Music Appreciation Topic II: Music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
• The Middle Ages (a.k.a. the “Dark Ages”) began around 450 with the disintegration and fall of the Roman Empire.
• For the next thousand years, all segments of society were dominated by the powerful influence of the Roman Catholic church.• In this age of widespread faith, the concept of hell was very real.
• The church was also the center of musical life.• Liturgical music was an important occupation in monasteries and convents.• In large medieval churches, sung words were heard more easily than spoken words.
• Most medieval music was vocal, though musicians also performed on a wide variety of instruments.• The church frowned on instruments because of their earlier role in pagan rites.
• However, after 1100, organs and bells became increasingly common in cathedrals and monastic churches.
• Organs were played mainly on feast days and other special occasions.• Sometimes, the clergy complained about noisy organs that distracted worshipers.
For over 1,000 years, the official music ofthe Roman Catholicchurch has been the Gregorian chant.
• Gregorian chant consists of melody set to sacred Latin texts that is sung without instrumental accompaniment.• Its purpose is to enhance specific parts of the religious service and to set the atmosphere for prayers and ritual actions.
Medieval monks and nuns spent several hours of each day singing Gregorian chants during church services, which were comprisedof both sungand spoken texts in Latin.
• Gregorian chant is named after Pope Gregory I (“the Great”), who reorganized the Catholic liturgy during his reign from 590-604.• Gregory, depicted in these two paintings, is also the patron saint of musicians.
• Most of the several thousand Gregorian chants known today were created between 600 and 1300 A.D.• Gregorian chant conveys a calm, otherworldly quality; it represents the voice of the church, rather than that of any single individual.
• At first, Gregorian melodies were passed along by oral tradition, but as the number of chants grew to the thousands, they were notated to ensure musical uniformity throughout the western church.
• The composers of Gregorian chant remain almost completely unknown.
• Males received music education in schools, which were associated with churches and cathedrals.
• Women were excluded from religious music- making everywhere but in convents, where they were trained to sing and even wrote music.
One of the earliest knowncomposers isHildegard of Bingen(1098-1179), who is regarded as one of the mostcreative and many-sidedpersonalitiesof the Middle Ages.
• Hildegard was born the tenth child into a noble German family.• At the age of eight, she was sent as a novice to the Benedictine monastery of Disibodenberg.
• In 1136, Hildegard became an abbess.• Around the age of 50, she founded a nunnery near Bingen in the Rhine Valley.• She died at the advanced age of 81.
• A visionary and a mystic, Hildegard gained a reputation as a prophetess during her lifetime.• Popes, emperors, monarchs, archbishops and clergymen of all kinds flocked to Bingen to consult this “Sibyl of the Rhine.”• She also preached throughout Germany.
• Between 1141 and 1170, Hildegard recorded her mystical experiences.• Scivias (Know the Ways), written between 1141-51 is a book about her visions.• After her death, Hildegard’s name was put forward by several popes as a candidate for canonization.
• Though never formally canonized, she is often referred to as a saint.• She has a feast day which is particularly celebrated in Germany.
Hildegard of Bingen wrote:• Lyric and dramatic poetry.• Music.• Treatises on theology, science, and medicine.• A musical drama, Ordo virtutum (Play of the Virtues), which is the earliest known morality play.
• Hildegard is now the best-known and most recorded composer of sacred medieval music.
Favus Distillans (“DrippingHoneycomb”)Responsory to Saint Ursula
• A responsory is a sacred musical work sung with a cantor or small group singing verses while the whole choir or congregation respond with a refrain.• Hildegard composed many chants in honor of Saint Ursula (depicted at right).
Ursula was a Romano- British princess from south-west England, who set sail to join her future husband, the governor of Brittany (in modern northwest France), along with 11,000 virginal handmaidens.A miraculous storm brought them over the sea in a single day, whereupon where Ursula declared that before her marriage she would undertake a pilgrimage across Europe.
Ursula headed for Rome with her followers, and persuaded the Pope and the Bishop of Ravenna to join them.After setting out for Cologne (in Germany), which was being besieged by Huns, all the virgins were beheaded in a dreadful massacre, and the leader of the Huns shot Ursula dead with an arrow.
There weremany different types of instruments used insecular musicof the Middle Ages.
• Produces sound by a crank-turned wheel rubbing against the strings.• The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to a violin.• Melodies are played on a keyboard that presses tangents (small wedges, usually made of wood) against one or more of the strings to change their pitch.
The vielle, thepredecessor of the modern violin, wasthe principle medieval bowed instrument.
Medievalmanuscriptillustration of a rabbit playing a harp
A remote ancestor of the harpsichord and the piano, the psaltery’sstrings were attached to a frame over a wooden sounding board and plucked by the player.
Medieval trumpets were straight and had no valves.
