English Style (“la Contenance Angloise”) in the Franco-Flemish Musical Tradition as a Reflection of Social and Political Events in the First Third of the 15th Century


The article is devoted to the analysis of the reasons for the change in the sound image of Franco-Flemish music in the 1420s, associated with the influence of English musical practice. The first public appearance of English sacred music on the continent during the Council of Constance (1414–1418) is considered as the source of this process. In 
spite of the approval of English music by the Roman Curia, the music of Roman church service had not been immediately changed, and one of the main reasons for that was the 
resistance of the papal chapel, which at that time wholly consisted of Frenchmen, who continued by force of habit to consider English music “provincial”. (The “backwardness” of 
the English composers showed itself mainly in the absence of the newest rhythmic techniques used by the French masters of Ars subtilior in the last decades of the 14th century). 
The situation changed in the 1420s due to close political contacts between the Englishmen and the Burgundians, who fought against the French crown. As a result, the sound image of the music created not only for the French court (since even Paris at that time was under the control of Duke Philip the Good and John Bedford — the regent of France), but also for the papal chapel was transformed. This change, associated with the transition to the English euphonic pitch vertical in the music by G. Dufay, J. Benchois, N. Grenon and others, was later called by M. Le Frank “la contenance angloise” (which can be translated as “English style”). Due to the fact that the English influence was recognized by the Burgundians themselves rather late, the names of the English composers who turned the musical world of the continent upside down (presumably these were L. Power, T. Bittering, John Benet, etc.) were “forgotten” by I. Tinctoris, who considered the source of the new harmony only J. Dunstable, whose works reached the mainland a little later.


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