* The Renaissance Period is Western music history from 1400 to the beginning of the 1600‟s.* „Renaissance‟ = „rebirth‟ or „reconstruction‟.* More artistic freedom was used by artists and musicians.
* With new printing techniques, music was able to be preserved and distributed to the people.* The distinctive sounds of the Renaissance were the polyphonic style, sacred music and secular music.* New instruments were invented and old instruments were improved.* Masses and motets were the primary forms for sacred vocal polyphony.
* Composers used a method called „imitation‟ to make music more enjoyable. * „imitation‟ = one melodic line „imitates‟ the same musical theme as a previous melodic line.* This „imitative polyphony‟ can be heard in music by Byrd, Gibbons and Gabrieli.* Imitative polyphony was so important that it continued into the Baroque period, especially in sacred music for the church.
** English and Burgundian Music * Form * New techniques and styles. * 3 main forms: mass, motet and chanson. * All composed for voice. * Mass * Polyphonic style with plainsong. * Masses were long and divided into 5 sections. * Sacred Latin text was used.
* Motet * A sacred choral composition based on a single Latin text. * Short in length and written in one continuous movement. * Based on subjects from the Bible.* Chanson * The most popular and common music . * Written in French. * Similar to mass but more rhythmic.* Carol * Popular in England. * It consisted of 2 parts sung to a religious poem.
** Franco – Flemish Music * Form * Composers were more interested in creating new techniques within the popular existing forms. * Canon * Began in the 1300‟s but disappeared. * Reappeared in the 1400‟s and used interesting techniques: * Mensuartion canon – several voices using the same melody at different speeds. * Retrograde canon – sung backwards. * Augmentation canon – the time values of the notes increase in the imitating voice * Double canon – 4 parts with 2 different melodies
* Mass * A new form of mass called „cantus firmus‟. * Each section had the same melody. * Written in plainsong style.* Motet * Less use of cantus firmus in motets than in masses.. * Sections written in duet style, chordal style, or imitative style.* Secular Music * Chanson remained the dominant form of secular music like the English style. * However, some variations were made.
** In the 1500s, vocal polyphony was perfected.* Vocal style still dominated the musical world but the instrumental style also became popular.* Roman – Catholic music * Form * Church music grew in size, technique and usage. * Still dominated by masses and motets.
* Mass * „cantus firmus‟ was still used with plainsongs and secular melodies. * Parody mass also became popular – chansons and motets were changed to fit the text of the ordinary mass.* Motet * Motets did not change much in form or technique. * Some new concepts and themes were introduced.* Non-liturgical forms * The most popular was the „laude‟ – a religious song of praise with a polyphonic setting in chordal style. * Either written in Latin or Italian.
* Schools * The Franco – Flemish school still dominated the world * However, other schools became important including the Spanish school, the English school, the Venetian school and the German school.
** The Protestant Reformation created many new developments in church music. * Germany * Martin Luther, who began the Protestant Revolution in 1517, believed that the congregation should be involved in the service by singing hymns. * Chorale * One of the most important musical forms to come from the Protestant Reformation. * It was a hymn sung by the congregation.
* France * The Huguenot movement started an important literature of psalms set to music.* Psalms * Biblical psalms were translated into French and set to melodies. * They were sung by the congregation during mass and also at home.* English Church Music * Psalm singing was also popular. * English equivalent to mass was „service‟. * Also Catholic anthem (motet) and verse anthem (vocal and instrumental) were present. * English language replaced Latin.
** Secular music developed geographically during the second half of the Renaissance.* It had specific rules according to Hugh M. Miller: * 1. secular music was against sacred music. * 2. the rise of national schools was more pronounced in secular than in sacred music. * 3. secular music flourished all over Europe under the patronage of nobility. * 4. entertainment music, not concert music. * 5. composed and performed as chamber music for small groups, not large groups.
* Italian Form * In the late 1400s, popular vocal forms (canzoni) appeared in Italy. * In 4 parts, predominantly chordal with dance like rhythms.* French Form * Most popular secular form was the polyphonic chanson and solo chanson.* English Form * English madrigals were popular during the 16th century. * 5 voices were used. * Ballett was also popular – lively contrapuntal style alternating with chordal style.
* German Form * Popular at the time was the polyphonic lied. * Written in 4 voices with imitative counterpoint. * Based on popular songs. * Quodlibet was also popular – humorous mix of popular tunes and their texts.* Spanish Form * Villancico was the main Spanish secular form. * 4 parts written in chordal style with regular metric construction. * Based on a 3 stanza poem, musically structured to an A B B A formula. * Performed as solo songs with instruments playing the lower parts.
** Not as important as vocal music but it still played an important part in music in general.* Gained popularity and developed a musical form that was distinct from vocal music.* Specific rules for writing music: * 1. improvisation was very important * 2. transcriptions of vocal music for performance were numerous. * 3. instruments were freely employed in the performance of vocal music. * 4. some instrumental forms were borrowed from vocal forms, while others were instrumentally invented.
