Date of Degree

9-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Music

Advisor

Anne Stone

Committee Members

Ruth DeFord

Dennis Slavin

Norman Carey

Subject Categories

Medieval Studies | Musicology | Music Theory

Keywords

Microtone, diesis, falsa musica, accidental

Abstract

This thesis addresses the question of how an interval roughly half the width of the minor semitone could be incorporated into the otherwise strictly diatonic framework of the medieval gamut and then asks whether certain unusual accidentals signs found in fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century sources were meant to signal such inflections.

It demonstrates that when a tone is subdivided so as to produce a microtone, the chromatic part that remains must either be made explicit, or must be transferred elsewhere in the scale so that the encompassing framework of the gamut will remain intact. It shows that when the former occurs in a polyphonic context, the result is chromatic motion; when the latter occurs, the transfer of the chromatic remainder results in a very wide third or sixth.

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