The European Modal System at the Turn of the 16th–17th Centuries: Signs of the New


The turn of the 16th and 17th centuries is an epoch of changes in the history of the European mode system, which is notable for the response of composers to the mode reform of G. Glarean (the appearance of works containing a full circle of 12 modes) and the rethinking of the usual terms and concepts. The example of these phenomena is a two-way interpretation of the concepts “authentic” and “plagal” in M. Pretorius’ “Syntagma musicum” (1619), where they simultaneously appear in the traditional sense as two tessituras of the mode at one finalis, and in the new — as а designation of the transposition of the mode. The analysis of the mode structure of Stephan Faber’s cycle “Sacrae cantiones” (1607) gives an unexpected parallel with the latter treatment. The didactic “chess” order of modes by Faber (every even one is transposed) is designed to reconcile the Glarean’s principle of the twofold division of the octave and the church numbering of the modes.