Philippe De Vitry

Philippe De Vitry

Birth
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death 9 Jun 1361 (aged 69)
Meaux, Departement de Seine-et-Marne, Île-de-France, France
Burial Meaux, Departement de Seine-et-Marne, Île-de-France, France
Memorial ID 86213591 · View Source
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Author, Composer, Roman Catholic Bishop. An illustrious figure of the late Medieval era, renowned in his time for his brilliance in many fields. Petrarch hailed him as "the one true poet of France". He is best known today for the "Ars Nova" ("The New Art", 1323), an influential treatise that gave its name to the 14th Century French musical movement. Vitry was probably born in the town of Vitry near Arras. By 1310 he was a student in Paris, where his musical gifts were recognized early. Contemporaries described him as "a flower and jewel among singers". Five of his motets appeared in the notorious "Roman de Fauvel" (1316), an allegorical satire of church and state corruption; it was banned as heretical, though it continued to circulate in underground manuscripts for decades. He rebounded from this youthful indiscretion to a stellar and very busy professional life. He travelled widely as a diplomat for the House of Bourbon and later served as political advisor to Kings Charles IV, Philippe VI, and Jean II, accompanying the latter as a "companion in arms" in the unsuccessful Siege of Aiguillon (1346). For services to the church he was awarded several canonries, including one in Paris. A polymath, he moved in the highest intellectual circles, impressing all with his abilities in literature, music, philosophy, mathematics, theology, and rhetoric. In 1351 Pope Clement VI appointed him Bishop of Meaux and Ambassador to the Papal Court at Avignon, posts he retained until his death. Considering how celebrated Vitry was, it's a tragedy so little of his work has survived. What we have are 2 poems, 12 motets, and the "Ars Nova", and scholars believe only the last 10 of its 24 chapters are of Vitry's authorship; the rest was assembled by his followers. But it is enough to ensure his place as a giant of Medieval music. The treatise presented Vitry's revolutionary new methods for measuring rhythm, which allowed four separate meters (used individually or together), easier syncopation, greater independence for each polyphonic line, and more precise notation of note values. In an age where metrically-composed music was virtually hidebound to triple meter, the rhythmic possibilities he opened up were vast. Vitry also championed secular influences in sacred music, as evidenced in his motets. Most are based on current political events rather than the liturgy, and use two different texts simultaneously without obscuring the clarity or meaning of the words. In this he looked forward more to the later madrigal form than the motet as it subsequently developed. Vitry was a seminal influence on Guillaume de Machaut, the foremost exponent of the "Ars Nova" style, and on Guillaume Dufay, the first great composer of the Renaissance.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 4 Mar 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 86213591
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Philippe De Vitry (31 Oct 1291–9 Jun 1361), Find a Grave Memorial no. 86213591, citing Cathedrale Saint-Etienne de Meaux, Meaux, Departement de Seine-et-Marne, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .