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The Renaissance Period
Transcript of The Renaissance Period
About the Style
Most of the early important music was composed for the church
Widely considered by music scholars to be the first master of high renaissance style of polyphonic vocal music
Created a new type of piece called motet-chanson
3 voice parts, lowest part (tenor) sing text in latin- cantus firmus (firm voice)
2 upper parts sing text in French
Giovanni Pierlugi da Palestrina
English composer of the Renaissance
Wrote types of sacred and secular polyphony, as well as sacred music for use in Angelican and Roman Catholic services
Best known for development of English Madrigal
Pioneered the development of the freely composed fantasia
Latin sacred music is among his highest quality works
The Renaissance Period
Polyphonic vocal music
Aligns text with musical motifs
Both sacred and secular
Freed from medieval constraints
Birth of modern instruments
music based on modes
four or more parts
blended sounds- harmonies more in line with harmonic progression
Influenced by the rise in humanistic thought
During the recovery of ancient Greek and Roman culture
Took place during the Protestant Reformation
Largely influenced by growths in commercial enterprise and the rise of the bourgeois class
During a period of increased innovation and discovery
Common Instrumentation in Renaissance Music
Sackbutt (early trombone)
Viol (6 strings)
Hurdy Gurdy (AKA wheel fiddle)
Italian Renaissance composer of Sacred music
Best known 16th century representative of the Roman School of musical composition
His work has often been seen as the culmination of renaissance polyphony
Palestrina's music contains dissonance that are typically relegated to the weak beats in a measure
"Palestrina Style" now serves as a basis for college renaissance counterpoint classes
Basic Palestrina Guidlines:
1) Flow of music is dynamic, not rigid or static
2) Few leaps between notes
3) Dissonance is confined to weak beats and passing notes.
William Byrd 1540-1623
Josquin des Prez 1450-1521
Notice how much of the melody is stepwise, which is one of the main rules Palestrina seemed to follow in his music. The music also flows very dynamically, and is not rigid, which is another characteristic of Palestrina
Example of a motet-chanson. Notice the two upper voices sing in french and the lower part (tenor) sings in latin. There are only 3 voice parts in this form of music.
It begins with a sober imitative paragraph before progressively more fragmented textures (working in a quotation from Greensleeves at one point). It even includes a complete three-strain galliard, followed by an expansive coda. This is an example of consort music, which Byrd used often.
Palestrina: “Missa O Sacrum Convivium”
Josquin des Prez
William Byrd- “Fantasia a6 (No 2)”