History of Western Music Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural

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History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
LECTURE 9:
THE RENAISSANCE (CA. 1450-1600): HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL BACKGROUND
Following the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, there was an increased move
of Greek scholars to the West who brought with them books and knowledge of Antiquity
that had been largely forgotten in the Middle Ages. Largely for this reason, many scholars mark the middle of the fifteenth century as the beginning of the Renaissance period.
(Scholarship today identifies as many as three (even four) eras of medieval (during the
Middle Ages) Renaissance, where there was an increased interest in the values, scientific
research and literature of Antiquity.)
The Siege of Constantinople (painted 1499)
Renaissance means “rebirth” (of the values of Antiquity). It was an era of human creativity and of increased interest in secular issues. In general during the Middle Ages, people’s thoughts were more concerned with religion and the here-after (what happens after
we die), while Renaissance men relied on human reason to shape the present reality. In
art, painters turned from the predominant representation of symbolic matter and stereotypic depiction of humans to depicting reality, with an interest in linear perspective and in
actual persons, while also they considered the nude human body as an object of beauty,
similar to the statues of Ancient Greece and Rome.
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History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
Leonardo da Vinci represents a typical Renaissance man: painter, sculptor, architect,
engineer, scientist and musician. He took a great interest in perspective and preferred to
show nature in a realistic way rather than an as idealized image. He painted real human
beings and liked to show the beauty of the human body, even when depicting sacred topics, often taking his themes from the Old Testament (David) or from antiquity.
Leonardo da Vinci: Mona Lisa The Vitruvian Man
model for a flying machine
By the15th and 16th centuries, the influence of the Catholic Church had weakened
through in-fights (f. ex. as many as three popes competing for power at times) while the
lives of popes and of much of the clergy were lavishly expensive and extravagant (f. ex.
even though they were not allowed to marry, many priests, even popes had children). The
cost for this was covered by selling “tickets to heaven”, and by heavy taxes. People’s
faith had further been weakened by natural disasters, such as the Bubonic plague that
raged in the mid-14th century (ca. 1350) and killed a third of Europe’s population in just
two years, and by the Hundred-Years-War that had ravaged Europe 1337-1453.This situation led to protests and eventually to the protestant reformation by Martin Luther
(1517). From then on, the Catholic Church had a competitor in the Christian world.
Martin Luther, copy of a hymn by M.L.
It was an age of scientific advances with innovations that changed society, (the introduction of gun powder in the mid-1400s changed warfare and lead to the end of the Age of
Chivalry) and trade (the compass made travel safer and led to extended explorations, by
for example Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan).
29
History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
The printing press spread books that had previously been available mostly only in monasteries and their libraries. By 1450 a book was still a rarity, very expensive and owned
by few, by 1500 some 15 to 20 million (!!) copies of about 40 000 editions had been
printed in Europe. Adapting the press for the printing of music fostered musical literacy
among the nobility and the rising middle class.
The increased availability of music affected the professional opportunities for musicians, performers and composers, who now could be hired by a rich merchant who
wanted to teach his children. Now, learning was no longer monopolized by the church,
the nobility saw education as a status symbol and hired scholars to teach their children.
Universities spread and the rising middle class of merchants and skilled craftsmen took
pride in education. Art and music were considered as raising the social esteem and cultural prestige. Every educated person was expected to be trained in music and this was
the beginning of the phenomenon of amateur musicians. Music became a favorite past
time, not just to be listened to, but to be actively performed.
Musicians still worked in churches, courts and towns. The pope’s choir numbered 10
singers in 1442 and 24 in 1483. Courts generally employed between 10 to 60 persons and
included singers as well as instrumentalists. The court music director wrote secular music
for entertainment and sacred music for the court chapel. Traveling noblemen often
brought their musicians along. Musicians enjoyed higher status and pay than ever before;
they could be instrumentalists or singers, and were employed by the church, the state or
noblemen, as teachers, instrument makers, composers, choir directors, music printers, etc.
Shakespeare’s plays are full of stage instructions for music and his plays are full of beautiful tributes to it.
