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Title: The theory and practice of composition in the English Restoration period
Author: Herissone, Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1996
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The second half of the seventeenth century was a period of considerable upheaval in English music, not only because the political instability of the time altered the way musicians were employed, but also because the era saw fundamental changes in the construction and perception of music. The most important of these was a transition between music conceived primarily according to horizontal (imitative) principles and that founded on vertical (tonal) principles, which in turn allowed for vastly expanded formal dimensions. The seventeenth century also witnessed the gradual replacement of the remaining elements of mensural notation and proportional metrical relationships in favour of free tempo with contrasts between duple and triple units, again influencing the way in which works were structured. These elements are examined from the viewpoint of the music theorist, by analysing the thirty-seven treatises which were in circulation in manuscript or printed form during the century. However, the greater part of the dissertation seeks to assess the impact of such profound alterations on the composer himself, through detailed analysis of the music's notation and its development- --in response to the changing styles and techniques; in order to be as certain as possible that such developments were genuine attempts to communicate new attitudes to music and its construction rather than simply the results of mistakes or misunderstandings by copyists, the analysis is restricted to the ninety-four extant autograph manuscripts of composers' own music copied during the period. These primary sources include several previously unidentified sketches and working drafts of pieces which reveal elements of the processes used by composers in the conception of new pieces, as well as finished copies from which has been drawn information on the status of metre, tonality and structure during the period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral