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· lim · · Libreria musicale italiana ·

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L’Ars Nova Italiana
del Trecento
. viii .

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In copertina: Roger Fry (1866-1934), Wedding tray / Desco nuziale, Berenson Collection,
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© 2014 Libreria Musicale Italiana, Lim srl, via di Arsina 296/f, I-55100 Lucca –
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Beyond 50 years of Ars Nova

Studies at Certaldo

Atti del Convegno internazionale di Studi

(Certaldo, Palazzo Pretorio, 12-14 giugno 2009)

a cura di
Marco Gozzi, Agostino Ziino e Francesco Zimei

. libreria musicale italiana .


IX Presentazioni
XIII Premessa

3 Giuseppe Tavani
A modo di prologo. Convergenze tra filologia testuale e filologia musicale
9 Joachim Schulze
Il ‘connubio di musica e poesia’ nel Duecento italiano e l’estetica cerimoniale
25 Blake Wilson
Dante’s Forge: Poetic Modeling and Musical Borrowing in Late Trecento
57 Benjamin Brand
Secundum Consuetudinem Romanae Curiae: Private Patronage and the
Papal Liturgy in Late Medieval Tuscany
69 Bernard Vecchione
Une poétique du motet médiéval: textes, hypotextes et niveaux de discours dans
l’Ave regina celorum / Tenor [Joseph] / Mater innocencie de Marchetto
da Padova
135 Oliver Huck
I mottetti nei frammenti D-Mbs 3223, CCl. 499 e Cortona, Archivio storico del
Comune 2
147 Francesco Facchin
Il Sanctus Sanans fragilia / Salva nos in Ivrea 115 e nelle fonti correlate: note
sulle modalità di elaborazione e costituzione del repertorio
167 Michael Scott Cuthbert
Church Polyphony apropos of some Old Fragments in Rome

183 Marco Gozzi – Michele Manganelli

Un nuovo frammento italiano del Trecento: il Manoscritto M 50 della Bibliote-
ca Michele Manganelli
217 Tiziana Sucato
I modi dell’espressività in Piero. I madrigali Sì come al canto della bella Igua-
na e Quando l’aere comença a farse bruno
241 Andreas Janke
Giovanni e Piero Mazzuoli. Due compositori fiorentini del tardo Trecento
255 Francesco Zimei
Sulle tracce di Zacara a Firenze
265 Anne Hallmark
Johannes Ciconia: reviewing the documentary evidence
287 Margaret Bent
Some singers of polyphony in Padua and Vicenza around Pietro Emiliani and
Francesco Malipiero
305 Jan Herlinger
Research in Medieval Music Theory: the Next Fifty Years
313 Signe Rotter-Broman
Analysis and Historiography. Questions of Methodology Concerning Polypho-
nic Songs from the Late Trecento
325 Jeannie Ma. Guerrero
Musical Analysis and the Characterization of Compositional Identity: New
Evidence for the Anonymous Checc’a tte piaccia
353 Christian Berger
«...perciò el mio cor ti dono». Die Lauda Poy ch’amor der Handschrift Pz
373 Pedro Memelsdorff
Fiortise. Riflessioni preliminari per l’analisi delle intavolature di Faenza 117
401 Evan A. MacCarthy
The Sources and Early Readers of Ugolino of Orvieto’s Declaratio Musice


427 Paolo Peretti – Agostino Ziino

Ancora sul frammento di Montefortino
449 Michael Scott Cuthbert
A Postscript to the Montefortino Fragment with Transcriptions
461 David Fallows
The songs of Nicolas de Merques
483 Peter Wright
Nuove scoperte sulla carriera di Nicolas de Merques
489 Emily Zazulia
Updating Puyllois’s Missa Sine nomine
505 James Haar – John Nádas
Florentine Chapel Singers, 1448-1469

Jeannie Ma. Guerrero

Musical Analysis and the Characterization

of Compositional Identity:
New Evidence for the Anonymous Checc’a tte piaccia

Historians of all medieval art forms are plagued by unattributed artworks. For
instance, controversy surrounds the most recognizable artist of Medieval Italy,
Giotto di Bondone (c. 1267-1337). Scholars have disputed for nearly a century
whether Giotto painted or designed one of the most well-known fresco cycles
of the era, the Life of Saint Francis in the Upper Church of Assisi’s San Frances-
co. If one or several artists surpassed the technical mastery of Giotto during his
life, posterity has yet to identify their names. Consequently, other works of these
unidentified artists may never arise in connection with the frescoes, rendering
analysis of the frescoes’ technical development impossible, let alone their precise
As can be imagined, the realm of music poses similarly grave problems. The
work of Francesco Landini, the most recognizable musician of the Trecento, also
raises identity questions. For instance, Francesco’s ballata I’ son un pellegrin had
previously been attributed to Giovanni da Firenze by Davison and Apel.1 The
still anonymous Chosa non è ch’a sè tanto mi tiri, a unicum in London, British Li-
brary, Additional 29987 (Lo) has only been loosely attributed by Agostino Ziino
to Francesco.2

1. archibald t. davison and willi apel, Historical Anthology of Music, I, Harvard

University Press, Cambridge 1950, p. 54.
2. agostino ziino, Chosa non è ch’a sé tanto mi tiri: una ballata anonima nello stile di
Francesco Landini, in La Toscana nel secolo XIV. Caratteri di una civiltà regionale, a c. di Sergio
jeannie ma. guerrero