* Specific style: * Wider melodic range * Colouration, embellishment and figuration * Freer treatment of dissonance * In lute and keyboard music contrapuntal parts were freely added or dropped without indicating rests * Long and rapid scale passages * Numerous wide skips
** Viol * An important instrument in this period because it could be used in a variety of ways. * It is a bowed instrument with frets. It has a very recognizable, nasal tone, and was often used by upper class musicians who had formal training. * The strings of a viol could also be plucked or hammered using a plectrum, which at the time was a piece of quill, ivory or wood. * The violin was another instrument in the viol family.
** Lute * The lute was a very important instrument in the middle ages and a lot of music was written with it. * Lutes are commonly played on the lap by plucking the strings with a plectrum or the fingers. The left hand is positioned on the fretboard. * They have up to 15 strings and go out of tune easily. This is why it was replaced by the keyboard in the Baroque period. * The lute is not the predecessor of the guitar, but in fact, the guitar got its roots in Spain. Its ancestor was known as a Vihuela.
** Recorder * Recorders from the middle ages were very similar to today‟s instruments of the same name. * Recorders were played simply by blowing on the lip (or hole at the top of the instrument), and putting the proper fingers over the finger holes.
** Crumhorn * The crumhorn is unique because the player‟s lips do not touch the reed. There is a cap with a slot in it which the player blows strongly into. This process causes the reed to vibrate, and create sound. * The crumhorn‟s sound is very distinctive. It has a nasal buzzy tone. * The crumhorn has very limited range due to the lack of reed control.
** Sackbut * The sackbut was the earliest ancestor of the trombone. * In the middle ages, the sackbut was considered the instrument of virtuosos. * The sackbut was of the first instruments that could actually be played in tune.
** Organs Positive Organs * Large instruments which required 2 people to operate. * One person pumped the bellows while the other person played the keyboard. * Used in sacred music. Portative Organs * Smaller and quite versatile. * Only required 1 player. * Used in sacred music and secular music, as a solo instrument or in an ensemble.
** Harpsichord * The harpsichord is the piano‟s predecessor. When the player hits a key, a quill inside the harpsichord plucks a string, which gives it a sharp, very recognizable sound. * Harpsichords were used both as solo instruments and accompanying instruments in ensembles.
** Nothing like a present day orchestra.* There were more like small chamber groups.* Specific instrumentation for ensembles was seldom declared in the music score.
** Dance Music * Dance music was originally written for social gatherings. * Later, in the 1700s, a more specific and structured style was developed. * Dance music had a strong rhythm and repeating sections. * The lute was a popular instrument for dance music along with the harpsichord and small ensembles.
* Cantus Firmus forms * Basically for use in the church as it was liturgical music. * It was usually played by an organist between verses of hymns sung by the congregation or choir. * Simplistic plainsong or secular song which was meant to be played by a harpsichord, organ or an ensemble of viols.* Improvisational forms * The prelude was the main type of improvisational form during the Renaissance. * Composed for keyboard or lute instruments. * Made use of a collection of materials to appear improvised to the listener.
** William Byrd (1543 – 1623) * Born in Eincolnshire, England (Robin Hood). * Composed music for both Catholic (masses, hymns, madrigals) and Protestant (Great Service and Short Service) churches. * Organist at Lincoln Cathedral and later at Chapel Royal with his mentor Thomas Tallis. * Famous for extraordinary masses, motets, vocal and solo songs and for chamber music composed for strings without voice. * “The Sweet and Merry Month of May”. * Considered the best composer of keyboard music in all of Europe during his life.
** Josquin Desprez (1440 – 1521) * Born in Duchy of Burgandy (Belgium) and spent his life in Italian cities until he retired to France. * Spread polyphonic music in Italy. * Repertoire made up of masses, motets and secular songs in French and Italian. * A master of four-voice and other large textures, parodies, light songs and French chansons. * Still renowned and respected today.
** Giovanni Gabrielli (1554 – 1612) * Born in Italy. * Composed sacred and secular vocal music. * Also composed music for string, keyboard and ensemble pieces. * Best known for perfection of the „cori spezzati‟ musical form, where choirs or performing groups are broken up into sections and dispersed in and around the performance space. * Also famous for motets written about damnation and hell.
** Orlando Gibbons (1583 – 1625) * Born in Oxford, England and was the greatest English composer of his generation. * Wrote new music and developed new techniques for consort music. * Also famous for sacred choral music, English anthems and verse anthems. * His madrigal “The Silver Swan” is his most famous. * His music is still played today as part of the English Cathedral repertoire.
** Johannes Ockeghem (1410 – 1497) * One of the fathers of Renaissance music and one of the most respected composers of the 15th century. * Best known for motets, masses and secular chansons. * He had a distinct style in his vocal pieces as he placed and emphasis on expressive and complex bass lines. * A pioneer of Western polyphony and a master of lyrical and contrapuntal invention.
** Giovanni Palestrina (1525 – 1594) * An Italian composer who wrote over 100 settings of the mass. * He composed sacred music and is best known for his “seamless texture” of polyphony. * Most famous works are his First Book of Masses, the Mass of Marcellus, and his First Book of Motets. * An example of his sacred work is “Adoramus te Christe”. * His work is marked by purity, clarity, simplicity and the omission of secular elements. * Earned the title of “Prince of Music” which is written on his grave.