Emergence of Modality in Late Medieval Song:
Analytical approaches to late medieval polyphony are by and large still in their earliest developments and their sheer variety and richness is testifi ed by a publication such as Mark Everist (ed.), Music before 1600, Oxford: Blackwell Reference, 1992, one of the very few, by the way, to be specifi cally devoted to pre-baroque music. Many analysts tackling 14th/16th-century polyphony have often taken very strong theoretical stances as preconditions for work, ranging from Christian Berger’s systematic superposition of the hexachordal system onto contemporary theories of the modes to Harry Powers’ rejection of modality as a viable analytical tool for polyphony. An alternative approach would be one that does not lose touch with contemporary modal theories and at the same time strives to attain a satisfactory understanding of the working of this repertory based on the music itself. A practical application is to systematically search for an important mode-defi ning concept, such as fourth and fifth species, and how these shape and characterise the melodic articulation of polyphony. The present work practically undertakes this approach via a survey of the complete songs of Guillaume Du Fay and Gilles Binchois, with detailed analyses of a large selection of pieces.