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to Listen these two excerpts and compare what you hear, using the following questions to guide your listening: Agnus Dei Guillaume de Machaut Born: c.1300 Died: 1377 Period: Medieval Country: France Kyrie N07792 Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina Born: 1525 Died: February 2, 1594 Period: Renaissance Country: Italy What timbres are heard in each example? Are the melodies mostly stepwise or skipwise? Are they different in each example? Which has a more regular pulse? In which are the voices more independent and unrelated to one another? In which one do the voices occasionally come together to form a chord? What purpose do you think each piece was intended to serve? This is an excerpt from a piece composed during the Renaissance Period that is frequently heard today. Listen to it, thinking about the following questions. Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone Feeding her flock near to the mountain side. The shepherds knew not, they knew not whither she was gone, But after her lover Amyntas hied, Up and down he wandered whilst she was missing; When he found her, O then they fell a-kissing. Lyrics Fair Phyllis N03088a John Farmer Born: 1570 Died: 1605 Period: Renaissance Country: England What would you call the ensemble that is performing this piece? Is there a singable melody in this excerpt? Are there clear phrases? (Can you tell where one idea ends and another begins?) Are musical ideas repeated within this excerpt? Does there appear to be a working out and development of ideas, or is there a constant stream of new ones? Is there a regular and consistent pulse? Are rhythmic ideas repeated? Does this piece appear to be free flowing or highly structured? The Renaissance Period (1450-1600) Social, Cultural, and Political Background The time period known as the Renaissance is replete with names of inventors, explorers, artists, politicians, scientists, and royal figures famous for their prolific and ground-breaking achievements in almost every area of human endeavor. Elizabeth I was born in 1533 to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (c.1507-1536). Known as the virgin queen, she never married or had children. The last of the Tudors, Elizabeth died at seventy years of age after a very successful fortyfour year reign. Elizabeth's reign is referred to as the Elizabethan era or the Golden Age of Elizabeth. Playwrights William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and Ben Jonson all flourished during this era. Gutenberg, Columbus, Magellan, Copernicus, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Martin Luther, Charles V, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I are but a few of the significant people who, despite fierce challenges to their novel ideas, brought about major changes that had enormous repercussions for centuries to come. Renaissance, a French term that means rebirth, describes the cultural, musical, and artistic developments that took place roughly between 1450 and 1600. The question is: rebirth of what? There was a resurgence of interest regarding man's place in the world. Rather than the emphasis on the spirit and the Kingdom of God that had dominated previous centuries, the Renaissance stressed individualism, humanism, and secular values. Once again, it became possible to express complex human emotions, please the senses, and enjoy life for its own sake. This period also saw the rebirth of the classics with an emphasis on Greek and Roman art and literature. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language, and the world's preeminent dramatist. He wrote approximately 38 plays and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems. His plays and poems were popular during his lifetime and are celebrated and adored around the world to the present time. His works have been translated into every major language and his plays are performed all around the world. The overpowering influence of the Catholic Church now started to be challenged by the ideas of the Protestant Reformation. Before this, man was considered a small part in the God's plan. During the Renaissance, the balance shifted, and, once again, man became the center of attention. This didn't mean, however, that people stopped believing in God. The majority of the people and the intellectual and political leaders of society remained faithful to the Christian church. It simply meant that the pursuit of worldly goods and pleasures was seen not only as enjoyable, but a positive change that helped all people to advance through pleasant pursuits. Christopher Columbus (1451-1501) Christopher Columbus, credited with discovering the New World, was a navigator and maritime explorer. Although associated with Spainthe sponsors for his discovery voyage were the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella I of Castilehe was actually born in Italy under the birth name Cristoforo Colombo. Trade continued to flourish, and huge seaports, trade routes, and merchants brought not only increased wealth to some, but also expanded the horizons of the