Dissertation Index

Author: Linklater, Mary L.

Title: From Procedure to Technique: Canonic Works of the Fifteenth Century

Institution: University of Rochester

Begun: May 1998

Completed: May 2001


This dissertation examines the canonic works of the fifteenth century, traces their compositional development from ad-hoc measure-by-measure procedures to a systematic large-scale technique, and demonstrates how the use of underlying structural frameworks contributes to accomplishing this shift. Background study of fourteenth-century literature identifies the origin of canon as a compositional device, while Renaissance theoretical treatises provide contemporary descriptions. By employing reductive graphs in the analysis of the canonic voices, the study demonstrates common underlying structural frameworks. The use of structural frameworks first appears in the second half of the fifteenth century in works by Ockeghem, and later develops into a sophisticated manner of composition with Josquin des Prez. The construction of these frameworks greatly facilitated the creation of canonic compositions which, once decorated, concealed the underlying patterns. The dissertation provides the link between early canonic procedures in the fourteenth century and Robert Gauldin's demonstration of canonic paradigms in Palestrina and Lassus, tracing the progression of canonic composition throughout the century from a measure-by-measure procedure to a systematic technique of structural frameworks.

Keywords: canon, Josquin, fuga, fifteenth-century, early music analysis


Mary Linklater
16201 Comus Road
Comus, MD 20871

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