Tempus Fugit Conference © Alamire Foundation
A three-day symposium, Tempus fugit, was held at which musicologists, conductors and performers explored aspects of “time in polyphony”. Tempo, tactus, proportions and conducting are important parameters when performing polyphony. Despite intense research and an abundance of information, the aspect of time is still cloaked in mystery. The central guest at the symposium was the American researcher Ruth DeFord, who recently published Tactus, Mensuration and Rhythm in Renaissance Music (Cambridge University Press, 2015) on this subject.
As well as Ruth DeFord, Fabrice Fitch, Stratton Bull and Isaac Alonso facilitated the symposium. The symposium was attended by around twenty other specialists and interested parties besides the speakers. During the first day of the symposium (18 August), the focus was on Jacob Obrecht’s Missa Maria zart, which had been performed the previous evening by Cappella Pratensis as part of Laus Polyphoniae. The following day, the discussion was opened up to a wider repertoire (Dufay, Busnoys, Ockeghem and Josquin des Prez).