I am excited to be presenting the first lecture in the Sydney Musicology Colloquium Series. I will be presenting my research on Voice Crossing within a universal context. Details and Link Below!
Venue: Sydney Conservatorium of Music Seminar Room 2174 Wednesday 6 March 4:15pm
Understanding X: Towards the Analysis of Universal Voice Crossing
Voice crossing, when a melodic stream rises or falls in pitch below others, is a deceptively simple aspect of polyphonic music. For reasons of practicality and conventionality its analysis is routinely subject to simplification, being most frequently examined in repertoire where the phenomenon is relatively limited and where unambiguous voices in distinct registers are a primary compositional objective. Yet however frequently polyphony does behave in this manner, it has been restrictively codified by associated definitions and assumptions that fall considerably short of describing how it can behave.
This paper explores the potential and limitations of a fundamental conceptual shift away from perceiving voice crossing as a binary state, towards reframing it as a quantifiable event. Through the lens of the ambitious forty-part motet Spem in alium by Thomas Tallis, several techniques for measuring crossing densities are developed. Ultimately, this shift makes deeper and more meaningful analysis possible into what might be termed unrestricted polyphony, where independent voices are effectively limitless in the complexity of their interactions.