Sometimes the Music Wins: Text and Music in a Willaert Madrigal

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Peter Schubert


This study applies Kofi Agawu’s proposed method for analyzing texted music (1992), in which the music is analyzed alone before the text and music are considered together, to an early madrigal by Willaert. Focusing primarily on counterpoint, it is a detailed study of Willaert’s complex compositional technique. It shows that he responded to the poem in many ways, but at the same time he made many purely musical decisions. I consider what his motivations for these decisions might have been, and enumerate musical means he used to respond to the different aspects of his text.

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