Published byCarmel Henry Modified over 8 years ago
The Renaissance Era Audio Clip is Bovicelli 1400 – 1600 “Rebirth”
Secular music is non-religious music and it was becoming more popular during this time. There was a rise in instrumental music and dance music, too. The printing press was invented during the Renaissance. Some people consider the printing press to be the most important contribution to civilization in the last one thousand years! The printing press allowed music to be printed quickly. Before the Renaissance, music had to be copied by hand. One of the most famous persons from the Renaissance was Leonardo da Vinci. He was known as a Renaissance man because he could do many things well. He was a painter, architect, inventor, scientist, poet, musician, and teacher.
A Rebirth of Knowledge Renaissance means rebirth.
This period saw a rebirth in knowledge. The focus of the Renaissance was turning from God to man. Science and the arts were becoming more important. Christopher Columbus discovered America Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel. William Shakespeare was writing his famous plays.
Medieval to Renaissance Melody
Long, asymmetrical Texted melodies often melismatic Shorter, balanced Texted melodies often syllabic Renaissance
Medieval to Renaissance Rhythm
Restless and active Smoother, more regular Often tied to rhythm of words
Medieval to Renaissance Harmony
Based on fifths and octaves Unexpected, pungent dissonances Based on triads Dissonance less harsh, usually on weak beats More adventurous in late Renaissance in portraying emotions
Medieval to Renaissance Tone Colour/Timbre
Voices and instruments mixed Bright tone colors, freely mixed Often a cappella or purely instrumental Softer tone colors, ensembles of similar instruments (consorts)
Medieval to Renaissance Texture
Monophonic and polyphonic Non-imitative Mostly polyphonic Often imitative
Medieval to Renaissance Form
Often based on cantus firmus and isorhythm (original chant form) Vocal refrain forms (virelai, rondeau) Some isorhythm, but usually based on text or dance forms Through-composed vocal pieces (madrigal and motet) Isorhythms: medieval musical technique: a technique of musical composition of the 14th and 15th centuries that uses a repeated rhythmic pattern
A Cappella: The Golden Age of Singing
This was the golden age of the a cappella style. That means that singers sang without instruments. Vocal music was still more important than instrumental music.
The Madrigal Madrigals were popular during the Renaissance.
These song forms were performed in groups of four, five, or six singers. A madrigal is secular music. This is non-religious music. Madrigals vary in terms of content, but many are about love, but could just as likely be about death. The text of the madrigal was the focus and the music was framed around this a cappella form. England in particular has long been noted for its madrigals, with numerous composers of the form such as Thomas Morley. Listen to this recording of Thomas Morley’s “Sing We and Chant it” There is no set form for a madrigal; in other words, no rhyming scheme dictates what is a madrigal and what is not, and the music does not have to follow a particular meter. By convention, a rhyming couplet ends most madrigals, although this is by no means required. The music may also be composed for any occasion, with madrigals appearing at celebratory parties, funerals, and a range of other events.
Sacred Renaissance Music
Religious music was still very important. Choral music of the Renaissance was an extension of the Gregorian chant. It was sung a cappella and sung in Latin. Motets were popular during this time. A motet is a polyphonic work with four or five voice parts singing one religious text. Giovanni Palestrina was one the Renaissance period's most important composers. He was Italian. He wrote mostly religious works. He is considered one of the great masters of Renaissance music. He wrote motets, madrigals, and masses.
Palestirina – Sicut Cirvus
Immitative. Repetitive text. The text Sicut cervus is from the older latin translation of Psalm 41 (according to the numbering of the Vulgate, or latin bible) or 42 (according to the numbering of the hebrew bible). As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his loving kindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God Palestirina – Sicut Cirvus Watch the music go by as it plays. What do you notice about the polyphony?
The Mass The musical mass was an important part of the Catholic Church's religious service. Each part of the celebration would have a different musical number. The mass would be sung in Latin.
The Order of the Mass Kyrie
Kyrie means God. This is the first piece in a musical mass. Gloria Gloria means Glory and follows the Kyrie. Credo Credo means Creed of Belief. It follows the Gloria. Sanctus Sanctus means Holy. Benedictus Benedictus means Blessed. Agnus Dei Agnus Dei means Lamb of God.
3 Popular Song Forms of the Renaissance
Just remember the Three M's: Madrigal This is a polyphonic work, which means it has many musical lines of equal importance. Madrigals were sung with lots of imitation, which means the voices take turns singing the same melody. Madrigals were performed in groups of four, five, or six singers. They sang secular music. This is non-religious music. Madrigals were usually love songs. Motet A motet is a polyphonic work with four or five voice parts singing one religious text. They are similar to madrigals, but with an important difference: motets are religious works, while madrigals are usually love songs. Mass A musical mass is like a motet, only longer. It also follows the religious service of the Catholic Church and is sung in a very specific order: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. It is performed in Latin.
Instrumental Music There was a growth in instrumental music, especially the lute and keyboard. The most popular instrument of the Renaissance was the lute.
Instrument Families It was during this period that families of instruments started to develop. These families were called consorts. This is where we get the word concert. This is the very first portrait of the violin family to appear in history. The ensemble consists of two violins, a viola and a violoncello, accompanied by lute and percussion. This exquisite fresco adorning the cupola of the Catherdral of Saronno was made around 1535 by Gaudenzio Ferrari, from Valduggia (Novara), Italy.
Dance Music Dancing was a favorite pastime during the Renaissance.
Educated people were expected to know how to dance. There were simple dances that were usually danced in chains or circles. There were also more difficult dances that required lots of practice. Dancing encouraged new forms of instrumental compositions. Many songs were written just for dancing. Some popular renaissance dances were the branle, pavane, galliard and allemande.
Samples of Renaissance Dance Forms
The Galliard The Branle
Questions for Discussion
1. In a canon, all voices repeat the same melody. Can you name any canons you have sung? What else are canons called? 2. A Renaissance man is someone who is good at everything he tries. What would you need to do today to be a Renaissance person? Is there anyone living today you would consider a Renaissance person? Why would it be harder to be Renaissance person today than during the Renaissance? 3. How did the printing press change music history? 4. Name some important ways that the Renaissance is different from the Medieval period. 5. Why do you think the Medieval period lasted 700 years longer than the Renaissance? 6. What is the musical texture of most of today's music?
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