Music of the Renaissance

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1 Renaissance French word that means rebirth A Period of intellectual awakening

2 A Rebirth of Classical learning Music of the Renaissance Historical Themes Rediscovery and reevaluation of writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans From feudal system to the modern state Feudal system replaced by Hierarchical State led by urban bourgeoisie or despotic nobles Changed view of the earth and the cosmos Explorers expanded Europe s view of the world Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, etc. Astronomers questioned the earth-centered view of the universe held by the church Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei

3 Musical Context Increased Interest in Humanist Learning Arts - important measure of learning & culture Renaissance man polymath Music expressive art, not science of number Printing press helped spread music rapidly Increased Patronage of Music Courts and Governments supported music Religious institutions also provided support Territorial Expansion and Increased Wealth Colonial expansion brought wealth to European cities and courts Travel enabled musical exchange creation of a more international musical style

4 Musical Style Use of four-voice choirs or groups of like-sounding instruments (consorts) Imitative or homorhythmic textures Sacred Music Older forms such as Motet and Mass continue Clearest example of International Style Secular Music New forms reflecting national trends Italian Madrigal, French Chanson, for example Instrumental Music Printing increase of amateur musicians More specific types emerged Common Features Melodies with balanced phrases Harmonies that use full triads Smooth, gentle rhythms

5 Josquin des Prez ( ) Considered the greatest composer of the Renaissance Born in France, moved to Italy Known for both Sacred and Secular Music Brilliant Text setter (fitting lyrics to music) Music became more important than the words Criticisms: Music far too difficult for church use Music masks and swells over text Josquin worked for the highest bidder Quality of music is directly related to the amount of money you paid him. Listening: Ave Maria Listening: Mille Regretz (A Thousand Regrets) Listening: Missa Pange Lingua

6 Josquin des Prez ( ) Josquin's Mille regretz - French chanson Mille regretz de vous abandonner Et d'eslonger vostre fache amoureuse, Jay si grand dueil et paine douloureuse, Quon me verra brief mes jours definer. English Translation: A thousand regrets at deserting you and leaving behind your loving face, I feel so much sadness and such painful distress, that it seems to me my days will soon dwindle away. In Modern French: Mille regrets de vous abandonner et d'être éloigné de votre visage amoureux. J'ai si grand deuil et peine douloureuse qu'on me verra vite mourir.

7 Historical Context The Reformation Forbade the sale of indulgences Martin Luther ( ) German priest and professor of theology Upset with corruption in the Church Wrote 95 Thesis (95 reasons) Nailed it to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral Excommunicated sent back to Germany, where he started his own church Lutheran Contributions: Bible translated to German so his people would not have to learn Latin Priests could get married Composed his own tunes; took secular tunes and set religious texts to them He called these Hymns Listening: A Mighty Fortress is Our God

8 Historical Context The Reformation cont. While in England. King Henry VIII Wives couldn t give him a male heir Wants divorce but the Pope wouldn t allow Kicks the Catholic Church out of England Act of Supremacy (1534) Establishes the Church of England Archbishop of Canterbury in Charge Despite multiple marriages and affairs, Henry VIII did not have a surviving male Heir (Edward VI only lived to be 15). English throne eventual was passed to Queen Mary I, nicknamed Bloody Mary Listening: Henry, Henry, Henry

9 Historical Context Counter Reformation To save the Catholic Church, a meeting was called to stop the spread of reformation (Martin Luther) Council of Trent ( ) An 18-year meeting where the priests tried to rectify all the wrongs Luther denounced them for Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina ( ) Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music Most famous 16 th -century representative of the Roman School of musical composition Emerged from the Council of Trent as the main composer of the Catholic Church Asked to fix, musically, what Luther had problems with Tried to keep the music as close to God as possible Text returned to being the most important aspect of sacred music Listening: Gloria Listening: Adoramus te Listening: Missa Papae Marcelli - Kyrie

10 Secular Renaissance Music Printing Ottaviano Petrucci ( ) Monopolized music printing for 20 years First book printed Harmonice Musices Odhecaton 96 chansons containing work of Josquin Used a triple stamp press: 1 st Staves, 2 nd Music (Notes), 3 rd words Printed the first polyphonic book using movable type Music was: Produced faster Made more available Printed with more uniform accuracy

11 Secular Renaissance cont. The Camerata experimented and tried to figure out the music of ancient Greece The Florentine Camerata ( ) A group of humanists, musicians, poets and intellectuals in late Renaissance Florence Wanted to learn about how the ancient Greeks did things Gathered to write music and poetry in the style of the ancient Greece Greatest interest was in Greek Plays (Drama) In Greek plays was a character called the Chorus: Acted as a collective voice of commentary Sing and Music used, but no record of how it sounded or was performed The idea of a story told entirely with music without talking Opera was conceived

12 Now is the month of maying, When merry lads are playing, fa la, Each with his bonny lass Upon the greeny grass. Fa la. The Spring, clad all in gladness, Doth laugh at Winter's sadness, fa la, And to the bagpipe's sound The nymphs tread out their ground. Fa la. Fie then! why sit we musing, Youth's sweet delight refusing? Fa la. Say, dainty nymphs, and speak, Shall we play at barley-break? Fa la. Music of the Renaissance Secular Renaissance cont. Thomas Morley ( ) Now is the month of maying is one of the most famous of the English Balletts, by Thomas Morley published in It is based on a text used by Orazio Vecchi in The song delights in bawdy doubleentendre. It is apparently about spring dancing, but this is a metaphor for sex. For example, a "barley-break" would have suggested outdoor sexual activity (rather like we might say a "roll in the hay"). The use of such imagery and puns increased during the Renaissance.

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