Still, the name of Francesco today eclipses that of his contemporary Paolo da
Firenze (Tenorista), but during the early fifteenth century the two proved diffi-
cult to distinguish. Such confusion greatly impacted the production of MS Paris,
Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds italien 568 (Pit). In four of the manuscript’s four-
teen gatherings scribes erased thirty-one ascriptions to compositions by Franc-
esco and Paolo. Since Paolo’s music has survived in so few sources, the erased
ascriptions have severely affected its reception. Many works have regained their
places in Paolo’s oeuvre, largely through efforts initiated by Ursula Günther.3 The
detective work of Nádas has identified two copyists who erased the ascriptions,
and a third scribe who points to additional pieces by Paolo.4 By examining signs
left by this third scribe Nádas attributes two more unascribed ballate to Paolo:
Altro che sospirar and Già la sperança.5

Gensini, Centro di Studi sulla civiltà del tardo Medioevo – Pacini, San Miniato-Lucca 1988 (Collana
di studi e ricerche, 2), pp. 519-38. Part of my own ongoing research concerns this composition and
reinforcing Ziino’s determinations through the analytical method employed in the present study.
3. ursula günther, Die ‘anonymen’ Kompositionen des Manuskripts Paris, B.N., fonds
italien, 568 (Pit), «Archiv für Musikwissenschaft», xxiii 1966, pp. 73-92. Further pieces have been
identified through concordances with newly discovered sources. For instance, Perugia, Library of
B. Brumana & G. Ciliberti, MS fragment (Cil) – which is devoted solely to Paolo – has been used
to bolster attributions to Paolo, although the scribe who copied out the fragments worked on them
after working on the production of Pit (and thus may have been confused); see biancamaria
brumana – galliano ciliberti, Nuove fonti per lo studio dell’opera di Paolo da Firenze, «Rivista
Italiana di Musicologia», xxii 1987, pp. 3-17.
4. In The Transmission of Trecento Secular Polyphony: Manuscript Production and Scribal
Practices in Italy at the End of the Middle Ages (Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University, 1985),
Nádas provides an overview of Pit’s gathering structure and shows that two scribes, identified as
Scribes “B” and “E,” copied the bulk of Francesco’s and Paolo’s compositions. These two scribes
must have been confused, as «all erased composer attributions in the MS can be associated only
with Landini and Paolo works copied by Scribes B and E beginning in the ninth gathering» (pp.
280-1). The confusion may have stemmed when alphabetizing both composers’ works by title (pp.
5. john nádas, The Songs of Don Paolo Tenorista: the Manuscript Tradition, in In cantu et in
sermone for Nino Pirrotta on his 80th birthday, ed. by Fabrizio Della Seta and Franco Piperno, Olschki
– University of Western Australia Press, Firenze 1989, pp. 41-64. The copyist identified as “Scribe
D” made brown marks in the manuscript’s index that strongly suggest Paolo’s authorship. The two
works in question lack an ascription, but they bear the brown markings and appear to have been
entered in Nádas’ Layer II, along with many other of Paolo’s works. In ongoing research, I have
found further evidence that the two pieces exhibit characteristic traits of Paolo’s compositional
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

The present paper will present new evidence for identifying the author
of Checc’a tte piaccia, a three-voice ballata that has not been attributed to any-
one. The ballata appears without any ascription in an erasure-ridden location
in Pit (fols. 91v-92r, Gathering 10), which alone suggests authorship by either
Francesco or Paolo (Table 1).6 Further, its surface dissonance, harmonic mate-
rial, and large-scale planning manifest themselves in a revealing manner. In the
pages to follow, the musical analysis of counterpoint will not be undertaken for
itself or, ideally, in isolation from the compositional fabric into which contra-
puntal strands are woven. Rather, analysis will play an active role in generating
otherwise unseen bodies of evidence. Such evidence sheds much needed light
on fundamental characterizations of compositional identity and, subsequently,
individual as well as collective style.

Trecento harmony
The ensuing examination of Checc’a tte piaccia falls within the context of a large-
scale study of 115 three-voice ballate.7 The three-voice ballate offer analytical ad-
vantages for several reasons. First, the three-voice pieces showcase composers’
skills in free composition, since they do not use a chant model. In addition, the
ballate outnumber all other genres, accounting for the majority of the known
Italian compositional output during this period. Further, the stable poetic-mu-
sical form brings individual composers’ preferences into relief. Lastly, Francesco
and Paolo lead the genre as its most prolific contributors, thereby leaving behind
numerous samples of their compositional idioms.
Discant treatises of the period provide insight into the types of three-voice
sonorities composers may have preferred to use. Occasionally a treatise will in-
clude discussions on how to improvise two discants above a single chant Tenor.

6. In Gathering 10, one two-voice piece by a different composer, Arrigo’s (also known as
Henricus) El capo biondo, is copied at the bottom of fols. 96v -97r directly underneath Paolo’s Fatto
m’à sdegno partir vie d’amore.
7. At this time, the two-voice pieces do not factor into my work. For instance, surface
dissonance in Francesco’s two-voice pieces occurs at a higher incidence than in his three-voice
pieces. The opposite holds true for Paolo’s music, which exhibits more surface dissonance in
the three-voice pieces than in the two-voice pieces. The distinctions prevent a straightforward
generalization of either composer’s style with particular regard to this aspect.
Table 1. Gathering 10 of Pit.

jeannie ma. guerrero
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

Such discussions yield information on permissible three-voice sonorities, as is

offered by the Ars discantus secundum Johannem de Muris:

De compositione contrapunctus. Quicumque voluerit duos contrapunctus

sive discantus componere super unum tenorem, debet se cavere ne duas equipol-
lentes sive consimiles concordantias componat, ut in uno contrapunctu quintam
et in alio duodecimam et e contra; aut in uno octavam et in alio duplicem octavam
et [-93-] e contra; aut in uno tertiam et in alio decimam; aut in uno sextam et in
alio decimam tertiam et contra; et sic de aliis, quia ibidem nulla esset diversitas,
nec ibidem apparerent duo soni, sed tantum unus... Et dulce quod potest, poni
est quando quinta ponitur in uno contrapunctu et in alio decima, quia quamvis
tenor taceret, illi duo contrapunctus insimul concordarentur sine tenore, quia es-
set sexta. Item etiam dulce est quando decima in uno contrapunctu ponitur et in
alio duodecima, quia etiam sic tenor concordaretur et maneret tertia. (cs, iii: 93,1)

