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There's no citation covering the uncertainty over the etymology of motet. A number of dictionaries, including the OED, as well as the Norton Encyclopedia of Music, say nothing of the "movere" influence. Does anyone have a source? Mcwabaunsee (talk) 07:39, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Deleted from the Baroque section due to lack of citation:

The Baroque grand motet eventually merged with the cantata.

--Wahoofive 18:43, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I assume you argue that it is incorrect? Hyacinth 00:28, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Yes, that's right. Not only did they both phase out around the same time, mid-18th century, but it doesn't make sense that a French form and a German form would merge. --Wahoofive 01:19, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The statement, IIRC, came from the liner notes of a Naxos recording of Lully's grand motets. I don't have it handy here, but I suspect it was the same one that had Plaude lætare Gallia on it. I suspect that what the author meant to say was something like "multi-movement pieces like these, with parts for soloist, chorus, and instrumental obbligatos, would usually be called a cantata but Lully called his motets instead." -- Smerdis of Tlön 05:17, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"Increasingly in the 14th and 15th centuries, motets tended to be isorhythmic; that is, they employed repeated rhythmic patterns in all voices"

I was under the impression that isorhythm is a general term, whereas panisorhythm means isorhythm employed in all voices (see Grove articles).

I agree, this sentence struck me as being inaccurate as well. Tjonp (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:24, 11 December 2009 (UTC).

Baroque motet[edit]

Who wrote this section? At least in italy, motets where a VERY important and spread form. It is not a 'cantata with crude latin words'! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:36, 6 January 2008 (UTC) What Is A Motet?

Isorhythmic Motet redirects to this page.[edit]

I seem to remember that there was a separate article for Isorhythmic Motets at one point though a history search does not seem to bear that out. Perhaps there was not, but rather this page contained at some point a satisfactory brief description of the definition of an Isorhythmic Motet with a more in depth exploration left to the entry for Isorhythm.

I guess I'm rather surprised to see all treatment of Isorhythm in a separate article even though it is discussed quite a lot on this entry.

Am I incorrect in thinking that I used to be able to send people to this entry (Isorhythmic Motet) and have them come away with a rudimentary knowledge of Talea and Color w/o having to refine their focus to another entry to find these two terms?

Perhaps this is the best way, but it struck me as odd to have the redirect here and then not actually _say_ what an Isorhythm is when it's at home with it's slippers off.

Thanks. --Thistledowne (talk) 02:26, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Restoration of Earlier version[edit]

This article seems to have undergone an undergraduate student treatment and while scads of references were added, they are not that valuable. Worse, the prose style was practically unreadable. I have, as a result, reverted back to the pre-assignment version. Editors may wish to consult the longer version here and add in those details that are deemed judicious. Eusebeus (talk) 13:14, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

The heck is this crap —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:38, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


As the French etymology is favoured (according to the article), is the final t silent? freshacconci talk to me 14:36, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

No. Why, should it be?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:14, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, in French it would be silent. I'm not a music expert so only know this term in passing, having only seen it in written form. I looked it up to get the precise meaning and 'was curious about the pronunciation. freshacconci talk to me 17:17, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
In modern French it would be silent. In the 12th century, all final consonants were pronounced, and this only gradually changed over the course of the 13th cent. In any case, the putative derivation from a French source was for a Latin word and it was from the Latin motectum that the English form of the term was derived. It is unlikely that the T was silent in the Medieval Latin pronunciation, especially because it followed a C and in turn was followed by a vowel.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:06, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
It would be fascinating to trace the modern anglicized [mo tet] back to the 12c. form, if this were only remotely possible! I can't easily document my own pet theory either, which is that English musicologists would have been well aware of the German Mottete to describe part of Bach's oeuvre. A surprise for this anglophone is the open [ɔ] given here. Sparafucil (talk) 00:01, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
As far as the specific English form "motet", the OED indicates that this only became the usual spelling from the time of Thomas Morley in 1597. Prior to that date, various spellings were used, and these probably tell us something about the way the word would have been pronounced at those earlier points in history: "mootetis" (1392), "motetis" (c1430), "motytes" (1475)—all of these are the plural form. Of course when seen in context, the question of what English sounded like in general in those days is raised. For example, that earliest citation, from the Wycliffe Bible, Eccl. 47:11 reads: "He made to stonden singeris aȝen þe awter, & in þe sown of þem he made sweete mootetis." (So much easier to understand in the Latin of the Vulgate, and also instructive as to the word Wycliffe translates as "mootetis:: "et stare fecit cantores contra altarium et in sono eorum dulces fecit modos.") I would assume that, prior to the 16th century, most written references to the musical form would have been in Latin rather than vernacular sources, and while Latin certainly had its local pronunciations, they do not necessarily correspond to the cognate terms in the local language, just as is the case today. As to the French pronunciation, it is worth mentioning that the putative source word mot has a silent T at the end (in modern French), but this letter becomes pronounced in the derived French word motet where, as Freshacconci pointed out at the beginning of this discussion, the final T is once again silent.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:50, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

"Johann Sebastian Bach wrote works he called motets"[edit]

This sounds rather loaded. Is there any reason why one might not regard these works as traditional motets? If so this should be outlined. (talk) 16:08, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

Motet is only sacred works[edit]

This should be acknowledged in the introductory paragraph. I tried to add this in the first sentence, only to be reverted. In fact, the intro paragraph needs to be re-written to make the meaning of the word more clear. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cihan (talkcontribs) 21:04, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

No, that's not true at all. See, for example, the last paragraph of the "Renaissance" section. Antandrus (talk) 21:12, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Actually, it should be made clear that the "added voices in vernacular language" in the 13th-century motets were almost invariable of a secular nature. (I'll go look for a reliable source for this).—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:59, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
The very detailed exploration of this topic by Ernest Sanders in the 1980 New Grove has lots of citable stuff. Vol 12, p. 621 -- "The enormous vogue for French motets for two voices - often, like many French double motets, incorporating refrains from song literature - seems to have been in full swing by about 1230 .... They bespeak the far-reaching secularization of the genre." etc.
As an aside, this article would be a marvelous expansion project for someone with time and interest ... Antandrus (talk) 00:42, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
Incidentally (and this could be a separate thread ... or maybe I could just be WP:BOLD, etc) is that our basic definition is wrong. Motets are not always "choral" and the "highly varied" implies that the variation may be within the individual piece. Examples of the non-choral that come to mind are early 17th century Italian concertato motet, e.g. Viadana, Alessandro Grandi et al. who wrote some for one voice and instruments. Antandrus (talk) 00:51, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
Good point. And unless "choral" is intended to mean "vocal music" generally, most of the early motet repertory must be excluded also, since it was most likely intevded for performance by solo voices.
Maybe -- "In western music, a motet is a mainly vocal musical composition, of highly varied form and style, from the late medieval era to the present." Or something. Antandrus (talk) 01:58, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and changed it ... feel free to tweak, refine, reword, etc. Antandrus (talk) 02:06, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
Looks good to me.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 02:24, 17 January 2017 (UTC)