Motet

Motet

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In classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 musical compositions.

Etymology


The name comes either from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 movere, ("to move") or a Latinized version of Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian mottetto was also used. If the word is from Latin, the name describes the movement of the different voices against one another.

According to Margaret Bent
Margaret Bent
Margaret Hilda Bent CBE, FBA is an English musicologist.She was educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Acton School and Girton College, Cambridge University , receiving her BA in 1962 and Ph.D in 1969...

 (1997),
"a piece of music in several parts with words" is as precise a definition of the motet as will serve from the 13th to the late 16th century and beyond. This is close to one of the earliest descriptions we have, that of the late 13th-century theorist Johannes de Grocheio.
Grocheio believed that the motet was,
"not intended for the vulgar who do not understand its finer points and derive no pleasure from hearing it: it is meant for educated people and those who look for refinement in art."

Medieval motets


The earliest motets arose in the thirteenth century (Bent, 1997) from the organum
Organum
Organum is, in general, a plainchant melody with at least one added voice to enhance the harmony, developed in the Middle Ages. Depending on the mode and form of the chant, a supporting bass line may be sung on the same text, the melody may be followed in parallel motion , or a combination of...

tradition exemplified in the Notre Dame school
Notre Dame school
The group of composers working at or near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from about 1160 to 1250, along with the music they produced, is referred to as the Notre Dame school, or the Notre Dame School of Polyphony....

 of Léonin
Léonin
Léonin is the first known significant composer of polyphonic organum. He was probably French, probably lived and worked in Paris at the Notre Dame Cathedral and was the earliest member of the Notre Dame school of polyphony and the ars antiqua style who is known by name...

 and Pérotin
Pérotin
Pérotin , also called Perotin the Great, was a European composer, believed to be French, who lived around the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century. He was the most famous member of the Notre Dame school of polyphony and the ars antiqua style...

. The motet probably arose from clausula
Clausula
In Roman rhetoric, a clausula was a rhythmic figure used to add finesse and finality to the end of a sentence or phrase. There was a large range of popular clausulae...

 sections, usually strophic interludes, in a longer sequence of organum, to which upper voices were added. Usually the clausula represented a strophic sequence
Sequence (poetry)
A sequence is a chant or hymn sung or recited during the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, before the proclamation of the Gospel. By the time of the Council of Trent there were sequences for many feasts in the Church's year.The sequence has always been sung...

 in Latin which was sung as a discant
Discant
Discant was a style of liturgical setting in the Middle Ages, associated with the development of the Notre Dame school of polyphony. It is a style of organum that includes a plainchant tenor part, with a "note against note" upper voice, moving in contrary motion...

 over a cantus firmus
Cantus firmus
In music, a cantus firmus is a pre-existing melody forming the basis of a polyphonic composition.The plural of this Latin term is , though the corrupt form canti firmi is also attested...

, which typically was a plainchant fragment with different words from the discant. The motet took a definite rhythm from the words of the verse, and as such appeared as a brief rhythmic interlude in the middle of the longer, more chantlike organum.

The practice of discant over a cantus firmus marked the beginnings of counterpoint
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

 in Western music. From these first motets arose a medieval
Medieval music
Medieval music is Western music written during the Middle Ages. This era begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century...

 tradition of secular motets. These were two or three part compositions in which several different texts, sometimes in different vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 languages, were sung simultaneously over a Latin cantus firmus that once again was usually adapted from a passage of Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

. It is suspected that, for the sake of intelligibility, in performance the cantus firmus and one or another of the vocal lines were performed on instruments
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

. Among the trouvère
Trouvère
Trouvère , sometimes spelled trouveur , is the Northern French form of the word trobador . It refers to poet-composers who were roughly contemporary with and influenced by the troubadours but who composed their works in the northern dialects of France...

s, Robert de Reins La Chievre
Robert de Reins La Chievre
Robert de Reins La Chievre was a trouvère from the Île de France, probably active in the thirteenth century. He is among those few trouvères, like Richart de Fournival, who are associated with the early development of the motet....

 and Richart de Fournival composed motets.