[On the composition of counterpoint. Whoever wishes to compose two

counterpoints or discants over a single tenor ought to beware lest he compose
two equivalent or similar concords. For instance a fifth in one counterpoint and a
twelfth in the other, and vice versa; or an octave in one and double octave in the
other, and vice versa; or a third and a tenth; or a sixth and a thirteenth, and vice
versa. And the same with others, since there would be no diversity there, and there
would appear to be not two notes but only one…And it is nice what is able to be
placed, when a fifth is positioned in one counterpoint and a tenth in the other.
Because even if the tenor were silent, the two counterpoints would together be
concordant without the tenor since they make a sixth. Also it is nice when a tenth
is placed in one counterpoint and a twelfth in the other, since also the tenor thus
is concordant and it leaves behind a third.]

The recommendations noted above exhibit a preference for triadic sonori-

ties (Example 1a), even though the triadic principle would not be developed for
centuries. Still, the absence of a Lippian triad does not preclude any preference
for triadic sonorities. Further, the absence indicates a functional multiplicity for
harmonic materials of similar content, but not necessarily a radical divergence
among them.
The Ars discantus secundum Johannem de Muris also provides an inventory of
permissible consonances created by a Contratenor discanting below a given Ten-
or when a carmen lies at or above the Tenor. The Contratenor can theoretically
assume the same consonances that may be discanted above: unison, third, fifth,

jeannie ma. guerrero

sixth, octave, and tenth, but nothing larger. However, permissible sonorities be-
low the Tenor depend on the sonority created above the Tenor (Example 1b):

De compositione carminum. Ad sciendum componere carmina vel motetos

cum tribus, scilicet cum tenore carmine et contratenore, primo notandum est
quod quando unisonus habetur super principalem tenorem, tunc tertia sub tenore
vel quinta sub vel sexta sub; que sexta tunc non dulce sonat nec octava sub; et dec-
ima sub potest poni in contratenore, sed eadem concordatio non potest ibidem
poni. (cs, iii: 93,3)

[On the composition of carmina. On knowing how to compose carmina or

motets in three voices, along with the tenor a carmen and contratenor. First it
must be noted that whenever a unison be held above the principal tenor, then
[let] a third, fifth, or sixth [be] under the tenor. A sixth then does not sound nice,
nor does an octave below. A tenth can be placed below in the contratenor, but the
same concordance cannot be put in the same place.]

Despite representing a very different practice from free composition in three

voices, the two-discant and carmen methods substantially limit the number of
possible three-voice sonorities. In general, these discussions voice preferences
for sonorities that outwardly assume the forms of modern-day root-position and
first-inversion triads. However, not all voicings of triads are preferred. For in-
stance, the quote above discourages placing a sixth beneath the Tenor when the
carmen lies at a unison with the Tenor. Secondly, in the diagrams following this
discussion, nowhere is the sonority (the most common tendency sonority found
in the repertoire) found. Further, the two-discant discussion would not privilege
the sonority since it produces a fourth, an interval that ceased to be considered
as consonant around 1336 according to Crocker.8
Period treatises also do not provide any information about specific succes-
sions of three-voice sonorities. At best, authors proclaim only that discant or
counterpoint rules should be upheld between each discant with the chant, as
Crocker summarizes:

The medieval writer says: «When adding the third voice, proceed as in dis-
cant», meaning that the third voice will proceed through the proper concords in
contrary motion with one of the other two. (12)

8. richard crocker, Discant, Counterpoint, and Harmony, «Journal of the American

Musicological Society», xv 1962, pp. 1-21.
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

Example 1a. Model sonorities in Ars discantus secundum Johannem de Muris

Example 1b. Model sonorities in Ars discantus secundum Johannem de Muris

The Quatuor principalia (1351) refers to the principle that the upper voices
must concord with the lowest. The author describes how to discant below the
tenor, using the same concords and procedures as in discanting above. (13)

The dearth of detailed theorizing does not indicate negligence or even igno-
rance, since general principles for three-voice successions defy reduction to a few
rules. Modern theorists often credit Rameau as the first to succeed at developing
a general theory of harmonic motion. However, by then the concept of harmony
had evolved considerably. Even modern curricula allow for one or two years to
instruct students in the art of composing harmonic designs.
Within the confines of preferred vertical sonorities in treatises and actual har-
monies found in surviving pieces, it is possible to derive the limited number of
ways in which three-voice sonorities succeed one another. To this end I surveyed
a wide range of music, starting with Bartolino da Padova and ending with pieces
possibly attributable to Ciconia and Zacara da Teramo. All three voices are treat-
ed equally as integral contrapuntal elements.9 Unlike Carl Schachter’s Schenker-

9. As Fuller and Leach note, period treatises do not describe three-voice sonorities. See
sarah fuller, On Sonority in Fourteenth-Century Music: Some Preliminary Reflections, «Journal of
jeannie ma. guerrero

ian analyses of the ballate, the work here does not privilege stepwise motion in
parallel perfect intervals.10 Such motions occasionally inhabit various structural
levels in individual pieces, but they are not ubiquitous in the music. Two main
progression types govern all harmonic motion: progressions that retain common
tones, and progressions that do not retain common tones.11 Tone-retaining pro-
gressions underlie any structural level and take three general forms. Progressions
that change all tones between sonorities include the oft-studied directed pro-
gression as well as non-directed contrapuntal expansions.12 Such progressions
also operate on any available level and assume a limited number of general forms.
Overall, no single paradigm dominates a given compositional design among the
115 ballate surveyed. Rather, several distinct paradigms interact with each other
to shape large spans of music. The multiplicity of harmonic possibilities stands
in stark contrast with common-practice tonality, in which modularized chord
progressions follow essentially a single paradigm.

