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Oral assignment 2 Eduard Gavril

The beginning of the Renaissance: Faburden, Fauxbourdon, Dunstaple and Dufay

The Renaissance is placed in the conventional periodization of the Wester music between

the years 1430 and 1600. The translation of the name of this era means rebirth, which describes

the artistic views of that period. The preceding Middle Ages era is disregarded and the Antiquity

is venerated. The appearance of humanism supports rhetoric and philosophy focused on the

human condition and emotion.

During the middle ages and early renaissance, there was a polyphonic compositional

technique called the fauxbourdon or faburden. There is controversy with the origins of these

terms. They both refer to the same practice, with very few applied differences but very different

origins: French and English. Both nations claim the invention of this technique, the French

represented by Guillaume Dufay and the English by John Dunstable. They were both great

practitioners of the technique, but more musicologists and historians believe that Dufay was the


The technique in its simplest form consists in the melody, the cantus firmus,

accompanied by another two voices in parallel motion, a sixth and a perfect fourth down, or

sometimes one voice goes an octave over the main theme. Embellishments are used and

sometimes the bass line jumps down to the octave in order to avoid monotony and to create

cadences. It is usually used just in some parts of a composition, not excessively. The main

difference between faburden and fauxbourdon is that the second one is more improvisation


but also the first one attributed to Dufay (dating from 1430). The earliest fauxbourdon collection was compiled around 1435 with manuscripts located in Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica of Bologne and contains anonymous works. .