPLE:

Josquin Desprez: Ave Maria . . . virgo serena
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 2, Track 43

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