Increasingly in the 14th and 15th centuries, motets tended to be isorhythm
Isorhythm
Isorhythm is a musical technique that arranges a fixed pattern of pitches with a repeating rhythmic pattern.-Detail:...

ic; that is, they employed repeated rhythmic patterns in all voices—not only the cantus firmus—which did not necessarily coincide with repeating melodic patterns. Philippe de Vitry
Philippe de Vitry
Philippe de Vitry was a French composer, music theorist and poet. He was an accomplished, innovative, and influential composer, and may also have been the author of the Ars Nova treatise...

 was one of the earliest composers to use this technique, and his work evidently had an influence on that of Guillaume de Machaut
Guillaume de Machaut
Guillaume de Machaut was a Medieval French poet and composer. He is one of the earliest composers on whom significant biographical information is available....

, one of the most famous named composers of late medieval motets.

Renaissance motets


The name of the motet was preserved in the transition from medieval to Renaissance music
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

, but the character of the composition was entirely changed. While it grew out of the medieval isorhythmic motet, the Renaissance composers of the motet generally abandoned the use of a repeated figure as a cantus firmus. Guillaume Dufay
Guillaume Dufay
Guillaume Dufay was a Franco-Flemish composer of the early Renaissance. As the central figure in the Burgundian School, he was the most famous and influential composer in Europe in the mid-15th century.-Early life:From the evidence of his will, he was probably born in Beersel, in the vicinity of...

 was a transitional figure in this regard; he wrote one of the last important motets in the medieval, isorhythmic style, Nuper rosarum flores
Nuper rosarum flores
Nuper Rosarum Flores or Recently Flowers of Roses/The Rose Blossoms Recently, is an isorhythmic motet composed by Guillaume Dufay for the 25 March 1436 consecration of the Florence cathedral, on the occasion of the completion of the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi—although technically, the...

(1436), and written to commemorate the completion of Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for inventing linear perspective and designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also included bronze artwork, architecture , mathematics,...

's dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

 in the Cathedral of Florence. During this time, however, the use of cantus firmi in works such as the parody mass
Parody mass
A parody mass is a musical setting of the mass, typically from the 16th century, that uses multiple voices of another pre-existing piece of music, such as a fragment of a motet or a secular chanson, as part of its melodic material. It is distinguished from the two other most prominent types of...

 tended to stretch the cantus firmus out to great lengths compared to the multivoice descant above it. This tended to obscure the rhythm supplied by the cantus firmus that had been apparent in the medieval isorhythmic motet. The cascading, passing chords
Passing chord
In music, a passing chord is, "a nondiatonic chord that connects, or passes between, the notes of two diatonic chords." "Any chord that moves between one diatonic chord and another one nearby may be loosely termed a passing chord...

 created by the interplay between multiple voices, and the absence of a strong or obvious beat, are the features that distinguish medieval and renaissance motet styles.

Instead, the Renaissance motet is a polyphonic
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 musical setting, sometimes in imitative counterpoint, for chorus, of a Latin text, usually sacred, not specifically connected to the liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 of a given day, and therefore suitable for use in any service. The texts of antiphon
Antiphon
An antiphon in Christian music and ritual, is a "responsory" by a choir or congregation, usually in Gregorian chant, to a psalm or other text in a religious service or musical work....

s were frequently used as motet texts. This is the sort of composition that is most familiarly designated by the term "motet," and the Renaissance period marked the flowering of the form.

In essence, these motets were sacred madrigal
Madrigal (music)
A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition, usually a partsong, of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Traditionally, polyphonic madrigals are unaccompanied; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six....

s. The relationship between the two forms is most obvious in the composers who concentrated on sacred music, especially Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition...

, whose "motets" setting texts from the Canticum Canticorum
Song of Solomon
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...

, the biblical "Song of Solomon," are among the most lush and madrigal-like of Palestrina's compositions, while his "madrigals" that set poems of Petrarch
Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

 in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary would not be out of place in church. The language of the text was the decisive feature: if it's Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, it's a motet; if the vernacular, a madrigal. Religious compositions in vernacular languages were often called madrigali spirituali
Madrigale spirituale
A madrigale spirituale is a madrigal, or madrigal-like piece of music, with a sacred rather than a secular text...