world in which people lived. Being able to travel more easily meant that the arts could be enjoyed by more individuals. Musicians and writers began creating works that they hoped would appeal to as wide an audience as possible. During this period, secular art, and therefore secular music, flourished together with the new concept of the artist as genius. Major inventions such as movable type, the compass, and gunpowder literally changed the physical and intellectual landscape of Europe. Johannes Gutenberg (c.1397-1468) Johannes Gutenberg was a German goldsmith and inventor credited with inventing movable type printing in Europe (ca. 1450). His major work, the Gutenberg Bible, also known as the 42-line bible, has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality. Gutenberg's contributions included the design of movable type, the invention of a process for making such type in quantity the use of oil-based ink, and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the screw olive and wine presses of the period. The beginning of the musical Renaissance is a matter of debate. Some historians place it at about 1400 with the generation of Gilles Binchois, also known as Gilles de Binche or Gilles de Bins (c.1400-1460) and Guillaume Dufay (c.1398-1474). Others set the beginning with the rise of imitative counterpoint at about 1450, while still others place it around 1500 when humanism created a strong link between music and poetry. It is, nonetheless, commonly accepted that the flourishing of secular music associated with the Renaissance period occurred in the early 15th century, mainly in the Court of Burgundy. Some of the salient characteristics of the period fascination with classical antiquity, erosion of the authority of the church, burgeoning humanism, emergence of affluent urban centers, and the creation of important universitieswere manifest in the northwestern area of present-day France. The Lute Player Michelangelo Merissi da Caravaggio (1563-1610) Polyphonic Music N08803 During the Renaissance, the polyphonic experiments of the Middle Ages reached fruition. During no other time in history has polyphonic music been produced more abundantly and beautifully. Choral Music For several reasons, the Renaissance is considered the Golden Age of Choral Music. First, more music was written for chorus than at any other time in music history. Second, all of the important forms of the age (motet, mass, anthem, chanson, and madrigal) were choral music forms. Third, across Europe, instruments were still in the process of becoming standardized. It took another 150 years for the modern orchestra to start taking shape. The majority of choral music written during the Renaissance was performed a cappella, meaning without accompaniment. Choral Music N3088A Motet Chanson Madrigal N08801 N3088A N05752 N34281 N31301 Anthem Mass A cappella Nrenmass Gregorian Chant Gregorian Chant was still used as the basis of many polyphonic church compositions. The chant evolved into the tenor part. During the Renaissance, composers of sacred music continued the practice of keeping the original chant as the basis for the main melody; they called this chant the cantus firmus. The cantus firmus did not necessarily have to occupy the tenor part, although that was still the most common place for it. Gregorian Chant N0712G Polyphonic church composition N81713 Cantus Firmus Modes and Harmony N32102 Although Renaissance composers, particularly sacred music composers, continued to use church modes, they slowly started adopting modes that are equivalent to our present major and minor scales. Probably the most important development in Renaissance music, due in part to the work of Dunstable and other English composers, was giving harmony a much more important role within the composition. Modes equivalent to present major N08423 Modes equivalent to present minor N05752 Harmony N4260A Characteristics of Renaissance Music Below are some of the basic characteristics of the music. Form Mostly polyphonic, with the cantus firmus (chant melody) in the lowest voice. All sorts of imitation between the voices, some of it very complicated, is an important to organizing element. Composers often use pre-existing music and often include the entire piece within a larger composition. Compositions have a number of sections. Often, each section is the setting of only one line of a text, with rarely any repetition of music from one section to another. Repetition and contrast are used in dance forms. Melody is the most important factor in Renaissance music. Harmony and/or rhythm cannot be easily separated from the melody. Melodies, even those for instruments, are very vocal in style. The range is rarely more than one octave. Rhythm is free from strict meters, and the rhythmic phrases are generally long and overlap between the voices. Rhythms are often very complicated. Harmony is a result of the various lines sounding together, but not as a purposeful chord. Texture is mostly polyphonic, until the 16th century, when some sections are homophonic for contrast and variety. For much of the Renaissance, the human voice was