Dissertation Index

Author: MacKay, James S.

Title: Motivic Structure and Tonal Organization in Selected Motets of William Byrd

Institution: McGill University

Begun: November 1997

Completed: August 1999


In this dissertation, I will examine the 16 motets in William Byrd's 1589 collection of CANTIONES SACRAE from two analytical perspectives: motivic and linear-reductive. Through motivic analysis, I will identify and categorize contrapuntal combinations (labelled according to Peter Schubert's three presentation types: non-imitative module, imitative duo, and canon), and note their patterns of recurrence within each motet. I will focus on how these presentation types are loosened and reformulated to create distinctions between beginning and middle sections, as an extension of Joseph Kerman's "cell technique."

Through linear-reductive analysis, I will identify a wide variety of background voice-leading models for Byrd's modally-organized motets, showing their distinctiveness in comparison with later, tonally-conceived works. Following the example of Felix Salzer, Saul Novack, Lori Burns, Cristle Collins Judd and David Stern, I will propose modifications to, and extensions of Heinrich Schenker's analytic method to account for Byrd's modally-based, long-range structural procedures, in particular his emphasis of the subdominant at the background level.

By combining linear-reductive and motivic analysis, I will locate links between foreground pattern and background structure in Byrd's CANTIONES SACRAE of 1589, and demon- strate his use of enlargement to project a melodic or contrapuntal motive into the deeper structural levels of a composition. This combination of analytic techniques will provide a flexible model which can be applied to Byrd's works in all genres, as well as to Renaissance music in general.

Keywords: motive, counterpoint, Byrd, Schenker, analysis, form, mode, motet, Renaissance


3616 Durocher #501
Montreal, Quebec
Canada,H2X 2E8

Date Listed: 10/20/2006

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