Many leading composers of the Renaissance came from the Netherlands (Flanders, flemish), an area that now includes Holland Belgium and northern France, but also Germany,
England and Spain were musically active centers
Words and music: As in medieval times, vocal music was more important than instrumental music. The purely vocal “a capella” style flourished: in sacred music instruments were still somewhat rare, in secular music instruments could either replace or
accompany voices. Some purely instrumental music was beginning to be written especially for lute and for keyboard. There was a new interest in depicting feelings and emotions through music, which had not been existent in medieval times. Word-painting:
“descending from heaven” set to a descending line, “running” to fast repeated notes, etc.
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History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
Still, Renaissance music feels and sounds calm and restrained to us. Emotions are expressed in a balanced, moderate way.
Texture: Renaissance music is chiefly polyphonic with several voices of equal melodic
interest. Overlapping phrases lead to a continuous fabric of sound, imitation was frequently used and there were few strong cadences. But Homophonic texture appears
as well, especially in light music and dances. There developed different registers for the
higher and lower voices, such as the “bass” register.
Modal harmony: We are starting to see that the bass line has a function different from
the upper voices as it becomes the foundation of harmony. In general, because more attention is paid to the vertical element and to the interrelation of all the voices than in the
Middle Ages, there are richer harmonies and harmonic progressions. We call this modal
harmony, since the church modes were still the predominantly used scales (these are not
yet the tonal [major-minor] harmonic progressions you tend to learn in harmony classes).
Cantus firmus was still used, but now even a popular song could be used for this purpose.
Notation, rhythm and meter: note length can be individually assigned to each note
since the late Middle Ages (Francis of Cologne), syncopation and duple meters are used.
So there is increasingly more rhythmic freedom, but more of a gentle flow than a strong
beat. There is less an emphasis on the alternation of strong and weak accents (meter); but
rather a continuous texture through the overlapping of phrases.
The main forms are (still) the polyphonic Mass and the motet (both in scared and secular style), however, it has changed to a style called cantilena, where the uppermost
voice carried more prominence than in the complicated polyphonic textures of earlier motets, which results in a more homophonic texture with emphasis on melody and accompaniment. Motets are no longer poly-textual.
Important Renaissance composers to be covered are:
Guillaume du Fay (1400s), Franco-flemish
Gilles Binchois, (1400s), Franco-flemish
John Dunstable, (early 1400s), English
Josquin des Prez (ca. 1440-1520), Franco-flemish
Carlo Gesualdo, (late 1500s to early 1600s) Italian
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (late 1500), Italian
Claudio Monteverdi (mid-1500s to mid-1600s), Italian.
31
History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
LECTURE 10
RENAISSANCE SACRED MUSIC
Guillaume du Fay (c. 1397 – 1474) studied in Italy and worked in France. He wrote
masses, motets, hymns, and secular songs in French and Italian. Notably, he composed at
least nine complete polyphonic settings of the mass, the most famous of which is based
on the popular songs, L’homme armée (The Armed Man).
Guillaume du Fay, Se la face ay pale: Ballade and Gloria from mass of same name
[Workbook chapter 29] At this time, composers not only used plainchant melodies, but also
melodies form other, even secular compositions as cantus firmus. This composition from the
1450s uses du Fay’s own ballade (through-composed, rather than in the usual ballade form of
AAB!) by changing the note values of the tenor, the melody of the ballade is hidden somewhat. We can hear a somewhat distinct character for the individual voices. NAWM CD 2, 19 &
20
PLAY BALLADE Page 110 NAWM
PLAY GLORIA Page 111 NAWM – Compare to the Gloria of the Medieval times
Also wrote Secular Music – PLAY LISTENING EXAMPLE “RESVILLES” Page 105 NAWM
Guillaume Dufay (left) with Gilles Binchois
One of the greatest composers of the motet was the Franco-flemish composer Josquin
Desprez (des Pres, ca 1440 – 1521). He spent much of his life working in Italy, only lat
in his life he returned to his native France. Josquin wrote at least 100 motets, 17 masses
and many secular pieces. The sacred motet in the Renaissance became a form with a
single Latin text for use in masses and other religious services, sometimes based on a
cantus firmus. Josquin’s predecessors of the Middle Ages had been preoccupied with the
technical challenges of counterpoint, but Josquin moved it to a higher level: to have
counterpoint express emotions.
