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Magister Leoninus - Gloria in excelsis Deo - Codex Manesse05:41

Magister Leoninus - Gloria in excelsis Deo - Codex Manesse

Gloria IV


The composer Leonin (Leoninus) who lived during the twelfth century was one of the first major composers of polyphonic music. He was known for his discantus style – his music did not strictly go “note-against-note” but was where the chant melody of the music went along with the added upper voicing in the same rhythm. Leonin’s music is simple, usually written for only two voices. Not much more is known about Leonin, but his works are still studied today and he is considered one of the first major composers. 

Gloria: redemptori meoEdit

Gloria: redemptory meo is a piece by Leonin that exemplifies his simple and discant style. The piece is a trope for two voices. A trope can be defined as “adding new text to a section of music having one syllable extended over many notes.” Writing tropes was a popular practice in the middle ages. Gloria is written for two voices as was Leonin’s style. When listening to this piece, the listener can also hear the discant style where the chant melody and the upper voice move together in a same rhythmic pattern. 

Music of the Time PeriodEdit

Leonin’s Gloria, compared to other pieces of the time, is similar but unique. Compared to the works of Perotin, another famous composer of the twelfth century, Leonin’s style is more simple as previously stated. Perotin wrote for more than two voices, usually fo four (organum quadruplum) while Leonin’s works are written for two voices. Leonin’s Gloria is a great musical example of twelfth century polyphony as well as the discantus style.

Sources: 

Burkholder, Peter J., Donald J. Grout. A History of Western Music. Eighth Edition. W.W. Norton Company, 2010.

Gloria: redemptori meo. "Perotin and the Ars Antiqua." http://www.allmusic.com

Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czg2XFpae9c

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