Music, text and structure in 14th-century English polyphony: The case of Ave miles celestis curie

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The present article demonstrates the complexity of musico-textual relationships in Ave miles celestis curie, a 14th-century polyphonic song whose generic markers relate it to both English troped chant settings and to the motet. Ave miles celestis curie was written in honour of the St Edmund, king and martyr, whose cult flourished in England, particularly in East Anglia. Through a fresh analysis of the tenor parts, lyrics and structural elements, I argue that previous discussions of Ave miles celestis curie have overlooked some of the musical and textual troping on which it is based. Furthermore, Ave miles celestis curie is used to interrogate assumptions about the limitations of analysing English music in comparison with contemporary French motets; rather than being only generic in sentiment, I argue for fresh investigation into individual pieces to reconsider the presence of subtle relationships between music and text.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbercax001
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Music
Issue number1
Early online date18 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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