Music Theory», xxx 1986, pp. 35-70; and elizabeth eva leach, Gendering the Semitone, Sexing
the Leading Tone: Fourteenth-Century Music Theory and the Directed Progression, «Music Theory
Spectrum», xxviii 2006, pp. 1-21. Each converts three-voice counterpoint to an outgrowth or
permutation of two-voice counterpoint. In contrast, I treat the three voices as integral wholes.
Directed motion is clearer when all three voices participate, and there is less reliance on alterations
to identify them. As for the issue of scribally composed or otherwise alien Contratenors, I accept
them provisionally; as will be seen, they contribute to identifiable aspects of each composer. It may
ultimately be more fruitful to refer to a composer as representing a studio rather than an individual.
10. I refer to extended graphic analyses of fourteenth-century compositions in the Schenkerian
mold, which include felix salzer, Structural Hearing: Tonal Coherence in Music, Charles Boni,
New York 1952, and carl schachter, Landini’s Treatment of Consonance and Dissonance: A Study
in Fourteenth-Century Counterpoint, «The Music Forum», ii 1967, pp. 130-86. In sympathetically
analytical work, Michael Long finds that scalar descents form a basis on which to characterize
entire repertoires in Landini’s Musical Patrimony: A Reassessment of Some Compositional Conventions
in Trecento Polyphony, «Journal of the American Musicological Society», xl 1987, pp. 31-52.
11. The paradigms here build upon those outlined in jeannie ma. guerrero, Francesco’s
Dream: Musical Logic in Landini’s Three-Voice Ballate, «Music Theory Online», xiii 2007, §1-40.
12. See especially fuller, On Sonority in Fourteenth-Century Music; david e. cohen, ’The
Imperfect Seeks its Perfection’: Harmonic Progression, Directed Motion, and Aristotelian Physics,
«Music Theory Spectrum», xxiii 2001, pp. 139-69; leach, Gendering the Semitone, Sexing the
Leading Tone, cit. and ead.,Counterpoint and Analysis in Fourteenth-Century Song, «Journal of
Music Theory», xliv 2000, pp. 45-79.
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

Example 2. Tone-retaining counterpoint in treatises

Progressions that retain tones

The first main type of harmonic paradigm has been artificially separated from the
second type because it has not been fully discussed in the literature. Individual
manifestations of this type can be found in counterpoint manuals such as the Ars
ad discantandum contrapunctum attributed to Paolo, the Regulae de contrapunto of
Antonio de Leno, the Liber musicalium of Philippe de Vitry, as well as the “Vatican
Organum Treatise”. Example 2 shows one voice moving against the second, which
remains stationary on a retained pitch. The changed tones create smooth motion
between perfect consonances (i.e., the first and last chords in the successions)
while eliminating parallel perfect intervals.
Tone-retaining paradigms fall into three main groups, which have been de-
vised for facilitating their description. The three groups include configurations
jeannie ma. guerrero

that share one to three tones. Shared tones need not be linked continuously in a
single vocal part, and they may even change register. While the two conditions
often hold true in practice, adventurous retentions boldly explore the limits of
connection. Additionally, the triadic concept does not underlie the music. That
is, different voicings of the same triad do not function as equivalents. The pres-
ent discussion associates sonorities of similar pitch content for descriptive pur-
poses by employing the phrase “tonal determinant,” which largely corresponds
to the modern conception of “root.” The tonal determinant will serve as the basis
for distinguishing among the three types.
In short, the tonal determinant can do any of three but only three things to re-
tain tones: maintain its identity, assume a new identity a third upward or down-
ward, or assume a new identity a fifth upward or downward. That is, it can do
anything except move by a step. When the tonal determinant remains the same
between sonorities (Example 3a) it is possible to retain a maximum of three dis-
tinct tones (exclusive of tones duplicated within a single sonority). The sonor-
ities can be linked by voice exchanges, octave displacements (i.e., motion to a
different register), or held tones. When the tonal determinant changes to one
a (virtual) third away (Example 3b) a maximum of two distinct tones can be
retained. Lastly, a change of tonal determinant to one a fifth away (Example 3c)
retains only one tone.

Progressions that do not retain tones

The second large category includes stepwise motion in all voices, as occurs with-
in directed progressions. Example 4a shows Sarah Fuller’s T6/5→R 8/5, a par-
adigm that articulates 86% of all formal divisions in the ballate.13 It also appears
between cadential articulations. Again, the 6/3 is not identified as a preferred
sonority in the Ars discantus secundum loannem de Muris. The progression can
be revoiced in two ways, as T10/6→R12/8(Example 4b) and T5/3→R5/1 (Ex-
ample 4c). Both of these revoicings create parallel fifths – depending on any ap-
plied ficta – between two voices. The latter potentially involves the tenor voice,
thus introducing parallels into the essential two-voice counterpoint. The parallel
fifths in T5/3→R5/1 involve the lowest sounding voice, which is the Cantus 15%
of the time, the Contratenor 50% of the time, and the Tenor 35% of the time. The

13. fuller, On Sonority.

musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

Example 3a. Tone-retaining progressions. Tonal determinant does not change.

Example 3b. Tone-retaining progressions. Tonal determinant displaced by third.

