Suction ghetto

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In the music of the 16th century, the Soggetto ( Italian “subject”, “object”, from Latin subiectum “the underlying”) describes a characteristic sequence of notes in larger note values ​​as a supporting, mostly pre-formed construction element of a contrapuntal work. In later times, the term was generally used to denote the thematic-motivic substance of imitative works such as canons , motets , ricercare and fugues .

One of the earliest definitions of the term soggetto can be found in 1558 in the music textbook Le istitutioni harmoniche by Gioseffo Zarlino . Accordingly, it is used to denote the musical source material of a piece of music. In the 16th century, existing melodies were usually used for this. These often came from the Gregorian chant (Soggetto di canto fermo) or a polyphonic composition (Soggetto di canto figurato). But also freely invented Soggetti occurred (soggetto di inventione propria). The soggetto was usually performed by the tenor voice, which is where the term “ tenor ” (with an emphasis on the first syllable) comes from. During this time, polyphonic works were often named after the soggetto on which they were based . Hence titles like Missa O quam suavis or Missa L'homme armé - the latter after the French chanson L'homme armé .

A special form is the Soggetto sopra voci musicali from a scale excerpt from the hexachord system marked with solmization syllables (ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la) , such as the Missa la sol fa re mi by Josquin Desprez . From this form the Soggetto cavato dalle parole developed, in which the solmization syllables were equated with the vowels of a text.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the meaning of the term changed to the "thematic-motivic substance" of a contrapuntal work. In the canon, this was used to mark the leading voice (guida) . As early as the 16th century motet, the soggetto was a musical idea that was shaped by the text and imitated by the various voices. In the imitative instrumental forms ricercar, kanzone and fugue, the “ theme ” was now also referred to as a soggetto or, in German-speaking areas, as a “subject”. The music theorist and composer Giovanni Battista Martini limited the term in his counterpoint theory Saggio fondamentale pratico di contrapunto sopra il canto fermo from 1775 to themes "of medium size, usually not shorter than 1½ bars and within the tempo ordinario".

In recent musicological literature, the term is occasionally used for topics of baroque music with a more typical than individual character.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul M. Walker:  Soggetto. In: Grove Music Online (English; subscription required).
  2. a b c d Platen (Honegger / Massenkeil), 1978/1987
  3. Quoted from Platen (Honegger / Massenkeil), 1978/1987