32
History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
PLAY LISTENING EXAMPLE KYRIE AND CREDO
– Page 133
–
Josquin des Prez: Masse pange lingua: Kyire and Credo. [Workbook chapter 32]
This mass is based on the melody of the hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi. Josquin based all
the movements of the mass on this hymn, to give unity to the entire piece. NAWM CD 2,
33-38
Josquin Des Prez
The Reformation (around 1520) of Martin Luther (1483 -1546) spurred the development of the chorale, which is basically a strophic hymn sung by the entire congregation
in vernacular (spoken) language. It replaced Gregorian chant in importance and use,
both during church services and as basis for other compositions (Johann Sebastian
Bach wrote beautiful chorale preludes)
The protestant reformation provoked in the Catholic Church the Counter-reformation, a
movement to reform the Catholic Church and to clear its tainted image. The changes that
were implemented affected also the music of the church services. During the Council of
Trent the Catholic Church decided on recommendations for a purely vocal style that
would respect the integrity of the text, avoid virtuosity and encourage piety. Such
changes were considered necessary, because sacred music had become rather complex
with the many-voiced polyphonic compositions that had developed in the late Middle
Ages and Early Renaissance. Compositions were often also heavily ornamented by
(mostly improvised) trills and appoggiaturas and other types of added notes. Therefore,
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History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
there had been accusations that the music had become too much concerned with virtuosic
and un-pious (!) display of the performers’ skills, rather than with devotion and praise of
God.
A composer that was able to answer to these demands beautifully was Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 – 1594). He was an organist and choirmaster at various churches in Rome. Palestrina wrote over 100 masses, the most famous of which is the Mass for
Pope Marcellus with six voice parts, (soprano, alto, two tenors and two basses).
PLAY LISTENING EXAMPLE _ p. 230 - CREDO
Giovanni di Palestrina: Pope Marcellus Mass: Credo and Agnus Dei, [Workbook
chapter 47] Notice homophonic sections that help to make the words better understood. Notice that he does not use all the voices much of the time (except for important sections) other
times different voice groups answer each other, which causes color changes and increases the
variety of sounds. NAWM CD3 # 32
LECTURE 11
SECULAR MUSIC OF THE RENAISSANCE
Printing from movable type, known in China for centuries, was perfected by Johann
Gutenberg in Germany around the year 1450. About 1473 movable print was first used
for liturgical books with plainchant notation. Books of polyphonic music (mostly chansons) were first published by Ottaviano Petrucci around 1500 in Venice. By 1523 he
had published 59 (!) volumes (including reprints) of vocal and instrumental music. Initially, individual parts were published separately and a whole set of parts was needed to
perform the piece. The earliest printed ensemble score (with all parts on one page) appeared in 1577. By then there were centers for printing in Venice, Rome (Italy), Nuremberg (Germany), Paris, Lyons (France) and Antwerp (Netherlands). Printed music in general was cheaper than manuscripts (yet still expensive enough), and more accurate. It
made more music available “internationally” (also music from distant areas) and encouraged music making among both amateur and professional groups.
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History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
In the Renaissance contemporary poetry was often set to music, a development that
eventually lead to the development of opera in the Baroque era.
French Chanson: In France and Burgundy the Chanson was the favored genre. Usually written for three (in Paris later for four voices), light and fast with lively rhythms, the
lower parts were often performed by instruments. Set to the courtly love poetry of the
French Renaissance, it was still composed in the fixed forms of the Middle Ages, the
virelay, the ballade and the rondeau. Important composers were Johannes Ockeghem,
Gilles Binchois (c. 1400-1460) and Guillaume du Fay (c. 1397 – 1474).
Gilles Binchois: Chanson in Rondeau form De plus en plus [Workbook chapter 30]
notice the repeated sections reflective of fixed form, (you do not need to know more detail).
NAWM CD 2 # 26, pg 121
PAGE 121 NAWM – PLAY LISTENING EXAMPLE
The madrigal: In Italy the madrigal was the most important genre in the sixteenth century and it made Italy the leader in music for the first time in European history. An aristocratic form that flourished at small courts among cultivated amateur musicians, its texts
included many expressive words that gave room for word painting. Love and unsatisfied
desire were popular topics, but not the only ones. They included humor, satire, political
themes and scenes and incidents of city and country life. We can learn much about Renaissance thought and feeling from these texts. The madrigal was through-composed
with no refrains or repeated sections and rather elevated and serious in character. Initially written for mostly four voices, later on five voices were most common, while six
voices also occurred, even more. Each part was intended for one singer who could be
accompanied or replaced by an instrument. (At times, only the top part was sung accompanied by instruments.) Initially, the main interest was to give pleasure to amateur
performers without much virtuosic display. More and more, words and music were expressively linked and texts were taken from famous poets, such as Petrarch. Often, they
reach a tension climax in the last few lines of the poem. Increasingly, composers such as
Orlando di Lasso or Carlo Gesualdo employed chromaticism for expressive purposes.