Example 3c. Tone-retaining progressions. Tonal determinant displaced by fifth.

progression appears at 14 cadences in the repertoire (roughly 2% of all cadences),

and it thus cannot be written off as a contrapuntal anomaly. In all three para-
digms, the tonal determinant moves upward by step.
The ballate feature another type of directed progression, T6/5→R8/5, which
harbors an expanding sixth along with parallel fifths in the lowest two voices
(Example 5). The Cantus and Tenor move in parallels 15% of the time, while
jeannie ma. guerrero

Contratenor and Tenor create parallels in the remaining 85% of cases. The T6/5
sonority here is specifically outlawed by the Ars discantus secundum loannem de

Et debet etiam se cavere in uno contrapunctu ut componat quintam et in alio

sextam et e contra, aut in uno duodecimam et in alio duplicem sextam et e contra,
aut in uno quintam et in alio duplicem sextam et e contra, aut in uno duodecimam
et in alio sextam et e contra, quia totaliter discordarentur, eo quod oriuntur ex
secundis. (cs, iii, 93, 1)
[And he ought also to beware of composing a fifth in one counterpoint and a
sixth in the other, and vice versa; or a twelfth in one and the compound sixth in
the other, and vice versa; and a fifth in one and a compound sixth in the other, and
vice versa; and a twelfth in one and a sixth in the other, and vice versa; since they
would be discordant as a totality, which originates from the second.]

Still, the progression accounts for 2% of cadences in the 115 ballate surveyed.
In the examples shown there is no opportunity to eliminate the parallel fifths
between the lowest voices through figuration or reduction. These instances will
be called “structural T6/5 progressions.” The tonal determinant of the T6/5 – as
in Rameau’s double emploi centuries later – provokes debate, as it could be either
the lowest or the highest note in the sonority (for E-B-C, the determinant could
be E or C). Either way, the tonal determinant moves by step to that of the resolu-
tion sonority (E to D, C to D).
In addition to directed progressions, sonorities connect to one another
through conglomerations of passing or neighbor tones without conveying the
same urgency (Example 6). In the great majority of cases, contrapuntal expan-
sions enable tone-retaining and directed progressions to inhabit larger spans.
The contrapuntal chord in the left-hand side of Example 6 creates a voice ex-
change between the outer sonorities. The outer sonorities, in turn, share a tonal
determinant of A. The contrapuntal chord in the right-hand side of Example 6
serves as the middle term in a parallel succession of chords. The tonal determi-
nant shifts from F of the first sonority to D in the last sonority. All the while, a
virtual voice exchange also transpires. The contrapuntal expansion prepares the
arrival of F, which participates in a directed progression to E.
The three-voice ballata repertoire as a whole exhibits a discernible hierarchy
of usage. Figures 1 and 2 show that T6/3→R8/5 occurs by far the most often,
with cadential progressions appearing at a 39:61 distribution with non-cadential
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

progressions. Composers use T10/6→R12/8 5% as often, with a distribution of

12:88; that is, the progression infrequently occurs at cadences. T6/3→R8/5 oc-
curs 6% as often as T10/6→R12/8, with a 22:78 distribution. Lastly, the structur-
al T6/5→R8/5 appears 3% as often with a 28:72 distribution.
jeannie ma. guerrero

As individual composers, Francesco and Paolo employ these four types of

directed progressions at different rates per piece. Francesco composes more
of each progression type per piece as Paolo, with one glaring exception. Paolo
writes two-thirds fewer T6/3→R8/5 progressions per piece as Francesco (Fig-
ures 3 and 4); the progression rates of both composers stand at a 40:60 propor-
tion, Paolo to Francesco. The comparative distribution for T10/6→R12/8 pro-
gressions is roughly equal at 47:53, while the two diverge at a 30:70 proportion
for T5/3→R5/1 progressions. Most strikingly, Paolo’s ballate feature 7.5 times as
many structural T6/5→R8/5 progressions as Francesco, in an 88:12 proportion.
In fact, Paolo makes the most idiomatic usage of structural T6/5→R8/5 pro-
gressions out of all composers represented in the repertoire. Thirty-nine struc-
tural progressions occur in the three-voice ballate repertoire as a whole, and they
appear in only six of the twelve notated tonal types. As shown by Table 2, they oc-
cur most often in one tonal type, =D. The table uses Plumley’s nomenclature for
tonal types.14 The finals of each type designate the lowest-sounding note of the
ripresa cadence (chiuso cadences in those cases where an verto ending is present).
Paolo uses the progression twenty-one times, nearly double the other composers
combined. Table 3 shows the usage of structural T6/5 progressions in the =D

14. yolanda plumley, The Grammar of 14th Century Melody: Tonal Organization and
Compositional Process in the Chansons of G. de Machaut and the Ars Subtilior, Routledge 1996.
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

Figure 1. Directed progression in all three-voice ballate.

Figure 2. Distribution of non-cadential and cadential directed progressions.

tonal type. Francesco is represented by a single progression in =D, thus at a rate

of 0.045 progressions for his twenty-two ballate in the tonal type. Paolo, in stark
contrast, uses the progression at a rate of 1.154 progressions for his fifteen ballate
in =D; at most he uses four structural progressions in a single ballata. Checc’a tte
piaccia employs three progressions, which is therefore a high incidence rate.
jeannie ma. guerrero

Figure 3.

Figure 4. Distribution of directed progressions.

