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Music Appreciation: The Middle Ages and The Renaissance

Understand how the church affected the development of early music.
• Spread of Christianity leads to spread of learning
• Monks and monasteries kept scholarship and
literature alive
• The arts flourish in newly established cultural
• Most artistic endeavors were inspired, encouraged, and paid for by the Church.
• Cathedrals were marvels of architecture
• Sculptures and paintings adorned the church
• Music is prevalent
Know when and how music notation developed, as well as when polyphony started to become
• Previously, all music had been passed from
generation to generation by ear
• The earliest attempts at written music come from around the eighth and ninth century
• Earliest notation was called neumes, and
described whether the melody ascended or
Know how Renaissance society was different than Medieval society?
Changes from the Middle Ages:
• Rediscovery of classic art and philosophy
• More focus on individual achievement
• More interest was shown to the physical world as opposed to the spiritual
• Growing ease of travel and the spread of printed word led to a widespread mingling of cultures
• Scholars pursued both literary and scientific studies
• The term “Renaissance Man” was coined, meaning to be highly educated
and knowledgeable in all fields
• New branches of Christianity were founded
• The Protestant Reformation began
• Anglican movement was founded when King Henry VIII refused to accept
the supremacy of the pope
• New lands were discovered, particularly North and South America

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What is imitation, and how important was it during the Renaissance?
•Imitation is a type of polyphony that evolved from late plainchant
• In imitation the opening melody is performed by different voice, entering one at a time
• The most basic form is a round, in which all the voices sing exactly the same thing in turn
• This is sometimes referred to as strict imitation
• In free imitation, only the first few notes of the melodic phrase are played by each entering voice, then the voices continue freely
What effect did the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent have on the history of music?
What composer best adapted to the new rules and ideas presented in the Council of Trent?
• The Counter-Reformation was a reform of the Catholic church, started by Paul III and the Council of Trent, as a reaction to the Protestant Reformation
• Music was discussed at the Council of Trent, and complaints were heard over how performers and composers had become too theatrical or complicated, distracting from the liturgy
• Banning polyphony was considered, but it was eventually decided that it could stay so long as the words could be heard clearly and the style was not too elaborate
Leoninus and Perotinus (aka Leonin and Perotin)
•Best remembered members of the “Ars Antiqua”
• Little is known about their biography – they were probably officials at the Notre Dame church in some capacity
• Compiled the first great collection of polyphony in the history of Western music – Magnus Liber Organi (Great Book of Polyphony)
• Leonin is older and started the collection, Perotin added to it and extended the range and scope
• Leonin is the earliest known composer (or any person to have attached their name to a musical arrangement)
Guillaume de Machaut
• French
• Some regard him as the first classical composer
• Educated at Rheims, a town in northeastern France
• Held positions in many prominent aristocratic courts
• Administrator of the cathedral at Rheims
• Most of his music is polyphonic secular songs, but also wrote some sacred music
Josquin Desprez
• French
• Career was split between northern France and the cathedrals and courts of Italy
• Was very famous during his lifetime
• Brought imitation to new heights of clarity and flexibility
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
• Italian
• Born in Palestrina, 40 miles from Rome
• Sent to Rome as a choirboy to study and sing
• Spent most of his life at Rome’s greatest musical institutions, including the Sistine Chapel, the private chapel of the pope
• Very prolific – wrote over 100 settings of the Mass, several volumes of secular songs, and more than 250 motets
Palestrina’s Music
• His style portrayed serenity, purity, balance, control evenness, and clarity
• He achieved this control through two primary elements: the structure of the individual melodic lines and the placement of dissonance
• Music is livened up with counterpoint (two or more musical lines interweaving) and homophony (block chords)
• Different points of imitation are sometimes introduced at the same time (even Josquin didn’t do this), yet the text and rhythm is very clear
Thomas Morely
• Guiding force in the development of English Madrigals
• Author of several important
textbooks and collections of music
• Was granted sole permission to
print music by the English government
• Established a style that was
followed by most other English madrigalists
• only one line is performed at a
• music with more than one line sounding
at a time
• Composing music with multiple independent lines first arose in the 10th century, and became popular around 1200
• Most early polyphonic compositions were written to celebrate major feasts
• Paris is where the most significant amount of polyphonic music was composed in the 12th and 13th centuries
• Composers from Paris who composed early
polyphonic music were were called the “ars antiqua”
• with one note for every syllable of the text
• a large number of notes sung per syllable
• with a small number of notes per syllable of the text
• Vocal music for church services from the Middle Ages
-“Gregorian Chant”
• Monophonic
• No clearly defined rhythm, and lacking strong and weak beats
• The number of singers can change, the text can be syllabic, neumatic, melismatic.
• poet-musicians who composed
songs for performance in the many small
aristocratic courts of southern France
• Most, but not all, were men
• Their primary topic was love.
Mass Ordinary
Five sections
• Kyrie
• Gloria
• Credo
• Sanctus
• Agnus Dei
• The tradition of setting these five sections to music continues to this day
• Music of a Renaissance Mass is based upon imitation
secular song
• written about nonreligious
• Favorite subjects were love, duty, friendship,
ceremony, and poetry.
• Rose to popularity in the 12th century when the
troubadours were active
• “courtly love”
liturgical music
• Most of the music that survives was designed for use in the Roman Catholic liturgy
• a musical setting of a religious text, usually in
Latin, but not traditionally associated with the Catholic liturgy and Mass
• Four voices are normally present, but is sung by a small choir rather than by soloists
• Since composers were not bound by rules set out by the Council of Trent, they wrote richer and more unusual music for motets than they did for the fixed liturgical texts of the Mass
• The music is highly expressive, with a sensitive and compelling approach to the meaning of the text
• Organum was an early polyphonic composition
• Early organum harmonized the original
monophonic plainchant
• Later, one voice would slow down the original
plainchant to allow a second voice to floridly sing above it
• Note the difference between the original and
organum versions of “Alleluia pascha nostrum”
secular vocal pieces for a small group of singers, usually unaccompanied

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Music Appreciation: The Middle Ages and The Renaissance
Understand how the church affected the development of early music. • Spread of Christianity leads to spread of learning • Monks and monasteries kept scholarship and literature alive • The arts flourish in newly established cultural centers • Most artistic endeavors were inspired, encouraged, and paid for by the Church. • Cathedr
2021-02-24 03:18:25
Music Appreciation: The Middle Ages and The Renaissance
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