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Renaissance

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Melissa Martelli

on 6 January 2013

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Transcript of Renaissance

Style of music that dominated European music in the last half of the fifteenth century. Most important musicians came from Northern France, Flanders, Netherlands.

Some composers are Johanne Ockeghem, Jacob Obrecht and Josquin Desprez. Desprez was best known for his choral contributions and motet development using a four-voice imitation technique in which each voice enters singing in imitation a modified version of the pre-existing chant melody. He left 20 masses and more than 100 motets behind.


His most famous work is “Missa Pange Lingua.” Franco-Flemish School Four main instrument groups: lute, organ, stringed keyboard instruments and instrumental ensembles.
Lute: like a guitar but with double strings
Organ: used for liturgical music
Keyboard instruments include the harpsichord, virginals, spinet (sounded with a plucked string), clavichord (strings struck by a metal tongue)
Instrumental ensembles: viols, woodwinds (recorder, flute, shawm, krummhorn, ) and brass (sackbut, cornetto). Instruments Musical Borrowing: Renaissance composers borrowed music that had already been written. Composers liked to take melodies from a plainsong chant and highlight them instead of using them as a foundation to build their polyphonic structure. They would add notes and varied rhythms to spice it up.
Imitation was used: each voice in music presents the same musical phrase one at a time. Each line enters one after the other so the listener has the sense that the music is overlapping.
Harmony: In the middle ages only 4ths, 5ths and octaves were consonance but now the third and sixth were in common use. John Dunstable would introduce this concept.
The motet: short setting of Latin text where smaller sections are written in a mix of homophonies (melody and accomp.) and imitative polyphony.
The chanson: written for three voices, with either or both lower voices being instrumental. The texts used were French poems and the forms followed the poetic structure.
The Madrigal: secular song developed in Italy (a.k.a frottola) which is a song with instrumental accompaniment (a soprano or alto melody with two harmonizing parts below.) The topics were usually love, nature, humour, political satire. The musical techniques were homophony and imitative polyphony.
Some famous madrigal composers are Orlando di Lasso, Palestrina, and Andrea Gabrielli. Most musicians began as choirboys in a church of chapel singing soprano and alto.

When their voices changed, some would sing in the bass and tenor ranges and some would teach composition. The better the talent and reputation, the more chance of getting a higher ranked position as a maestro di capella or music director.

Very few women ere professional musicians during the Renaissance. They were usually instrumentalist or singers in the background. The only professsional soprano group was “Conterto delle donne” or Ladies Ensemble who sang for the duke and duchess in the 1580’s.


The more education given the more change to learn how to read music, sing and play an instrument. The Life of a Musician (1525-1594) called after town where he was born.

In 1550, he was made music director for the Julian Chapel choir at St. Peter’s basilica. He would stay there for 16 years.


He considered entering the priesthood when his wife and two elder sons died in the plague epidemic of 1580, but instead married a wealthy widow a year later.


He wrote over 100 masses, 400 motets but only 250 of them remain. His style is noted for its balance, purity, control and clarity.


He uses and manipulates dissonance (unpleasant sounds) and he balances polyphony and harmony so that the words are clear and in natural rhythm.


His most famous work is the “Pope Marcellus Mass” written for six voices and performed a capella without accompaniment. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina 1460-1600 The Renaissance Thomas Tallis
William Byrd
Thomas Morley
John Dowland
Orlando Gibbons The English School 1460-1600
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