, "spiritual madrigals." Like their madrigal cousins, Renaissance motets developed in episodic format, with separate phrases of the source text being given independent melodic treatment and contrapuntal development; contrapuntal passages often alternate with monody.

Secular motets continued to be written however. These motets typically set a Latin text in praise of a monarch, commemorating some public triumph, or even praising music itself. Nevertheless, the themes of courtly love
Courtly love
Courtly love was a medieval European conception of nobly and chivalrously expressing love and admiration. Generally, courtly love was secret and between members of the nobility. It was also generally not practiced between husband and wife....

 often found in the medieval secular motet were banished from the Renaissance motet. Many secular motets are known as "ceremonial motets" Characteristic of ceremonial motets was a clarity of diction, for the audience was not presumed to be familiar already with the text (as would have been true with Latin hymns) and also a clear articulation of formal structure, for example a setting apart of successive portions of text with sharp contrasts of texture or rhythm. Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there....

, Ludwig Senfl
Ludwig Senfl
Ludwig Senfl was a Swiss composer of the Renaissance, active in Germany. He was the most famous pupil of Heinrich Isaac, was music director to the court of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, and was an influential figure in the development of the Franco-Flemish polyphonic style in...

, and Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in Italy...

 were among the most prominent composers of ceremonial motets during the first half of the 16th century.

Renaissance motet composers


The motet was one of the pre-eminent forms of Renaissance music
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

. Other important composers of Renaissance motets include:
  • Alexander Agricola
    Alexander Agricola
    Alexander Agricola was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance. A prominent member of the Grande chapelle, the Habsburg musical establishment, he was a renowned composer in the years around 1500, and his music was widely distributed throughout Europe...

  • Gilles Binchois
    Gilles Binchois
    Gilles de Binche , also known as Gilles de Bins , was a Franco-Flemish composer, one of the earliest members of the Burgundian School, and one of the three most famous composers of the early 15th century...

  • Antoine Busnois
    Antoine Busnois
    Antoine Busnois was a French composer and poet of the early Renaissance Burgundian School. While also noted as a composer of sacred music, such as motets, he was one of the most renowned 15th-century composers of secular chansons...

  • William Byrd
    William Byrd
    William Byrd was an English composer of the Renaissance. He wrote in many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music.-Provenance:Knowledge of Byrd's biography expanded in the late 20th century, thanks largely...

  • Johannes Vodnianus Campanus
    Johannes Vodnianus Campanus
    Jan Campanus Vodňanský was a Czech humanist, composer, pedagogue, poet, and dramatist. He was born in Vodňany , in southern Bohemia...

  • Loyset Compère
    Loyset Compère
    Loyset Compère was a French composer of the Renaissance. Of the same generation as Josquin des Prez, he was one of the most significant composers of motets and chansons of that era, and one of the first musicians to bring the light Italianate Renaissance style to France.-Life:His exact place of...

  • Josquin des Prez
    Josquin Des Prez
    Josquin des Prez [Josquin Lebloitte dit Desprez] , often referred to simply as Josquin, was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance...

  • John Dunstaple
  • Antoine de Févin
    Antoine de Févin
    Antoine de Févin was a French composer of the Renaissance. He was active at the same time as Josquin des Prez, and shares many traits with his more famous contemporary.-Life:...

  • Francisco Guerrero
  • Nicolas Gombert
    Nicolas Gombert
    Nicolas Gombert was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance. He was one of the most famous and influential composers between Josquin des Prez and Palestrina, and best represents the fully developed, complex polyphonic style of this period in music history.-Life:Details of his early life are...

  • Heinrich Isaac
    Heinrich Isaac
    Heinrich Isaac was a Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer of south Netherlandish origin. He wrote masses, motets, songs , and instrumental music. A significant contemporary of Josquin des Prez, Isaac influenced the development of music in Germany...