the chosen timbre. Instruments may double the voices in both sacred and secular music. Timbre Melody Rhythm Harmony Texture Instruments started to be used without voices in the 16th century, particularly the organ and harpsichord. Toward the end of the 16th century, ensembles of string or wind instruments were popular with composers and audiences. The lute was the most popular stringed instrument. Tiento I - lute exam N3523A The two principal types of music in the Catholic Church, the mass and the motet, are both legacies from the Middle Ages. The Renaissance mass is a setting of the ordinary texts: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. The practice of using a cantus firmus as the basis for the mass continued, although a popular tune might be used instead of a chant melody. Often the mass became known for the particular occasion for which it was composed (for example, Palestrina's Pope Marcellus Mass, written for the Pope's premature death) or for the use of its cantus firmus in a popular song, such as Ockeghem's Missa L'Homme arm (The Armed Man). Motet Agnus DeiN4260 Kyrie Cantus Firmus N32102 The Council of Trent almost resulted in the banning all polyphonic music from the church, with some religious officials pushing for a return to chant instead. Several scholars maintain that the Pope Marcellus Mass by Giovanni da Palestrina (1525-1594) saved polyphony from being banished from the Catholic service. The Kyrie from the mass showcases the hallmarks of the style of Giovanni da Palestrina, which became the model for future generations of composers. These characteristics are: Very melodic, plainsong-like quality in individual parts Smooth sounding polyphony and homophonyThe melodic movement often suggests the shape of an arch. Long and elegant music phrases Extremely clear texture Controlled expressiveness Josquin Desprez N34281 The Catholic Church underwent a major transformation during the Renaissance. The popularity of the motet towards the end of the 15th century led an increasing number of composers to experiment with church music forms, extending the boundaries of what was acceptable, and altering the original chant to the point that it was almost unrecognizable. The career of Josquin Desprez (c.1450/55-1521) demonstrates the dominance of composers from Northern France and the Netherlands in the Renaissance. He was employed at several locations throughout his career: Milan, the Papal chapel in Rome, by King Louis XII of France, the court of the d'Estes in Ferrara, and finally in native his Cond, where he died in 1521. Josquin wrote a large number of motets. Many consider that, in this particular form, he represents the epitome of Renaissance music achievement. Ave Maria Gratia Plena Hail Mary Full of Grace N34281 Secular Music Fair Phyllis ~above In addition to being a time of great religious significance, the sixteenth century was also a period of bawdy earthiness, irreverent humor, and celebration of sensual love. The same composers who created works for the greater glory of God also wrote compositions of an entirely different character. In Italy and England, the principal form of secular music was the madrigal, which in France was called chanson, and in Germany Lied. The madrigal is one of the most representative examples of developments in vocal music. The first madrigals originated in Italy around 1530, and were designed to convey in as much detail as possible the meaning of the poem on which they were based. The 1588 publication of a volume of translated madrigals in London led to widespread adoption of the madrigal by English composers. The English madrigal was lighter, less complicated, and more humorous in style, and featured simpler melodies and harmonies. John Farmer's (15701601) Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone included in his 1599 collection, is probably one of the most well-known examples of a four-part madrigal. Although the facts of Farmer's life are obscure, he is known to have been the organist of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, and, later, to have lived in London. He is considered to be one of the most accomplished madrigalists of the English school. Renaissance musicians looked to Italy for models and inspiration. In Italy small, organized schools, referred to as Academies, led to the regular gathering and exchange of ideas between artists, poets, musicians, and the performance of new musical works. This type of activity was soon imitated throughout Europe. Music was no longer just accessible to the aristocracy and nobility, but slowly became part of the daily lives of common people. Instrumental Music The Lute The lute is one of the oldest musical instruments, dating back to around 2500 BC. Originating from the Middle East, this instrument gained in popularity amongst many cultures. The English word lute originally came from the Arabic al-oud, which literally means branch of wood. Other versions of this instrument are also known in Japan and Africa. The Japanese Shamisen is another example of a lute instrument. Up until the end of the 1700s, the lute was one of the most