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Languishing for provenance: Zelo tui langueo and the search for women's polyphony in England

Colton, Lisa (2011) Languishing for provenance: Zelo tui langueo and the search for women's polyphony in England. Early Music, 39 (3). pp. 315-326. ISSN 03061078

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Abstract

Zelo tui langueo / T. [Omnes de Saba] / Reor nescia has been discussed more widely than many other English motets on account of a number of puzzling elements of its content and provenance. Two manuscript copies of the motet survive; in addition, two images of clerics performing the motet are preserved in psalters of the early 14th century, roughly contemporary with the musical sources. The feminine poetic voice used in one of the motet’s texted lines has invited speculation that Zelo tui langueo may have been composed or performed by women. The provenance of one musical source (York Minster, Ms. xvi.n.3) offers corroboration, linking the music to a community of monks and nuns from a Gilbertine double house in Shouldham, Norfolk, but this origin was rejected after palaeographical studies undertaken in the last decades of the 20th century. This article examines the motet within a network of various documents, and relocates it musically, textually and socially within devotional life in East Anglia. In addition, it explores elements of the historiography of female music-making in late medieval England.
Keywords: medieval music; English music; motet; women; historiography

Item Type: Article
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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Depositing User: Lisa Colton
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2011 15:17
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2011 09:14
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/11739

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