Rota (music)

From Academic Kids

A rota is a type of sung round of the 13th and 14th centuries, probably only in England.

In the rota, as opposed to the rondellus, the voices entered one at a time, each singing precisely what the previous voice sang, exactly as in the modern round. The most famous example is the anonymous six-voice Sumer is icumen in (summer is coming in) of the 13th century.

Very few notated rounds have survived, but fragmentary sources and frequent mentions in other writings indicate that the practice was widespread. Most likely rounds were learned and memorized; notation would not have been considered to be necessary. Many scholars believe that the practice predates the 13th century. In fact the existence of a related, but somewhat different tradition in the rondellus in France at the same time implies that the practice may have come to England at the time of the Norman Conquest, and mutated in the two hundred years between that event and the oldest notated examples of the rota.

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