A medieval shawm (far left)resembled atrumpet butwas made of wood andhad a single reed.Also picturedis a bagpipe.
The hammered dulcimer, an instrument withstrings stretched over a sounding board that arestruck by mallets. It was used extensively throughout the Middle Ages in England, France, Italy, Germany,Holland and Spain.
Nakers were the ancestor of modernkettle drums. The gittern (center) was a medieval guitar.
Lady playing a medieval viol,predecessor of the modern viola.
Minstrel playing a tabor, which was a portable snare drum played with one hand
Dances in the Middle Ages were often accompanied by instrumental music .
Shepherds Dancing at a Feast,(14th century), with a musician on the bagpipes (far left)
Musicians in the Middle Ages• Few records survive to document the professional musicians of the Middle Ages.
were traveling entertainers who toldstories and performed tricks in addition to making music in castles, taverns, and town squares.
• The modern word “juggler” is derived from the French “jongleur.”• These wandering minstrels usually sang songs and played instrumental dances on harps, fiddles and lutes.• They were also an important source of information in a time when there were no newspapers.
Only a lucky fewperformers foundsteady work in the service of the nobility.Left: Court jester playing vielle.
and• French aristocrats cultivated courtly song by poet-composers.• Called troubadours and trouvères, these courtly composers wrote the first large body of secular songs in decipherable notation during the 12th-13th centuries.• The term “troubadours” was used in the south of France and “trouvères” in the north.• Some were members of the nobility, while others were born to servants at court.• Others were accepted into aristocratic circles because of their accomplishments.
• The central theme of their songs was “ ” (“courtly love” or “refined love”).• This was an idealized form of love that refined the lover (not sexual).• Love from a distance, with respect and humility.• The object was a real woman, often another man’s wife.• The woman was unattainable, making unrewarded yearning (unrequited love) a major theme.
• One of the most important composers of the 14th century.• French-born musician and poet who studied theology.• Around 1323, he became secretary and chaplain to John, king of Bohemia.• Traveled to many courts and presented copies of his music and poetry to noble patrons.• His output is equally divided between sacred and secular music.
Puis qu’en oubli sui de vous (“Since I am forgotten by you”) by Mauchat• Secular love song written about Peronne, a beautiful young noblewoman whom Mauchat loved.• The relationship ended in disappointment.• Expresses Mauchat’s “farewell to joy,” since he has been forgotten by his beloved.• Is an example of a , one of the main poetic and musical forms in 14th-15th century France.
Puis quen oubli sui de vous, dous Since I am forgotten by you, sweet amis, friend, Vie amoureuse et joie à Dieu I bid farewell to a life of love and joy. commant. Mar vi le jour que mamour en vous Ill-fated was the day I placed my love mis, in you; Puis quen oubli sui de vous, dous Since I am forgotten by you, sweet amis. friend.Mais ce tenray que je vous ay promis, But what I have promised you I will Cest que jamais naray nul autre sustain: amant. That I shall never have any other love. Puis quen oubli sui de vous, dous amis, Since I am forgotten by you, sweet Vie amoureuse et joie à Dieu friend, commant. I bid farewell to a life of love and joy.
Francesco Landini(c.1325-97)• Most celebrated Italian composer of the 14th century• Blind from boyhood
• Was a famous organist, poet, scholar, and the inventor of a new string instrument.• Played many instruments, but was a virtuoso on the small organ (organetto/ portative organ).• Worked for a monastery and a church, but composed mostly secular music.• Music consists exclusively of Italian songs for two or three voices dealing with subjects from nature and love to morality and politics.• His song “Ecco la primavera” is a , an Italian poetic and musical form that originated as a song to accompany dancing.
“Ecco la Primavera” (“Spring has Come”) by Landini Ecco la primavera Spring is here che l cor fa rallegrare; To cheer the heart. tempF da nnamorare Time to fall in love e star con lieta cera. And put on a merry face.No vegiam laria e l tempo The newly fresh airche pur chiama allegreza; Calls us to cheer and in questo vago tempo merrymaking ogni cosa ha vagheza. In this changing time. Everything is quite lovely.Lerbe con gran frescheza e fiori copron prati e gli alberi adornati The greenery is new and fresh, sono in simil manera. And flowers cover the meadow And the trees are adorned with blossoms In the same way.
• The renaissance in music occurred between 1450 and 1600.• The invention of the printing press and movable type widened the circulation of music, and the number of composers and performers increased.
• Every educated person was expected to be trained in music.
• Although the church remained an important patron of music, musical activity gradually shifted from the church to the courts.• Musicians enjoyed a higher status than ever before.