  • Pierre de La Rue
    Pierre de La Rue
    Pierre de la Rue , called Piersson, was a Franco-Flemish composer and singer of the Renaissance. A member of the same generation as Josquin des Prez, and a long associate of the Habsburg-Burgundian musical chapel, he ranks with Agricola, Brumel, Compère, Isaac, Obrecht, and Weerbeke as one of the...

  • Orlando di Lasso
  • Cristóbal de Morales
    Cristóbal de Morales
    Cristóbal de Morales was a Spanish composer of the Renaissance. He is generally considered to be the most influential Spanish composer before Victoria.- Life :...

  • Jean Mouton
    Jean Mouton
    Jean Mouton was a French composer of the Renaissance. He was famous both for his motets, which are among the most refined of the time, and for being the teacher of Adrian Willaert, one of the founders of the Venetian School....

  • Jacob Obrecht
    Jacob Obrecht
    Jacob Obrecht was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance. He was the most famous composer of masses in Europe in the late 15th century, being eclipsed by only Josquin des Prez after his death.-Life:...

  • Johannes Ockeghem
    Johannes Ockeghem
    Johannes Ockeghem was the most famous composer of the Franco-Flemish School in the last half of the 15th century, and is often considered the most...

  • Martin Peerson
    Martin Peerson
    Martin Peerson was an English composer, organist and virginalist...

  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition...

  • Thomas Tallis
    Thomas Tallis
    Thomas Tallis was an English composer. Tallis flourished as a church musician in 16th century Tudor England. He occupies a primary place in anthologies of English church music, and is considered among the best of England's early composers. He is honoured for his original voice in English...

  • John Taverner
    John Taverner
    John Taverner was an English composer and organist, regarded as the most important English composer of his era.- Career :...

  • Tomás Luis de Victoria
    Tomás Luis de Victoria
    Tomás Luis de Victoria, sometimes Italianised as da Vittoria , was the most famous composer of the 16th century in Spain, and one of the most important composers of the Counter-Reformation, along with Giovanni da Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso. Victoria was not only a composer, but also an...



In the latter part of the 16th century, Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist. He was one of the most influential musicians of his time, and represents the culmination of the style of the Venetian School, at the time of the shift from Renaissance to Baroque idioms.-Biography:Gabrieli was born in Venice...

 and other composers developed a new style, the polychoral motet, in which two or more choir
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

s of singers (or instruments) alternated. This style of motet was sometimes called the Venetian motet to distinguish it from the Netherlands or Flemish motet written elsewhere.

Baroque motets


The name "motet" was preserved in Baroque music
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

, especially in France, where the word was applied to two distinct, and very different, genres: petits motets, sacred choral or chamber compositions whose only accompaniment was a basso continuo; and grands motets
Grands motets
The grand motet was a genre of motet cultivated at the height of the French baroque, although the term dates from later French usage...

, which included massed choirs and instruments up to and including a full orchestra. Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

 was an important composer of this sort of motet. Lully's motets often included parts for soloists as well as choirs; they were longer, including multiple movements in which different soloist, choral, or instrumental forces were employed. Lully's motets also continued the Renaissance tradition of semi-secular Latin motets in works such as Plaude Laetare Gallia, written to celebrate the baptism of King Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

's son; its text by Pierre Perrin
Pierre Perrin
Pierre Perrin was a French poet and librettist.Sometimes known as L'Abbé Perrin although he never belonged to the clergy...

 begins:
Plaude laetare Gallia
Rore caelesti rigantur lilia,
Sacro Delphinus fonte lavatur
Et christianus Christo dicatur.

(Rejoice and sing, France: the lily is bathed with heavenly dew. The Dauphin is bathed in the sacred font, and the Christian is dedicated to Christ.)


In Germany, too, pieces called motets were written in the new musical languages of the Baroque. Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi...

 wrote many motets in a series of publications called Symphoniae sacrae, some in Latin and some in German.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 also wrote six surviving works he called motets; Bach's motets were relatively long pieces in German on sacred themes for choir and basso continuo, thought to have been written as training pieces for the members of his choir school. Bach's motets are:
  • BWV 225 Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (1726)
  • BWV 226 Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (1729)
  • BWV 227 Jesu, meine Freude (?)
  • BWV 228 Fürchte dich nicht (?)
  • BWV 229 Komm, Jesu, komm! (1730 ?)
  • BWV 230 Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden (?)


