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Renaissance Era

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Gina Challed

on 20 August 2018

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Transcript of Renaissance Era

Period of exploration and adventure, of curiosity and individualism --a “
” of interest in fine arts & ancient Greece was initiated in Italy
Increased interest in
Greek culture,
art & philosophy, which was previously viewed as a Pagan
, both in way of life and in music. The Greeks believed strongly in music’s power of expression, & so did the Renaissance people.
prevailed over allegory (ex. Shakespeare’s plays no longer had a religious message)
Mythological figures made a comeback
within & without (Christopher Columbus, Magellan) made people begin to question their beliefs & question the Church
Music, which used to be a science, was now considered a fine art
Intellectual movement of
, meant a movement towards human fulfillment and gratification on earth rather than the here- after. Art began to focus on the human form (which had been shamed in the Middle Ages) & the expression of human emotions.
Rise of the Merchant Class
– increased commerce & trade, brought about new music patrons & the amateur musician

Overview of the Renaissance
Musical Characteristics

Word painting
was used heavily in many of the Renaissance forms, and predominantly in madrigals depicting the text through the music (ie. Dissonance = “death” or "tears" & ascending line for “heaven” or "joy")

– had a gentle flow rather than a defined beat & each line had independence

– Renaissance music sounds more consonant because of the formation of stable chords.
melodies usually move stepwise with few large leaps
voices often overlap to create a seamless flow
bass register was used for the first time, resulting in fuller harmonies

– mainly vocal/polyphonic with 4 – 6 parts & much use of imitation
*The instrumental parts were

develops & begins to dominate: intervals of 3rds & 6ths added to the 4ths & 5ths of the music of the Middle Ages

Cantus firmus
– "fixed melody" still exists in the Church but is now being heavily ornamented.

- Triple meter remains strong, but
duple meter
is added (Common time, as we call it today which is more suitable for dancing)

Composers of the Renaissance
Josquin de Prez ( 1455 – 1521)
Considered one of the greatest composers of the Renaissance
His contemporaries compared him to Michaelangelo
He was French but worked for the Pope in Rome
He was arrogant, demanding twice the salary most composers received & composing only when he felt inspired, not when his patron said so (this was unheard of...musicians were servants)
He wrote in every style, both sacred & secular, but is most known for his motets, of which he wrote 100
Influenced many composers to follow- most importantly, Bach

Sacred Music Forms
Renaissance Era (1450 - 1600)
Music in Society

Music was an important leisure activity and educated persons were expected to be musically trained
the Merchant class was mostly illiterate, so music was mostly improvised
Vocal music prevailed, but instrumental music was increasing in popularity

Invention of Printing Press (1460)
revolutionized the world of information – much like the internet did
widened circulation of books & music & opened the door to literacy in
both, regardless of class
helped preserve some "pop" (or secular) music of the day

Musicians were employed accordingly:
the trades of inst. building
music printing
Courts competed for the finest composers & could employ up to 60 in-house musicians
Churches employed composers, organists, choir masters and male choirs
Young boys or falsettists would sing the high parts & men would sing the low parts
to save money, the church began (1562) castrating male singers 1 adult
=2 falsettists or 4 choir boys

Great Figures
& Events
Leonardo da Vinci
– was a painter/sculptor/architect/engineer/scientist/musician (ex.Mona Lisa)

– sculptor & artist known for his: Sistine Chapel

Martin Luther
(1483-1546) led Protestant reformation (1517) which weakened the Catholic churchs’ hold
the church had been selling indulgences (forgiveness of sins for money)

In response to the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic church began a counter-reformation in Trent and formed the “Council of Trent” to monitor standards & policies:
They questioned nudity in religious paintings, musical instruments in the church, & music’s role in the church
They decided that “Music should not give empty pleasure to the ear” but should inspire religious contemplation.
Polyphony was also under scrutiny because of text clarity & the role of music.
Josquin's Motet: Ave Maria
Giovanni Palestrina ((1525 – 1594)
Often called “the savior of church music” for his role in maintaining a place for polyphony
a singer, organist and composer, he worked most of his life in and around the Vatican
he was famous in his lifetime and became more famous after death:
Mozart, Beethoven & Brahms studied & admired Palestrina’s use of counterpoint
He wrote over 300 motets, 100 masses & many other great works
His most famous Mass: Pope Marcellus Mass
was written to prove to the Council of Trent that polyphonic sacred music could still have clearly audible texts. It is written for 6 a cappella voices
Kyrie from Palestrina's Mass
Secular Music Forms

one of the main poetic/musical forms of 14th/15th cen. France (8 lines each ending in mis or ment
* listen to Machaut’s Puis qu’en oubli (look for the form: AB AA AB AB)

Began in Italy
(1530) -a secular form comprised of 4 or 5 voices (generally a cappella), which quickly spread throughout Europe
Generally Love Songs - In Italy, Madrigals were tragic, In France & England they were playful, comical & flirtatious.
Madrigals employ the technique:
Word Painting
– depicting the text through music (ex. the words "up & down" are written high & low respectively)

French Chansons
– a favored genre in courts consisting of 3 or 4 voices a cappell or accompanied with improvised instruments generally love songs but later expanded
**listen to Tant Que Viray – Sermisy

– polyphonic choral composition made up of 5 sections from the "Ordinary" (or daily) parts of the Mass:
Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei
*listen to Palestrinas Pope Marcellus Mass: Kyrie

– a sacred composition for choir set to a latin text and intended for the praise, either in the church, the chapel, or at home in private devlotion
Most were
A Cappella
(“in the Chapel” or vocals only without instruments)

Josquin’s Ave Maria written for four voices, uses
Imitative Counterpoint
(a question/answer style of imitation)

to create balance & symmetry
**listen to Josquin’s Ave Maria (see pg. 80)

The first movement: Kyrie from Palestrina's Pope Marcellus Mass
This piece, which Palestrina coercively named after the current Pope, is said to have helped convince the Council of Trent that Polyphony should be an acceptable standard in the Church because here,Palestrina proved that the there could be many voices and the text could still be clearly audible.
Josquin's Ave Maria
Notice Josquin's use of polyphony. He is setting the voices in Imitative Counterpoint, which will later inspire much of the great music of the Baroque Era and Bach, in particular.
English Madrigal: Fair Phyllis by John Farmer (employs Word Painting)
Italian Madrigal: Monteverdi's Parlo
The most important secular genre of the Ren. - Italian Madrigals paved the way for the Baroque Opera

Lute Songs
– a secular form of song written for voice and lute
John Dowland: Flow My Tears
Sting singing
Dowland's Come
Again Sweet Love
Instrumental Music:
played by both professional
& amateur musicians, Renaissance
instrumental music was still largely
improvised and intended mostly for dance

Bridged the Ren. & Baroque, but always wrote in a definitively Ren. Style
Published 8 books of madrigals
(his 9th book was pub. After his death)
He developed the technique known as word-painting
He began writing contrast between high and low voices (high women’s voices over a bass instrument) led to what we hear in Baroque music.
Montiverdi's Madrigal: Parlo Misero

Claudio Montiverdi (1567 – 1643)
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