In the late phase of their flourishing, madrigals were characterized by rich chromatic
harmonies, dramatic declamation, vocal virtuosity and expressive word painting.
Cipriano de Rore: Madrigal “Da belle contrade d’oriente”. NAWM CD 2 # 58
PLAY LISTENING EXAMPLE – p. 166 NAWM WORD PAINTING
On of the main composers of madrigals was the Italian Claudio Monteverdi (1567 –
1643). He published eight books of madrigals that show the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque styles. Monteverdi published five volumes with collections of
madrigals in the polyphonic style of the late Renaissance and another three in the homophonic style of the early Baroque. Monteverdi is also well known for his operas, scherzi
musicali (musical jokes), canzonettas, masses, and motets. One of his madrigal books
was intended for the famous Concerto Delle Donne (Ensemble of Ladies) at the court of
Ferrara.
In Germany the favourite genre was the Lied (Heinrich Isaac) and in Spain the villancico (Juan del Encina).
35
History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
Instrumental dance music spread through the printing presses of f.ex. Antwerp, Venice
and Paris. It was written both for solo instruments and ensembles. Often, popular chansons and madrigals were simplified and played, rather than sung to accompany dancing.
Instruments were still left unspecified. Outdoor performance used shawm and sackbut
(oboe and trombone), indoor performance called for softer sounds, like recorders and
strings. Rhythm instruments were not indicated but improvised. Collections were published of compositions and transcriptions for lute and keyboard instruments, such as the
clavichord and harpsichord. Still, the seeming increase in instrumental music (as more
and more was printed) does not accurately reflect the practice, because instrumental music had simply been improvised before. Also, the printed versions do not exactly show
how the music sounded, as performers routinely improvised ornaments and embellishments to the written lines. The general style of instrumental music is still closely
linked to vocal styles.
Popular Dance types were the stately (slow) pavane, the saltarello (jumping dance), the
gaillard (more vigorous than the saltarello), the allemande. The ronde was less courtly,
a circle dance performed outside.
FROM RENAISSANCE TO BAROQUE
Polychoral music in Venice at the Basilica of St. Mark (which was influenced by Byzantine architecture with many balconies and resonant acoustics) was performed in antiphonal style: “Stereo” effects were achieved by placing two organs and several choirs at different places throughout the church. Use of strings and winds and their conscious juxtaposition (specifying instruments for individual parts) intensified the effect of dazzling
colors and elaborate splendor, first indications of dynamics. This trend was part of the
movement towards the opulent and dramatic Baroque Period.
Giovanni Gabireli (1557 – 1612) was choirmaster at St. Mark’s cathedral. His style
moved from predominantly polyphonic to homophonic, in order to deal better with the
acoustic requirements of poly-choral writing. This also made the words more understandable. He was the first composer to indicate dynamics in music and among the first to
specify instruments for the different parts, made full use of the dynamic contrasts inherent in using and alternating wind and string ensembles as in the sonata pian’ e forte.
He also published a book of Sacrae Symphoniae (sacred symphonies).
Gabrielli: Grand Concerto In ecclesiis,
NAWM CD 4#28 (YOU TUBE EXAMPLE) – PAGE
330 NAWM
Gabrielli Brass Music LISTENING EXAMPLE
36
History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
LECTURE 12
EXAM 1: IMPORTANT TERMS
Below are the terms you should look up in your lecture notes in order to prepare for your
exam. In addition, you should read the notes once again (or twice, if you have not done so
in the past). Just reading this document and “sort of knowing what it is about” will probably not be enough to pass.
General features
Types of texture (monophonic, homophonic, polyphonic)
Definition of rhythm, melody,
Musical form, examples
Instrument families and examples
Polyphonic devices: inversion, retrograde, inverted retrograde (retrograde inversion)
augmentation, diminution, imitation, sequence.
