Antonio Chemotti

Analyzing Polyphonic Settings for the Absolution

Using polyphonic settings of the Absolution responsory Libera me domine de morte aeterna as a case study, this paper will examine selected liturgical and chant sources, identifying specific traditions regarding this text and its melody. I will show how these peculiarities have traceable consequences on the polyphonic repertoire. My paper will also stress the relevance of liturgical and philological approaches for musical analysis of the sacred repertoire, even after the publication of the official Tridentine liturgical books.
Furthermore, I will assess the extent to which analytical concepts such as musical grammar, style, intertextuality, tradition, and innovation are useful in analyzing polyphonic music for the liturgy for the dead. I will examine whether the polyphonic responsory shows compositional trends analogous to contemporary Requiem masses, whether it is possible and fruitful to distinguish strictly liturgical settings from motet-like ones, and whether the context of performance (for example, matins vs. Absolution) leaves detectable traces in the polyphonic setting.