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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cantus firmus chansons by Alexander Agricola Kravinchuk, Daniel Peter


The secular works of Alexander Agricola have received little attention from musicologists, particularly those secular works which adopt a voice part from another composer's work. The thesis investigates not only the style of Agricola's cantus firmus chansons but compares that composer's cantus firmus techniques with those of his contemporaries. In addition, an inquiry is made into possible influence of the model (aside from the borrowed voice itself) on the non-cantus firmus parts of such settings. Selection is limited to four cantus firmus families, representing all but one of those families for which Agricola made more than one setting of the same cantus firmus. Allusions to aspects of a model's structure or melody (apart from the borrowed line) are comparatively minor in the settings examined here. They are apt to be small quotations, often of theiincipit, with conventional references to the musical structure of the model chanson. The stylistic features of Agricola revealed in these settings are similar to those found in his works in other genres. And while the cantus firmus techniques that this composer used resemble those of his contemporaries, two works by Agricola, a four-part Tout a par moy and a three-voice D'ung aultre amer, present a transitional stage from arrangements of a cantus prius factus (newly-composed voices unrelated to the borrowed part) to parody (incorporation of melodies and structure of the model). These two settings by Agricola progress beyond even the more forward-looking cantus firmus techniques found in chansons by Japart, Ghiselin/Verbonnet and Josquin.

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