Middle Ages 450 - 1450
Plain chant / Gregorian chant (texture, rhythm, melodies’ range and motion; Syllabic,
neumatic, melismatic setting; Direct, responsorial, antiphonal performance; A capella
style, church modes)
Origin of the term Gregorian
Mass: liturgy (the order of acted, spoken and sung events in a church celebration) Proper
(it changes according to church calendar), Ordinary (it stays the same every mass: Kyrie,
Credo, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) celebrated by the whole congregation
Divine Office celebrated mostly by clergy
Troubadours, trouveres, minnesinger (mostly noble performers), chansonniers (collections of their compositions); Jongleur, minstrels: socially outcast, travelling performers
37
History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
Conductus, Chanson de Geste (Song of Roland)
Instrumental music: Estampie (“stomping dance”) indoors, outdoors instruments, organs,
strings, recorders, psaltery
Development of polyphony:
Counterpoint: literally means “note against note”: a set of rules for writing polyphonic
music, it determines what intervals can be used horizontally (in the melody, f.ex. a leap
up has to be followed by a motion down) and vertically (between the individual voices,
f.ex. preferably parallel fifths in the Middle Ages, but no parallel fifths in the Baroque)
details of counterpoint rules changed over time!!)
In the 800s first mentioning of singing in more than one voice (musica enchiriadis)
Around 1000 Guido of Arezzo, Guidonian hand, solfege syllables, mutation (= change of
mode)
Winchester Troper: collection of organum in neumatic notation (showing only the contour, without exact pitch)
Around 1100: treatise “How to Make Organum”
Cantus firmus, tenor, parallel, contrary, oblique motion, what intervals allowed?
Florid organum, Notre Dame School, Paris, Leonin, Perotin (around 1200), three- and
four-part compositions
Development of notation (neumatic notation around 900, then gradually more and more
lines, square notes, two clefs), development of rhythm and its notation (rhythmic modes,
Franco of Cologne around 1280 with notation of relative note length)
Discant style: moving in similar speed and rhythm, note against note
Medieval Motet: three-part composition different texts (polytextual, polylingual).
Ars nova (1300s), Philippe de Vitry, Guillaume de Machaut (use of thirds, of duple
subdivision, importance of expression over following-the-rules) fixed forms with repeated sections, isorhythmic motet (with sophisticated melodic and rhythmic patterns).
Renaissance 1450 - 1600:
Humanism, scientific advances (gunpowder = end of chivalry, printing press = music literacy, compass = rise of merchant and middle class – rise of interest in education), music
printing: Petrucci in Venice
Music: Mostly polyphonic texture, modal harmony (at first little interest in relationship
between added voices, then gradually developing interest in vertical relation between all
the different voices), overlapping phrases, few cadences that are mostly using octaves/unison, different levels / pitch register of voices (like soprano, alto, tenor, bass),
(remember: in the early Middle Ages voices would be on the same level and could cross
over, the “lower” voice singing higher at times.)
Sacred forms: Renaissance Motet in cantilena style (melody and accompanying voices),
polyphonic Mass
Reformation, Martin Luther (1517): chorale (versed songs sung by the whole congregation, replaced chant in protestant services)
38
History of Western Music
Lecture 9: Renaissance Cultural Background
Counter-reformation : Council of Trent: purely vocal style, understanding of text, more
homophonic, less virtuosic, Giovanni Pierluigi di Palestrina (1500s)
Secular forms: Madrigal, through composed (not verses); composers: Carlo Gesualdo
(late 1500s), very chromatic, many voices (up to ten); Claudio Monteverdi (late 1500s
to early 1600s): published eight books of madrigals show change of style from Renaissance to Baroque
Chanson: Gilles Binchois, Guillaume Dufay,
secular and sacred motet: Josquin Desprez (Des Prez) (1400s)
Word painting / text painting
England: popular style with parallel sixth chords (a second voice moves a sixth below the
melody and another voice is improvised at a fourth below the melody): fauxbourdon
(sweet sound, consonant),
Use of instruments: still unspecified, dance forms
Giovanni Gabrieli: use of instrument choirs for color, use of dynamics, “sonata pian
e’forte”, poly-choral with antiphonal performance, homophonic, (in the cathedral of
Venice with many balconies = stereo effect) “Sacred Symphonies”.
Look at employment opportunities for musicians, amateur musicians
39
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