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Atwell, Scott D.

Cadence, Linear Procedures, and Pitch Structure in the Works of Johannes Ockeghem

Ph.D. Michigan State University, expected 1999
(atwells@lib01.ferris.edu)
(WWW: http://consider.ferris.edu/scott)

Johannes Ockeghem (ca. 1410-1497) left us fourteen masses, an isolated Credo, five motets and twenty-two chansons. It has often been contended that the composer avoids cadences in his works, or at the very least, interrupts them (at seemingly cadential sections); however, a detailed examination confirms that more than three thousand cadences, the conditions for which are defined in the theoretical writings of Aron, Gafurius, Tinctoris and Zarlino, exist in the forty-two authenticated works, and that pitch degrees upon which these cadences occur in any given work are prioritized.

In the present study, cadences are classed according to pitch degree, structurally-defining voices and "weight," and modal profiles derived from the resultant data are established for each of the works. Profiles are arranged by finalis, frequency of cadences on each pitch degree, and magnitude or weight of the cadential event, and the findings collated into composites ordered by tonal type. The manipulation of linear procedures is investigated, with primary attention given to partial and like-signatures, manuscript accidentals, and musica ficta. Subsequent analysis of the correlation between these components--cadence data, modal profiles, tonal type composites and linear procedures--reveals the inherent pitch structure of the works.