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T. Frantova

Musico-poetic line and its role in the formation of themes in the motets of Palestrina

The article is devoted to the problems of thematic organization in polyphonic compositions of strict counterpoint. Issues of theme specificity in strict counterpoint are often discussed in the literature in a deliberative way, and meanwhile, many interesting ideas related to terminology, as well as theoretical insights into the class of musico-poetic forms have emerged over recent years, which allows us to raise an issue of thematic organization in a polyphonic motet of the 16th century in a new way. The author hypothesizes that the role of the theme in the imitative section of the motet form is not an autonomous melodic formation, but a musico- poetic line, in which there are two levels of structural organization – the text line and the melodic soggetto. The initial sections of Palestrina’s imitative motets in four or five voices, which lack cantus firmus in their compositional foundation served as a material for analytical summaries. In such compositions the thematic musico-poetic line, being sufficiently developed, is fixed through the technique of imitation. The number of musico-poetic lines, serving as a theme in the initial imitative section, is determined by the individual design of a particular composition. At the same time, the organization of the musical soggetto often combines stable (strict) and variable (free) parts.

Key words

musical thematism in strict counterpoint, Palestrina’s imitative motet, musico-poetic form, musico-poetic line.