The structural T6/5→R8/5 progressions used in Checc’a tte piaccia match

Paolo’s placement of the progressions in his pieces. Table 4 shows Paolo’s over-
whelming preference for the second and third degrees of the =D tonal type (that
is, relative to the ripresa’s chiuso cadence). This preference is also exhibited by
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

Checc’a tte piaccia. Francesco’s sole entry in the table falls at the fourth degree.
Similarly, Paolo places the progressions at cadences most often on the second
degree in =D, as does Checc’a tte piaccia (Table 5). Francesco does not use the
progression at cadences in any tonal type.
Because of the inherent parallel perfect fifths in the progression, the T6/5
sonority projects a distinctive character that sets it apart from T6/3. It seems
that Paolo favors the sound because he also writes surface parallel fifths more
frequently than Francesco. Indeed, Sarah Fuller has placed Paolo’s counterpoint
manual within a multi-phase curriculum that begins with the practice she calls
“fifthing.”15 Fuller finds evidence that fifthing served as one of several composi-
tional styles with which elite, non-musical circles identified. Whereas Frances-
co addressed other educated musicians through Contemplar le gran cose and his
missive featuring William of Ockham, Paolo may have written for a different,
perhaps less musically inclined audience.16

15. sarah fuller, Discant and the Theory of Fifthing, «Acta Musicologica», l 1978, pp.
241-75. Fuller disputes the equation of Paolo da Firenze the pedagogue with Paolo da Firenze the
composer, but this viewpoint does not seem to have persisted. This new connection to motivic
fifth usage in Paolo the composer’s music provides additional support for identifying him as the
treatise subject.
16. See michael long, Musical Tastes in the Fourteenth-Century Italy: Notational Styles,
Scholarly Tradition and Historical Circumstances, Ph.D. diss., Princeton University 1981, and
Guerrero, Francesco’s Dream.
jeannie ma. guerrero

musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

Compositional designs
Beyond surface dissimilarities, the most compelling difference between Franc-
esco and Paolo lies in their harmonic designs. Again, an infrequently occurring
detail most greatly distinguishes Paolo’s preferences from Francesco. In 1% of all
directed progressions (i.e., all types combined), the T sonority undergoes no-
ticeable extension and delay before it resolves to a stable sonority. What makes
the extension noticeable is that an inflected tone marks the onset of the progres-
sion but does not immediately resolve. Further, intermediate sonorities retain
the tone en route to resolution. The tone might also retain its inflection, but
often the inflection disappears in the interest of creating consonances with oth-
er voices. Taken as a whole, the initial inflected T sonority ultimately connects
to the T sonority that achieves resolution. One of the tone-retaining paradigms
discussed above gives shape to the connection between these T sonorities. Most
often, the initial T sonority connects to a second sonority with the same tonal

Paolo’s Se partir mi convien

With decidedly more frequency than Francesco, Paolo’s pieces contain extended
inflected tones within emergent T sonorities as part of large-scale directed pro-
gressions. The -D ballate Se partir mi convien show cases Paolo’s extensions and
is one of his most securely transmitted works. It appears in Pit in fols. 97v-98r,
where it is mixed among his own and Francesco’s compositions.17
As indicative of Paolo’s handiwork, the music employs a structural T6/5 pro-
gression two times.18 The top level of Example 7 shows a rhythmic reduction
from Pit.19 The second level represents each directed progression in the top lev-

17. As described by Nádas in The Songs of Paolo Tenorista, Scribe B copied the piece in Layer
II of production. Its ‘DP’ ascription has been erased in Pit, but it stands in Cil (fol. 95r).
18. As a point of contact with daniele sabaino, Per un’analisi delle strutture compositive nella
musica di Francesco Landini: Il caso della ballata Contemplar le gran cose, in “Col dolce suon che da
te piove”. Studi su Francesco Landini e la musica del suo tempo in memoria di Nino Pirrotta, ed. by
Antonio Delfino and Maria Teresa Rosa-Barezzani, SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo, Firenze 1999,
pp. 259-337, my reductions fill in the contrapuntal space between gliding sonorities.
19. The Pit reading is captured by Italian Secular Music, ed. by W. Thomas Marrocco,
(Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century, 11), Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre, Monaco 1978, pp.
jeannie ma. guerrero

el and shows the progress of sonorities between the directed progressions. The
third level reflects the harmonic organization across entire musical sections. The
occurrences at breves 5 and 26 exhibit no figuration on the first level; within the
latter the Contratenor’s B is inflected. Also of note, the directed progression at
breves 3-4 exhibits figuration that greatly weakens the resolution. Appropriate to
the music’s deflected motions, the poetry counteracts the departure theme of the
beginning: in the ripresa return (tornando) cancels out departure, while in the
piedi the narrator’s heart and spirit remain with the beloved, whom he exhorts
to remain faithful.
The piece also extends an inflected tone for lengthy spans in both the ripresa
and piedi. breves 8 through 16 retain a C in the Contratenor in conjunction with
an A in the Tenor; the C’s inflection initiates the tendential process. The Cantus
eventually steps upward to an inflected F, which resolves ahead of the two lower
voices (see breves 16-17) and thus undermines the progression’s conclusiveness.
Keeping with the Cantus’ hurried resolution, the beloved is told at this point in
the ripresa not to tarry, and in the volta the narrator voices his hopes to return
very soon.
The piedi contain an even more extensive expansion of an inflected C over a
simultaneously retained E at breves 44-56. The inflection appears several times
during the passage (breves 44, 45, 49), but each time the tones fail to resolve to
D. At a number of locations, breve 47 for example, the C’s inflection must be un-
done or else several subsequent inflections would be needed, such as the Cantus’
G and then its F, which would preclude the possibility of B- in the Tenor. The
initial C+ signals the start of expanded conation, but it must be borne in mind
that once the conative process begins, it does not end until the harmony achieves
definitive resolution, inflection or no.20 That being said, the verto ending com-
pletely leaves the progression unresolved rather than cadence on the second
modal degree, which happens at two-thirds of Paolo’s verto cadences. In fact, this
is the only verto ending of Paolo that concludes without a completed directed
progression. All told, the lingering C+ portrays the lady virtuously awaiting the
lover’s return.