popular instruments in Europe. Lute music is usually written using a complex system of notation known as tabular notation or tablature, which uses numbers and letters of the alphabet to represent pitches through finger placement on the instrument's neck and frets. Renaissance instrumental compositions were often written to explore the technical and expressive possibilities of different instruments, including the lute. Typical examples of compositions written for the lute are: Ya se asienta el Ramiro Luis de Narvez N3523G Born: c.1500 Died: c.1555 Period: Renaissance Country: Spain Luis de Narvez N3523A Tiento 1 Luis de Miln Born: c.1500 Died: c.1560 Period: Renaissance Country: Spain Woodcut depicting Orpheus playing a 6-course vihuela From Luis Miln's El Maestro (1536) In these compositions, passages are played in fast, repetitive patterns designed to show off the instrument's capabilities and the player's skill. To this day, there are many societies around the world devoted to the study of the lute, including the Lute Society of America. Web resources include a brief history of the lute among other related topics. During the Renaissance, musicians became increasingly aware of the possibilities of purely instrumental music, as opposed to the use of instruments as mere accompaniment for voices. Popular instruments of this period were woodwinds (oboe and recorders of various sizes), strings (the viol family, which is the predecessor of the violin family), brass (trumpets and trombones), plucked instruments (lute), percussion, and keyboard instruments (organ, harpsichord, and clavichord). In Rodrigo Martinez, an anonymous Spanish composer combines voices, woodwind, strings, and percussion instruments. Test Yourself Keyboard instruments, especially the clavichord, harpsichord, and organ, were also popular during the Renaissance. Keyboard music began as accompaniment to vocal music and evolved to dance music. Eventually, original solo compositions of increasing complexity were created based on the dance forms. Keyboard music N3214C In the Renaissance period, instrumental ensembles were referred to as consorts, and often consisted of instruments from the same family. For example, there were consorts of recorders, consorts of viols, etc. Galliard a 5, by John Dowland (1563-1626), exemplifies a string consort. As well as being one of the most published composers of his time, Dowland's First Book of Songs or Ayres (1597) was the most often reprinted music book of its time. Dowland, who traveled extensively, was also a lutenist and singer. Many consider him among the most important and influential musicians, and possibly one of the greatest songwriters of the Renaissance. He worked in Paris and Germany, and, from 1598 to 1606, was lutenist to Christian IV of Denmark. In 1612, after many failed attempts, he was finally appointed as a lutenist in the Court of James I of England, a post he held until his death. As so many other great composers, Dowland, despite his fame, died in poverty and neglect. Galliard a 5 N07793 Giovanni da Palestrina N05743 Kyrie from Pope Parcellus Mass Giovanni da Palestrina Born: 1525 Died: 1594 Period: Renaissance Country: Italy Giovanni da Palestrina Meet Giovanni da Palestrina It is said that the Pope Marcellus Mass by Giovanni da Palestrina (1525-1594) saved polyphony from banishment from the Catholic service. The Credo from the mass showcases the hallmarks of the Palestrina style, which became the model for future generations of composers. Palestrina's 104 masses and 177 motets make him the most prolific and consistent composer of the CounterReformation. It can be said that his style embodies the archaic, dogmatic completeness of Counter-Reformation Catholicism, making him the supreme musical theologian. William Byrd William Byrd, whose sacred compositions rank among the finest ever written in England, is the first superstar among English composers. He belongs to a select group of composers who, during their own lifetime, were recognized as geniuses. His contemporaries referred to him as 'a Father of Musick' and 'Our Phoenix.' The piece Qui pass, performed here on a virginal, an instrument related to the harpsichord, shows the composer's remarkable skill. Qui pass N0604E William Byrd Born: 1540 Died: July 4, 1623 Period: Renaissance Country: England William Byrd Meet William Byrd Although remaining Catholic, a loyalty that cost him considerable trouble in times of religious persecution in England, he served as a member of the Chapel Royal, providing music for the liturgy of the Church of England and, on a more private scale, for his fellow Catholics. Following the popular fashion of the time, Byrd provided music for various groups of instruments. He frequently performed in homogenous ensembles, generally playing viols, and other bowed and fretted string instruments that were more highly esteemed than the lowly violin. Byrd's consort music, like that of all his English contemporaries, uses the forms of the fantasia, the dance forms of the stately pavan, and the more vigorous galliard. One such piece is the Galliard a 6. It is thought