The Cycle of Life:
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Guillaume de Machaut, "Ma Fin Est Mon Commencement"

As its name suggests, the conventional rondeau, with its ABaAabAB structure, is "round," its circularity suggested by the recurrence of each of two musical sections, either in their original form (A, B) or with a different text (a, b). Cyclical repetition of this kind, in which "The thing that hath been is that which shall be," is common in music of all periods, but Machaut devised far more ingenious means of illustrating the meaning of his lyrics: the top two parts present the same melody, but in opposite temporal directions, and the lowest of the three parts (i.e., the "third voice") literally retraces its steps once it reaches the midpoint of the song. Since the two musical sections are repeated consecutively a total of three times, the third voice, true to the text, reverses itself exactly "trois fois" before the end.

[A] Ma fin est mon commencement My end is my beginning
[B] Et mon commencement ma fin And my beginning my end
[a] Est teneüre vraiement And [this] truly holds
[A] Ma fin est mon commencement. My end is my beginning
[a] Mes tiers chans trois fois seulements My third voice just three times
[b] Se retrograde et einsi fin. Reverses itself and thus ends.
[A] Ma fin est mon commencement My end is my beginning
[B] Et mon commencement ma fin. And my beginning my end.

One Large Case in 4 Parts

A. Sergei Vinogradskii (1856-1953)
B. Theodor Leshitizky (1930-1915
  Malwine Brée, The Groundwork of the Leschetizky Method (1969)
  Burkhard Muth, Theodor Leschetizky (2003)
  Comtesse Angèle Potocka, Theodore Leschetizky (1903)
  The Thomas de Hartmann Papers
C. Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
  Lorraine Byrne, Schubert's Goethe Setting (2003)
D. Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377)
  David Hahn, "Numerical Composition" (1993)
  Elizabeth Leach, Machaut's Music (2003)
Lloyd Ackert
Whitney Humanities Center
Yale University
53 Wall Street
P.O. Box 208298
New Haven, CT 06520
Office: (203).432.3112

The Music library is located in the Sterling Memorial Library to the right of the circulation desk:

Music Library
Yale University Library
120 High Street
PO Box 208240
New Haven, CT 06520-8240 USA
Phone: (203) 432-0492 FAX: (203) 432-7339