20. The spectrum of weak to strong endings suggested by thomas brothers in Musica
Ficta and Harmony in Machaut’s Songs, «The Journal of Musicology», xv 1997, pp. 501-28, finds
an appealing counterpart in the ballata’s variously inflected progressions, offering subtle shades of
motion and release.
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity
Example 7. Prolonged C+ in Paolo’s Se partir mi convien

jeannie ma. guerrero

Other ballate by Paolo feature similar expansions: Altro che sospirar (=D),
Amor deh dimmi (=D), Se già seguir (=D), La vaga luce (--D), and Vago e benigno
Amor (--D). These D-based tonal types might figure prominently given that
they represent nearly 50% of the sample (56 out of 115 pieces).21 Also, the same
sonority (E-C+-E) undergoes extension in Se già seguir and Vago e benigno Amor.
Further, whole tones flank the D final on either side, thereby necessitating ficta
to enhance harmonic tendencies toward it.

Francesco’s Lasso! di donna vana inamorato

Lasso! di donna vana inamorato stands apart as perhaps Francesco’s most color-
ful and unusual ballata. The piece is notated in the =D tonal type. The Pit ver-
sion of the piece differs significantly from its version in MS Florence, Biblioteca
Nazionale Centrale, Panciatichiano 26 (Fp), which exhibits characteristics that
are quite atypical of Francesco. In particular, the Panciatichi version adds many
more inflected tones than the Pit transmission and thereby reveals an extended,
inflected T sonority. Despite the extremes to which this piece travels, it still does
not reach the scale of Paolo’s extensions.
At the very least, several inflected-tone retentions were perceptible to the
Panciatichi scribe.22 Again, the inflections make the extensions immediately ap-
parent, so it is possible to go back to the Pit reading and hear them there as well.
Here the lady deceives the lover with false appearances. The lover discovers the
true meaning of her deceptions, thereby realizing his lowliness in succumbing
to them. The music, too, gives off false appearances in the guise of numerous
inflected notes. These tones undergo inflection in the surface manner of Paolo
but at shorter length, plus their true meaning decidedly contrasts with Paolo’s
typical practice.
The first two breves of the ripresa foreshadow the treatment that C+ will re-
ceive throughout the composition (Example 8). At breve 5, the inflected tone

21. The other tonal-type families appear at much lower frequencies: C, 27 pieces; F, 19; G, 12;
and A, 1.
22. The ballata appears in three sources: Pit’s tenth gathering, as mentioned, Panciatichi 26
(fol. 28v), and the Squarcialupi Codex (fol. 132v). It exhibits features of both Scribes B and E. In
addition, it has the distinct honor of having been recorded by Judy Collins, as reviewed by david
fallows in Performing Early Music on Record-1: A Retrospective and Prospective Survey of the Music
of the Italian Trecento, «Early Music», iii 1975, pp. 252-60.
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

initially appears in the lowest sounding voice. The voicing does not characterize
Paolo, who typically places inflected tones in the Cantus or Contratenor. When
the C+ travels to the Contratenor at breve 10, the inflection stays with it. In signif-
icant contrast with Paolo’s retentions, the inflected tone conflicts with a D tonal
determinant at breves 18-19 and 21. This happens similarly at breves 27-30, where
the D determinant earnestly alternates with the retained C. The inflection does
not carry across the transfer between Cantus and Contratenor at breves 27-28.
Finally, at breves 32-35 the D determinant exerts its strongest influence so that it
demotes the C+ to the status of a surface ornamental tone; thus, the retained C+
makes its weakest case here. All told, the gradual degradation of the C+’s power
vividly portrays the deception by the «vana donna» as realized belatedly by the
unfortunate lover.
In the piedi, the inflected-tone retentions continue. At breves 47 through 49,
the Cantus bears a C+, which then passes to the Contratenor and subsequent-
ly loses its inflection. A much more extensive retention begins at breve 52 and
persists through breve 61. At first, the C+ enters via the Contratenor and then
the Tenor within an E sonority, then it resolves deceptively to an imperfect con-
sonance (breves 53 and 55), only to travel to the Cantus where it halts within A
at the end of the word «capello». The tone vanishes from view as the Cantus
soars to G+ at breve 60 over E in the Tenor, a tone that also has been retained in
conjunction with the C+. The G+ resolves locally to A, but on a deeper level it re-
solves later along with the C+ and E to D. Thus, the unresolved conation persists
to the point of resolution not only without a notated inflection, but without the
tone itself appearing just prior to it. The tone appears to resolve several times,
but as the music transpires it becomes apparent that the tone in fact lingers be-
hind the scenes without resolution. The changing meaning of the C+ parallels
the changing of the lover’s hair color when he realizes his baseness. After breve
62, the piedi use the same twelve breves of music that had concluded the ripresa
(and thus feature the same tone retentions), an extensive end-rhyme between
sections that is unusual for the Italian genre.23 While its length compares to Pao-
lo’s inventive extensions, the expansion in Lasso! di donna is much more convo-

23. A sampling of Francesco’s and Paolo’s best-transmitted compositions shows that cross-
section end rhymes, if they occur at all, typically comprise five or six breves: for Francesco’s Questa
fanciull’amor, 6 breves, Po’ che partir convien, 3 breves; Paolo’s Amor, de’ dimmi and Se partir mi
convien, 5 breves, Se gia seguir, 6 breves.
jeannie ma. guerrero

luted and conflicted. Further, it seems to be the exception rather than the rule
– if not constituting an entire class by itself – in the scope of Francesco’s general
harmonic practice.