There is also a cantata that is classified, in its entirety, as a motet.
  • BWV 118 O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht (1736–37?)


The motet Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren (BWV 231) is spurious; it is part of a cantata by Telemann.

The motet since Bach


Later 18th-century composers wrote few motets, although Mozart's
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 well-known Ave verum corpus
Ave verum corpus (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Ave verum corpus in D major was written for Anton Stoll who was musical co-ordinator in the parish of Baden bei Wien, near Vienna. This setting of the Ave verum corpus text was composed to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi and the autograph is dated 17 June 1791...

 (K. 618) is in this genre.

In the 19th century German composers continued to write motets occasionally, notably Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

 and Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 (in German) and Anton Bruckner
Anton Bruckner
Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, complex polyphony, and considerable length...

 (in Latin). French composers of motets included Camille Saint-Saëns
Camille Saint-Saëns
Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was a French Late-Romantic composer, organist, conductor, and pianist. He is known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, Piano Concerto No. 2, Cello Concerto No. 1, Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and his Symphony...

, and César Franck
César Franck
César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life....

. Similar compositions in the English language are called anthem
Anthem
The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

s, but some later English composers, such as Charles Villiers Stanford
Charles Villiers Stanford
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford was an Irish composer who was particularly notable for his choral music. He was professor at the Royal College of Music and University of Cambridge.- Life :...

, wrote motets in Latin. The majority of these compositions are a cappella
A cappella
A cappella music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It is the opposite of cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato...

, but some are accompanied by organ, for example Edward Elgar
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

's three motets Op. 2.

In the 20th century, composers of motets have often consciously imitated earlier styles. Examples include works by Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

, Maurice Duruflé
Maurice Duruflé
Maurice Duruflé was a French composer, organist, and pedagogue.Duruflé was born in Louviers, Eure. In 1912, he became chorister at the Rouen Cathedral Choir School, where he studied piano and organ with Jules Haelling...

, Francis Poulenc
Francis Poulenc
Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc was a French composer and a member of the French group Les six. He composed solo piano music, chamber music, oratorio, choral music, opera, ballet music, and orchestral music...

, Charles Villiers Stanford
Charles Villiers Stanford
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford was an Irish composer who was particularly notable for his choral music. He was professor at the Royal College of Music and University of Cambridge.- Life :...

, Edmund Rubbra
Edmund Rubbra
Edmund Rubbra was a British composer. He composed both instrumental and vocal works for soloists, chamber groups and full choruses and orchestras. He was greatly esteemed by fellow musicians and was at the peak of his fame in the mid-20th century. The most famous of his pieces are his eleven...

, Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams OM was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many...

, Lennox Berkeley
Lennox Berkeley
Sir Lennox Randal Francis Berkeley was an English composer.- Biography :He was born in Oxford, England, and educated at the Dragon School, Gresham's School and Merton College, Oxford...

, Morten Lauridsen
Morten Lauridsen
Morten Johannes Lauridsen is an American composer. He was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 30 years.-Biography:Lauridsen was born February 27, 1943, in...

, Edward Elgar
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

, Hugo Distler
Hugo Distler
Hugo Distler was a German organist, choral conductor, teacher and composer.-Life and career:...

, Ernst Krenek
Ernst Krenek
Ernst Krenek was an Austrian of Czech origin and, from 1945, American composer. He explored atonality and other modern styles and wrote a number of books, including Music Here and Now , a study of Johannes Ockeghem , and Horizons Circled: Reflections on my Music...

, and Michael Finnissy
Michael Finnissy
Michael Finnissy is an English composer and pianist. His music is characterised by the range of extremes often found in his work; opposing binary structures are found commonly, often seen as juxtaposing textures, register and tempi...

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Sources

  • Margaret Bent (1997). "The late-medieval motet", Companion to Medieval & Renaissance Music. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816540-4.
  • The Development of the motet
  • Blanche Gangwere, Music History During the Renaissance Period, 1520–1550. Westport, Connecticut, Praeger Publishers. 2004.