Formes fixes

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The formes fixes (French:  [fɔʁm fiks] ; singular: forme fixe, "fixed form") are the three 14th- and 15th-century French poetic forms: the ballade , rondeau , and virelai . Each was also a musical form, generally a chanson , and all consisted of a complex pattern of repetition of verses and a refrain with musical content in two main sections.

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All three forms can be found in 13th-century sources, but a 15th-century source gives Philippe de Vitry as their first composer while the first comprehensive repertory of these forms was written by Guillaume de Machaut. [1] The formes fixes stopped being used in music around the end of the 15th century, although their influence continued (in poetry they, especially the rondeau, continued to be used [1] ).

Sometimes forms from other countries and periods are referred to as formes fixes. These include the Italian 14th-century madrigal and later ballata and barzelletta, the German bar form, Spanish 13th-century cantiga, and the later canción, and villancico. [1]

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 Fallows

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Guillaume de Machaut Medieval French poet and composer

Guillaume de Machaut was a French composer and poet who was the central figure of the ars nova style in late medieval music. His dominance of the genre is such that modern musicologists use his death to separate the ars nova from the subsequent ars subtilior movement. Regarded as the most significant French composer and poet of the 14th century, he is often seen as the century's leading European composer.

Rondo is an instrumental musical form introduced in the Classical period.

The ballade is a form of medieval and Renaissance French poetry as well as the corresponding musical chanson form. It was one of the three formes fixes and one of the verse forms in France most commonly set to music between the late 13th and the 15th centuries.

A chanson is generally any lyric-driven French song, though it most often refers to the polyphonic French song of late medieval and Renaissance music. The genre had origins in the monophonic songs of troubadours and trouvères, though the only polyphonic precedents were 16 works by Adam de la Halle and one by Jehan de Lescurel. Not until the ars nova composer Guillaume de Machaut did any composer write a significant number of polyphonic chansons.

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