to be a relatively late work, and probably one of Byrd's last for the viol consort. Galliard a 6 Test Yourself Johannes Ockeghem Ockeghem entered the service of the King of France in 1452. From 1465 until his death, he was the most important musician in Europe; his passing in 1497 was universally mourned. Among those mourners was Josquin Desprez, who wrote Dploration sur le trpas De Jean Ockeghem (Deploration on the death of Jean Ockeghem) as a tribute to the late Flemish master. N4260c Agnus Dei Johannes Ockeghem Born: 1410 Died: February 6, 1497 Period: Renaissance Country: France/Belgium Johannes Ockeghem (on right, with glasses) and singers Meet Johannes Ockeghem In his masses, Ockeghem extended the range of each of the voice parts and occasionally varied the texture by including passages for only two or three voices. This shows an attention to the overall form of the piece that, at the time, was uncommon. Note the varying textures in the Agnus Dei from his Missa Prolationum. Agnus Dei from Missa Prolationum Jacob Obrecht Few details are known about the life of Obrecht, other than that he held positions at various cities throughout Europe and that he died of the plague. His surviving works include masses, motets, chansons, and instrumental pieces. Most of his masses use a cantus firmus, which appears in various ingenious ways throughout each of the sections of the mass. Obrecht, unlike Ockeghem, loved imitation between the voices. The Agnus Dei from his Missa Caput opens with a clear point of imitation between the tenor and the bass parts. Obrecht's works contain some of the finest examples of structure and form in the early Renaissance. N32107 Agnus Dei Jacob Obrecht Born: 1457/1458 Died: July, 1505 Period: Renaissance Country: Netherlands Jacob Obrecht \ The Renaissance Period (1450-1600) Carlo Gesualdo Gesualdo's madrigals contain the most extreme examples of Renaissance dissonance and chromaticism. Igor Stravinsky, one of the 20th century's most daring composers, called Gesualdo "the crank of chromaticism." While not stepping totally beyond acceptable bounds, Gesualdo's madrigals are restless and colorful. Works such as the motet O vos omnes, use an advanced form of harmony that isn't heard again until the late 19th century. After notoriously murdering his wife and her lover in 1590, Gesualdo later married a member of the d'Este family, rulers of Ferrara, strong supporters of music and the arts. Aside from his collection of madrigals, he wrote a quantity of sacred vocal music and a relatively small number of instrumental pieces. The unexpected and sudden changes of tonality, harmonic daring, and intensity of feeling of his music, have found particular favor among some modern theorists. N07428 O vos omnes Carlo Gesualdo Born: c.1560 Died: September 8, 1613 Period: Renaissance Country: Italy Carlo Gesualdo Thomas Weelkes Weelkes is the other principal English madrigal composer of the late 16th century. His madrigals, such as As Vesta was, demonstrate the same concern with overall form. Weelkes retains an element of seriousness and depth. Note the imitation in this delicate madrigal. N30888 As Vesta was Thomas Weelkes Baptised: c.1576 Buried: December 1, 1623 Period: Renaissance Country: England Madrigal by Weelkes Meet Thomas Weelkes Thomas Weelkes would neither have known much about Rome in the early 1600s, nor would he have been aware of Monteverdi's successful synthesis of old and new forms. He was a busy Church of England musician whose music, in a typically English vein, had its own sense of values and destiny according to a national temperament, one which found continental histrionics and emotional outpourings rather embarrassing. Enough changes were afoot at the turn of the 17th century, however, for Weelkes to realize that he was operating in a world of transition; he quickly took advantage of this possibility. The power of representing words and images, central to the upcoming Baroque ethos, was particularly evident in his madrigal writing. His ability to illuminate texts is evident in his exquisitely focused and atmospheric sacred madrigal, When David Heard. When David Heard Thomas Tallis N81713 Spem in alium Thomas Tallis Born: c.1505 Died: 1585 Period: Renaissance Country: England Thomas Tallis Thomas Tallis had a successful career as a church musician and composer during one of the most stormy periods in 16th century England. Although his royal service span from Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth I, he managed to avoid the religious controversies and conflicts that surrounded him constantly. Tallis wrote a significant number of Latin church music and also contributed to the reformed English liturgy, in some cases adapting earlier Latin compositions. His better-known works from the Elizabethan years include his settings of the Lamentation for the Holy Week services and the unique motet Spem in alium written for eight fivevoice choirs. It is thought that this 40-voice piece was part of a celebration of Queen Elizabeth's 40th birthday in 1573. ... View Full Document

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