The History of Renaissance Music


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Musical Characteristics
and Burgundian Schools
bullet 3-part polyphony
bullet Melodic and rhythmic interest in top voice
bullet Solo songs with textless instrumental parts below
bullet Melodic progression characterized by numerous thirds
bullet Use of triple meter
bullet Homophonic polyphony (chordal or familiar style)
bullet Fauxbourdon (Burgundian) and English Descant
bullet Landini cadence still common
bullet Imitation used infrequently
bullet Cantus firmi used less frequently than Franco-Flemish music
bullet Secular continued with polytextuality
Franco Flemish Style
bullet Franco-Flemish (or Netherlands) style spread throughout Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries
bullet Exemplified, dignified and sophisticated musical techniques
bullet 4-part writing (added part below the tenor, melody on top, created conventional parts:
bullet superius
bullet altus
bullet tenor
bullet bassus
bullet Use of complete triads
bullet Balanced polyphony - stylistic equality among parts
bullet Development of contrapuntal techniques
bullet Imitation
bullet Augmentation
bullet Diminution
bullet Retrograde
bullet Inversion
bullet Imitation important
bullet New types of canon
bullet Pairing of voices (duet style)
bullet Use of combined styles within the same piece (alteration of chordal and contrapuntal passages)
bullet Fauxbourdon and Landini cadences disappeared
bullet Authentic and plagal cadences most common
bullet musica reservata initiated by composers
National Schools (Roman, Spanish, Venetian, English)
bullet Continued spread of Franco-Flemish style throughout Europe
bullet Development of other national schools
bullet Vocal polyphony attained the highest level of perfection
bullet Highest development of a cappella for church music
bullet Vocal style was dominant, but independent instrumental styles were beginning to emerge
bullet Religious music was still the dominate over secular music, but this was decreasing
bullet Religious music still dominated by the Roman Catholic Church, but protestant music began to increase in Germany, France and England
bullet Secular music increased in importance under the patronage system of the nobility
bullet Major/minor tonality gaining in importance, but modality still influenced both sacred and secular music
bullet Development of music printing
bullet Triad is the basic unit of composition
bullet Dissonances were prepared and resolved
bullet Generally balanced polyphony with equality of parts
bullet Use of both homophonic and contrapuntal textures in same piece
bullet Use of cori spezzati
Secular Music
bullet Gaining in importance because of:
bullet Growing spirit of secularization
bullet Patronage System of the nobility
bullet Flourishing of poetry
bullet Intended as entertainment for amateur performers
bullet Composed and performed as chamber music for small ensembles
bullet Italian secular music influenced the French, German and English secular schools
bullet 1565 - the use of castrati emerged as a way to preserve the sound of a women's voice in Italian music since St. Paul's dictum prohibited women from performing on stage or in churches
bullet 1588 - the English Madrigal School is firmly established, led by Thomas Morley, and produces some of the most delightful secular music concerning love and/or grief
bullet 1590-1604 - The camerata was established by Count Giovanni de Bardi
Roman Catholic Music
Use of both homophonic and contrapuntal textures in same piece
bullet Equality of parts
bullet 5-part texture most common, but ranged from 3- to 8-parts or more
bullet Triad is basic unit of composition
bullet Treatment of dissonant intervals was strict and limited to a few devices
bullet passing tones
bullet neighboring tones
bullet anticipations
bullet suspensions
bullet cambiatas
bullet Music was written a cappella, although instruments were most likely used in performance
bullet mostly diatonic, but chromaticism began to appear
bullet Continued use of Latin, but some places outside Italy began to use the vernacular
bullet 1562 - Pope Pius IV's Counter-Reformation
bullet 1574 - use of castrati became common and were used in the Sistine Chapel choir
Protestant Music
bullet Germany
bullet The chorale was the most important new musical contribution of the Lutheran Reformation
bullet Chorales at first were monophonic, then set in simple 4-part harmony with chorale melody in the uppermost voice
bullet France
bullet Biblical psalms were translated into French verse
bullet Unison congregational singing
bullet England
bullet The Anglican Church adapted many of the styles of the Roman Catholic Church
bullet The Anglican Service took the place of the Catholic Mass
bullet Anglican chant was largely based on Catholic plainsong
bullet English text was used in place of Latin
bullet Metrical organization was given to the melodies





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