MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE: The Monstrous New Art: Divided Forms in the Late Medieval Motet

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MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE The Monstrous New Art: Divided Forms in the Late Medieval Motet. By Anna Zayaruznaya. (Music in Context.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. [xvii, 301 p. ISBN 9781107039667 (hardcover), $99.99; ISBN 9781316190982 (e-book), $80.] Music examples, illustrations, companion Web site, appendices, glossary, bibliography, indexes.

This book focuses on the motets of the French Ars nova period, roughly ca. 131570, encompassing the careers and compositions of Philippe de Vitry (1291-1361) and Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377). The author begins her study of this period by relating an interesting interaction on the topic of isorhythm that is recorded in conference proceedings from 19-23 September 1955 near Liège, Belgium. The account of this discussion shows that it anticipated many of the chief debates in Ars nova research during the next sixty years, and the author frames her introduction around the diverse views of these early experts. The themes of monstrosity and hybridity appear in Ars nova motet texts, and Zaryaruznaya attempts to illustrate a similar approach to form and musical texture by Ars nova composers as the focus of this particular study.