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Medieval Music. Church is the dominant patron Gregorian chant - most surviving MSS are monophonic -Gregory, Hildegard Polyphony used (rarely) to decorate chant - Leonin, Machaut Some secular music survives - Troubadours & trouv ères. Renaissance Music. Church continues as dominant patron

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Medieval Music

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Medieval music l.jpg

Medieval Music

  • Church is the dominant patron

  • Gregorian chant- most surviving MSS are monophonic-Gregory, Hildegard

  • Polyphony used (rarely) to decorate chant- Leonin, Machaut

  • Some secular music survives- Troubadours & trouvères


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Renaissance Music

  • Church continues as dominant patron

  • Secular princes and middle class patrons

  • Polyphony more common- ideal is 4 a cappella equal voices- imitation is frequently used- text matters (word painting used)

  • Madrigals are important secular form

  • Josquin, Palestrina, Weelkes


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The Baroque Era

  • New era, begins, c. 1600 (or earlier)

  • Northern Italy

  • Highly expressive style (continues elements of Renaissance, but often carried to extremes)

  • Monumental (large-scale designs)

  • Very ornate details

  • Dynamic & active


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The Baroque & the Arts

  • “Barroco” = misshapen pearl

  • Negative connotation of “Baroque”

  • Dynamic, active shapes

  • Extreme contrasts

  • Emotion favored over classical balance/control


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“The Baroque” – Music Traits

  • c. 1600-1750

  • Emphasis on expression

  • New texture (soprano vs. bass)

  • Basso continuo (instrumental foundation)

  • Voices & Instruments mix

  • Instrumental music now equal

  • Old style (Palestrina style) still used


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Sources of the early Baroque Style

  • Florentine Camerata – sought to recapture the expressive power of Ancient music

  • Greek Drama – included sung text

  • “Monody” – solo voice w/ accompaniment

  • Stile rappresentativo – flexible style of solo singing used on the stage

  • Two vocal styles- Recitative (recitativo = “recited”)- Aria ( = “song” or “ayre”)


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St. Mark’s Church (Venice)


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St. Mark’s (Venice) - nave


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St. Mark’s (Venice) – choir loft


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St. Mark’s (Venice) – choir loft

Sound Example:Giovanni Gabrieli - Canzon in the 7th tone for 8 parts


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Orfeo (1607)

  • 1st important opera to survive

  • Premiered at Court of Mantua (1607)

  • Libretto – based on Greek legend of “Orpheus and Euridice”

  • Total theatrical experience – singing, orchestra, acting, costumes, dancing, stagecraft, etc.


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Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

  • 1st great composer of the Baroque era

  • Composed both secular and sacred works

  • Composer of 1st important opera (Orfeo)

  • Successor to Giovanni Gabrieli at St. Mark’s (Venice)


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Monteverdi, Orfeo(YouTube excerpts)

  • Orfeo - "Toccata" and "Dal mio Permesso" (first solo) (Listening Guide, p. 120)

  • Orfeo - Dance (Act I)

  • Orfeo - Arrival of Messenger into "Tu se' morta" (Act II) (Listening Guide, p. 121)


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