Arts & Culture | Musical Centres | Medieval Era | Classical
In the second half of the twelfth century, the new cathedral of Notre Dame was the focus of an extraordinary effort by Leonin and others to create a whole new musical liturgy.
Thanks to their efforts and to the presence of the increasingly independent University of Paris, whose curriculum was aimed towards ecclesiastical careers, the city became a leading musical centre. From Paris emanated the most important developments in musical notation in the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the motet genre and, probably, the secular formes fixes.
Poetic works from fourteenth-century Florence sometimes mention the activities of its artistic community. Giovanni da Prato’s Paradiso degli Alberti describes gatherings of poets and musicians at the home of the poet Antonio degli Alberti; Landini was among those who attended these meetings. Some musicians referred to in this and other poems are represented in the Squarcialupi Codex. Another great poem of the time, Boccaccio’s Decameron, shows how music played a part in everyday life.
The dukes of Burgundy were important and generous musical patrons and the many composers whose work they fostered have collectively become known as the ‘Burgundian school’, even though most of their activity was focused in the courts of the Low Countries (e.g., Lille, Bruges and Brussels). The dukes had the finest chapel of their age, employing musicians such as Binchois and Busnoys and, later Alexander Agricola (c. 1446–1506); the Burgundian tradition merged with that of the Spanish court to produce one of the most important institutions of the Renaissance.
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