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Renaissance Sacred Music. Renaissance Style. Golden age of a cappella style imitative polyphony harmony: fuller chords, 3rds and 6ths carefully controlled dissonance duple meter Early Renaissance (1450–1520) Belgium , northern France: Josquin des Prez

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renaissance style
Renaissance Style
  • Golden age of a cappella style
    • imitative polyphony
    • harmony: fuller chords, 3rds and 6ths
    • carefully controlled dissonance
    • duple meter
  • Early Renaissance (1450–1520)
    • Belgium, northern France: Josquin des Prez
  • Later Renaissance (1520–1600)
    • Italy: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
josquin and the motet
Josquin and the Motet
  • Josquin des Prez and the Motet Josquin des Prez (c. 1450–1521)
    • northern French composer
    • Italian court positions; papal choir in Rome
    • humanism: expressive harmony, serene melodies
    • sacred and secular compositions
  • Listening Guide 6: Josquin, Ave Maria . . . virgoserena (Hail Mary . . . gentle virgin) (1480s)
    • sacred Latin motet
    • four-voice, a cappella choir
    • rhymed strophic prayer to the Virgin Mary
    • varied combinations of voices and textures
the renaissance mass
The Renaissance Mass
  • Ordinary, fixed portion, set to music
    • Kyrie
    • Gloria
    • Credo
    • Sanctus
    • Agnus Dei
  • Cantus firmus (fixed melody)
    • entire mass based on one melody
    • Gregorian chant or popular song
the reformation and counter reformation
The Reformation and Counter-Reformation
  • Reformation: Protestant Revolt
    • Martin Luther (1483–1546): Ninety-Five Theses, 1517
      • Augustinian monk
      • excommunicated by Catholic church
    • mass in vernacular
    • hymns sung communally
the reformation and counter reformation1
The Reformation and Counter-Reformation
  • Counter-Reformation: Catholic church response
    • recapture loyalty of people: accessible music
    • Council of Trent (1545–1563) concerns
      • embellishments to Gregorian chant
      • objected to certain instruments in church
      • use of popular songs in Masses
      • secular spirit in sacred music
      • irreverent attitude of church musicians
      • complex polyphony obscured the text
    • Council favored pure vocal style
      • simplicity, clarity
      • respected integrity of sacred texts
      • encourage piety
palestrina and the pope marcellus mass
Palestrina and the Pope Marcellus Mass
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525–1594)
    • Italian composer, organist, choirmaster
    • worked at St. Peter’s in Rome and Sistine Chapel Choir
    • mostly sacred compositions; over 100 Masses
    • pure, a cappella, vocal polyphony
palestrina and the pope marcellus mass1
Palestrina and the Pope Marcellus Mass
  • Listening Guide 7: Palestrina, Pope Marcellus Mass, Gloria (1567)
    • six-part, a cappella male choir
    • monophonic opening
    • homorhythmic and polyphonic textures follow clear declamation of the text
    • full, consonant harmony
    • Syllabic nature makes text easier to understand
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