Modal Analysis of Jacque Arcadelt

Modal Analysis of Jacque Arcadelt - Modal Analysis of...

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Modal Analysis of Jacque Arcadelt’s Quand’ io pens’ al martire Prepared by David Grogan for MUMH 6520 Quand’ io pens’ al martire is a beautifully sad piece by Jacque Arcadelt that expresses a spurned lover’s conflict between wanting to live to see his love, and wanting to die to avoid the pain that this love causes. The dual nature of the text is reflected in the setting by Arcadelt, as we shall see. There are choices one has to make when performing this piece, and I will try to mention some of the choices I didn’t make for this analysis. The solmization of this piece is pretty straightforward, with a few exceptions. The first problematic area is in ms. 11 and ms. 29. In these instances there is a potential mi contra fa problem between the bass/tenor and cantus. The problem is short in duration, and on a weak beat, so is not a huge factor. In addition, the text in both of those places involve words like “pain”, “bitterness”, and “torment.” So, adding some dissonance to those words could be just what the composer intended. The second troubling spot is from ms. 12-16 and its repeated section in ms. 30-34. If you choose to use Bbs in ms 11, then you might have to consider continuing them into the next section. If you do use soft hexachord for the cantus and tenor here, all the solmization lines up, and you have perfect imitation. However, the dual nature of the text, and the dual nature of the music treatment seems to call for these lines to be different. Finally, the ending of the piece causes some problems in solmization, but I address that later in this analysis.
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