Many works by the famed medieval poet-composer Guillaume de Machaut are formes fixes: complex musico-poetic structures requiring skill and finesse to create. This is an example of one such form, a rondeau. In order for a rondeau to work, the first phrase has to hinge musically, prosodically, and semantically both to the second phrase and to itself, creating a fascinating challenge for the composer/writer. Because Doulz Viaire Gracieus is quite a short rondeau, it’s easy to hear its form–and to appreciate the exquisite polyphony and fantastically outlandish harmonies within.
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