Checc’a tte piaccia

Checc’a tte piaccia directly precedes Francesco’s Po’ che partir convien mi as well as
Lasso! di donna vana inamorato in Gathering 10 (Table 1). It is also close to Paolo’s
Se partir mi convien.24 Unlike the other two ballate discussed thus far, the poetry
of the ripresa and volta does not find echo in the piedi. Ripresa and volta comple-
ment each other perfectly, with the lover wishing for a place in the lady’s heart
that mirrors the place he has devoted to her. The piedi, in contrast, shift to the
lady’s external beauty and the longing it incites. The textual differences play out
harmonically: the ripresa follows an uncomplicated design, but the piedi retain
inflected tones.25 At the same time, the openings of each section follow a similar
harmonic model, and the sections also share closing material.
The ripresa achieves rather uncomplicated motion between G and D as tonal
determinants. Also, only the second breve harbors any notationally-enhanced
directed motion. Still, the ripresa follows the same basic tonal design as the piedi,
that of fifth motion between G- and D-driven sonorities. Each half of the ripresa
stays firmly within a single tonal determinant (G then D), as might depict the
narrator’s contentment and his projection of the lady’s loyalty. The even split
between the two tonal determinants might also represent the two posti depicted
by the poetry, the place of the Lady in the lover’s heart, and his (theoretical)
place in hers.
In the piedi the two tonal determinants conflict with one another even though
the music shares the harmonic design of the ripresa. Appropriate to the shift in
textual content, the two tonal determinants here might represent the compari-
sons being made between the lady and other women, whose resplendent garb
cannot outshine her beauty. The conflicting determinants also reveal that each
piede’s text does not fully complement the other. For instance, the interruption

24. The piece displays the handiwork of Nádas’ (The Songs of Paolo Tenorista) Scribe E, the
same copyist as Se gia seguir and many other of Paolo’s pieces. It does not bear Scribe D’s tell-tale
brown marking to indicate it as Paolo’s.
25. Again, the Pit reading is essentially Marrocco’s edition from Pit, see Italian Secural Music
(PMFC, 11), pp. 18-20.
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity
Example 8. Expanded C+ in Francesco’s Lasso! di donna

Example 9. Two levels of retained C+ in anonymous Checc’a tte piaccia

jeannie ma. guerrero
musical analysis and the characterization of compositional identity

on Gat breve 29 seems to paint the lady’s beauty shining forth from within a D
tonal determinant. The second time around, the interruption seems to inflame
the narrator’s desire, forcing him into a disordered shift back to a D tonal deter-
minant and then the retained inflected tone. In all, Checc’a tte piaccia possesses
several inherent design conflicts poetically, which the damaged coherence of the
music beautifully captures.
At breve 26, the music begins to retain an inflected tone with striking similar-
ity to Paolo’s Se partir mi convien (Example 9). The C+ first enters as part of an E
sonority, the exact configuration that Paolo uses in Se partir mi convien. Unlike
the other retentions discussed thus far, the retention here is interrupted entirely
by a directed progression to G at breves 28-29. The latter progression thus ap-
pears to retain a different C+ than the one entering at breve 26. Indeed, the first
C+ undergoes retention along with the Tenor’s E; together they require resolu-
tion to D, not G. The C+ of breve 26 resurfaces later at breve 31, remaining in the
cantus and now appearing within a full-fledged T. In all, the retention proper
unfolds through the Contratenor’s descent from E to B. The E sonority at breve
26 and the measure of music leading up to it reappear virtually unchanged at the
verto ending (breves 33-34).26 Further, the chiuso ending seems to resume exactly
where the verto had stopped, which might argue for inflecting the Cantus’s C at
breve 35. Reading the two endings as the same, essentially, I have interpreted the
C+ at breve 34 as being retained through breve 37.

The findings presented above show distinguishable characterizations of Franc-
esco and Paolo that cannot be ignored. The three-voice ballata Checc’a tte piaccia
employs three structural T6/5 progressions, which are particularly idiomatic of
Paolo. The three progressions fall on the same degrees within the tonal type as

26. The recurrence of breves 25-26 at the verto ending raises questions as to the syntactical role
played by the E sonority, which acquires the character of an abrupt stop rather than a more defined
rest. If breve 34 served in the capacity of something akin to a half-cadence, it might be possible to
read the corresponding moment at breve 26 also as a half-cadence. However, the textual structure
has only reached a midpoint at breve 26, which would thus negate the disruption created by a half-
cadential gesture.  Thus, I am loathe to consider breve 34 as a full stop and am more convinced that
it functions as a truncated version of the chiuso ending. This still does not explain why breves 25-26
would be the same, which needless to say, remains a bizarre feature of the composition.
jeannie ma. guerrero

several other ballate by Paolo. The piece also extends an inflected tone within an
imperfect sonority for a great length of time, a feature that further characterizes
Paolo’s music. In addition to its placement within Pit, Checc’a tte piaccia thus
exhibits many signs that highly suggest Paolo’s authorship, a possibility not seri-
ously entertained before.
None of these characterizations could have arisen had the analytical method-
ologies adhered strictly to period theory manuals and treatises. For the most part,
surviving theoretical sources on discant and counterpoint address the youngest
of singers and composer. It is no failing on their part that advanced composition-
al techniques do not surface. The sources also do not provide for sonorities that
appear in actual music, such as the 1200 T6/3 chords in the ballate. The sources
do not allow T6/5 sonorities, the use of which Paolo favors more than any other
composer and is perhaps his most identifiable trait. Obviously, theory sources
do not discuss three-voice paradigms of any sort.
Still, analytical examination can offer new contexts and resources for evaluat-
ing attributions. In the case of Francesco and Paolo, my study removes much of
the uncertainty surrounding Checc’a tte piaccia and potentially four more uniden-
tified compositions.27 It is the hope that the confusion affecting fifteenth-centu-
ry scribes might ultimately be dispelled.

27. Nádas attributes Altro che sospirar and Già la sperança from Pit to Paolo based mostly on
scribal evidence; analytical evidence lends additional weight to the determination. Ziino attributes
Chosa non è ch’a sè tanto mi tiri from Lo to Francesco on stylistic analysis; the features described
above also illuminate further reasons to support this attribution. Finally, the anonymous Po’ che
veder non posso in Reina appears to have been authored by Paolo.

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