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Medieval and Renaissance Music

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Julie Popelka

on 2 October 2015

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Transcript of Medieval and Renaissance Music

Medieval and Renaissance Music
Chapters 12 through 15
- the set order of church services and the structure of each service

Gregorian chant
- credited to Pope Gregory the Great
- also known as plainchant or plainsong
- single-line melody, monophonic, lacking harmony
-vocal melody, Latin text, free of accentuation
-more than 3,000 of these melodies, all anonymous
Sacred Music in the Middle Ages
: 1 note set to each syllable of text

: a few notes set to 1 syllable

: many notes set to 1 syllable
Chant Melody Classes
Little ascending and descending symbols written above the words (or lyrics), eventually developed into musical notation consisting of square notes on a four-line staff
The services of the
Roman Catholic Church
can be divided into two categories: the daily Offices and the Mass.

- a series of services celebrated at various hours of the day in monasteries and convents

- the most solemn ritual of the Catholic church, attended by public worshipers
The Mass
"Haec Dies"
: This is the Day
A Gregorian Melody: Kyrie
-Greek prayer for mercy

-"Kyrie eleison" - Lord have mercy
"Christe eleison" - Christ have mercy
"Kyrie eleison" - Lord have mercy

-Often sung in an antiphonal manner (alternating between two groups of singers)
Life in the Medieval Cloister
-Men & Women
-Prayer, scholarship, preaching, charity, or healing the sick
-Parents or child may choose this for the child
-Life of poverty, daily Offices, grueling schedule
-Also may work outside of the Church
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
-German writer/composer/philosopher/visionary

-Promised to the service of the Church by her parents

-Lived in a stone cell with one window, took a vow by age 14

-Since childhood, she experienced visions, was reportedly able to foretell the future

-Founded a new convent in Rupertsberg, Germany

-Famous throughout Europe; popes, kings and priests sought her advice on political and religious issues
-Wrote poetry and set her texts to music

-Her collected music forms a liturgical cycle for the different feasts throughout the church year

-Her highly original style resembles Gregorian chant but is full of expressive leaps and melismas
Hildegard continued...
The Rise of Polyphony
Polyphony, or the combination of two or more simultaneous melodic lines, is the single most important development in the history of Western music.
Helped bring the use of regular
Because of multiple lines/voices happening, a more exact
notational system
Music progressed from improvisation and oral tradition to something that was
planned and preserved.
Anonymous people turned into recognized
The Play of the Virtues
-the earliest polyphonic music grew out of the custom of adding a second voice to a Gregorian melody

oblique motion
(one voice is static while the other is moving) and
contrary motion
(voices move in opposite directions)

-composers of organum based their pieces on preexisting Gregorian chants
Oblique Motion
Contrary and oblique motion
The Early Medieval Motet
-Middle of the thirteenth century

-musicians began writing new texts for the previously textless upper voices of organum

-Sacred texts were sometimes combined with secular texts
Famous composers of early polyphony
-(composers centered at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries)

- first composer of organum (leading to polyphony), credited with compiling the
Great Book of Organum
(written for two voices)

- his successor, expanded organum by increasing the number of parts, first to 3 voices, then to 4
Sacred Renaissance Music
the 16th century has come to be regarded as the golden age of the
a cappella style
(the term refers to a vocal work without instrumental accompaniment)
Polyphony at this time was based on the principle of
Mass: L’homme armé—Kyrie
(lum ar-MAY)

Composer: Guillaume Du Fay
Renaissance - The Mass
Composers concentrated on
the Ordinary
- the fixed portion of the mass sung daily

Five movements:
- "Kyrie eleison" - ABA format, Greek prayer for mercy
- "Glory be to God on high" - joyful hymn of praise
- "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty" - confession of faith
- "Holy, holy, holy" - song of praise
Agnus Dei
- "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world"
Du Fay and the Cantus Firmus Mass
Guillaume Du Fay - prominent European composer

-abandoned the meandering vocal lines and rhythmic complexities of the middle ages

-favored instead well-defined melodies and clear-cut rhythms

-some of his masses are built on a
cantus firmus
taken from a Gregorian chant or from a popular song

Cantus firmus - "fixed melody"
Josquin des Prez
(jos-cam de prey)

Career in Italy

Known for his expression of emotion; his music is rich in feeling, characterized by serenely beautiful melodies and expressive harmony

Ave Maria...virgo serena
- Josquin used the motet to experiment with combinations of voices and textures

The Reformation and Counter-Reformation
1517 - Augustinian monk Martin Luther began the Protestant movement known as the Reformation with his Ninety-Five These - a list of reforms he proposed to the practices of the Catholic Church.

-Luther was excommunicated from the Church

-A fan of Josquin de Prez, Luther sought to attract people to his new Protestant faith with music sung in the
vernacular (the language of the people)
The Counter-Reformation
A reform movement focused on a return to Christian piety

-The Council of Trent (1545-1563)
corruption of chants by singers adding extravagant embellishments
Council members objected to the use of certain instruments and popular songs in masses
In polyphonic settings, cardinals claimed the sacred text was made unintelligible by the elaborate texture
Some advocated abolishing polyphony altogether and returning to Gregorian chant
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
-organist and choirmaster in various
Italian churches, including St. Peter's
in Rome
-wrote the most masses of any
-his music represents the pure
"a cappella" style of vocal
polyphony typical of the late
-known for the "Pope Marcellus
Renaissance Secular Music
-The Renaissance saw a rise in amateur music-making and in secular music

-secular music could be purely vocal, singers with accompaniment, and solo instrumental music

, music is used to enhance poetry

-Josquin de Prez:
Mille regretz
(A thousand regrets)
courtly love; the pain and suffering of leaving one's beloved
Italian and English Madrigals
Madrigal - an aristocratic form of poetry and music that flourished at the Italian courts

Could be about love, unsatisfied desire, humor, satire, or political themes.

Featured instruments and voices
John Farmer's Fair Phyllis
Pastoral text, lively rhythms and good humor

The poem tells of a shepherdess (Phyllis) tending her sheep, when she is found and pursued by her lover Amyntas (their names are stock ones for such rustic characters)

The Renaissance madrigal inspired composers to develop new techniques of combining music and poetry. In doing so, it prepared the way for one of the most influential forms of Western music- opera (Baroque Era).
Instrumental Dance Music
The 16th century witnessed a blossoming of instrumental dance music. With the advent of music printing, books of dance music became readily available for solo instruments as well as for small ensembles.
Dance types that became popular:

- the first in a set that includes one or more quicker dances

- jumping dance

- a more vigorous version of the saltarello

- round dance, a lively romp performed in a circle, usually outdoors
Giovanni Gabrieli
Gabrieli fully exploited polychoral writing in his motets and instrumental works.
Septimi Toni
This work is for two choirs of instruments - each four parts, combining brass and strings in a sonorous blend. It is usually performed in an antiphonal manner.
Canzona - a work that is sectional, organized around contrasting textures and spatial effects of the displaced ensembles that evoke the "surround sound" of modern times.
Secular Music in the Middle Ages
Minstrels emerged as a class of musicians who wandered among the courts and towns.
after-dinner entertainment
court ceremonies
military music
Soft, Indoor Instruments (Bas)
Hammered Dulcimer
Full transcript