• Most influential composer of his time.• Contemporary of Leondado da Vinci and Christopher Columbus.• Probably born in northern France.• Was a singer in the private chapels of the Dukes of Anjou (France) and Milan (Italy).• Later became a singer in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.• In his later years, Josquin held several church posts in France under King Louis XII.• Was one of the first musical composers to relate his music closely to the text.
“Scaramella” by Josquin Scaramella va alla guerra Scaramella is going off to war colla lancia et la rotella With lance and bucklerLa zombero boro borombetta, La zombero boro borombetta, La boro borombo. La boro borombo Scaramella fa la gala Scaramella is out on a spree colla scharpa et la stivala With boot and shoeLa zombero boro borombetta, La zombero boro borombetta, La zombero boro borombo. La boro borombo.
• In England, the age of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and William Shakespeare (1564- 1616) was as much a golden age in music as it was in literature.• The impetus for Renaissance music and drama arose in Italy, but the English treatment exhibited a lighter touch than its Italian models.
Elizabeth I (1533-1693) Though born a Catholic, Tallis managed to survive an extremely dangerous age of religious upheaval andpersecution, mainly by adapting his musical style to suit thecircumstances, and by keeping a low personal profile.
• Tallis is chiefly remembered for his church music; he composed masses and hymns in Latin as well as English service music, depending on the religious climate at the time (Catholic or Protestant) and the vastly different demands of the various monarchs he served under.• “When Shall My Sorrowful Sighing Slack” is one of the most obscure compositions from Tallis’s output: it appears to be secular song.• It may have been written for choirboys to perform for members of the nobility outside their church duties.
“When Shall My Sorrowful Sighing Slack?” by Tallis When shall my sorrowful sighing slack? When shall my woeful wailing cease? When shall my tears and mourning make mercy and pity me to release? When shall the pensive heart find peace? When shall the mind find quiet rest, that hath been long with thought opprest? How long shall I in woe lament? How long shall I in care complain? How long shall danger me torment, augmenting still my deadly pain, till hope and dread between them twain, agree that hope have her request? Till then live I with thought opprest.
English Folk Music: “Greensleeves”• Famous and familiar English folk tune.• First entered in English records in 1580.• There is a persistent belief that it was composed by Henry VIII for his lover and future queen Anne Boleyn, though this is not true.• Mentioned by Shakespeare in his play The Merry Wives of Windsor.• “What Child is This?” is a popular Christmas carol written by William Chatterton Dix in 1865 to the same tune.
A student of Tallis,William Byrd wrote both church and secular music.
• Byrd was the most important English composer of the Renaissance.• Although, like Tallis, he was Catholic, Byrd served the Church of England as an organist and composer.• His secular music included madrigals, consort pieces for viols, and keyboard music, especially the popular dance music loved by Queen Elizabeth and her court.• “Sing Joyfully unto God” is an anthem for six voices.
Giovanni Gabrieli(c.1555-1612)• A native of Venice, Gabrieli was the most important Venetian composer of the Renaissance.
• Became the principal organist and composer at St. Mark’s Basilica in Rome.• Wrote secular vocal music early in life, but later switched to sacred instrumental music that exploited sonorous sound to maximum effect.• Used the unusual layout of Saint Mark’s Basilica, with its two choir lofts facing each other, to create striking spatial effects with his music.• His “Canzon Prima” is scored for four-five brass instruments.
John Dowland(c.1563-1626)• Famous composer and lutenist.• In 1592, he played before Queen Elizabeth.• Traveled throughout Europe and became court lutenist to King Christian IV of Denmark.
• In 1612, he achieved an appointment at court in England.• Wrote many religious songs in his later years.• Melancholy and sensitive to criticism• Some of his finest songs have a quality of sadness.• Today, Dowland is ranked among the greatest English composers.
• German composer and music theorist.• Wrote a nine-volume collection of church music called Musae Sionae (1605-1610).• Also published a collection of over 300 instrumental dances based on tunes by Parisian dancing masters titled Terpsichore (1612).• As a theorist, Praetorius provided a detailed account of the forms, instruments (with descriptions and illustrations), and performance practices of his day, which is still of great historical significance.• “Ballet des Coqs” (“Dance of the Roosters”) was collected in Praetorius’s Terpsichore.• It is a dance tune keyed for five instruments.
The madrigal “As Vesta Was Descending” byThomas Weelkes (mid- 1570s to 1623) is themost famous madrigal in the collection. An English churchmusician and prolific composer, Weelkesserved variously as asinger and instructor.
: Classical goddess of hearth and home, (who was honored by the vestal virgins). : Queen Elizabeth (a.k.a. the “virgin queen”), arrives, attended by the (young shepherd boys). : young virginal women (whoare represented by Diana, the virgin goddess of chastity). They abandon Vesta’s side and run to join the shepherds. : a nickname for Queen Elizabeth I (meaning the rising or golden sun).