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Unit IV: The Renaissance. Chapter 16 Renaissance Secular Music. Music in Court and City Life. Courts entertained by professionals, often employed as servants The emerging merchant class indulged in music making, often using the lute to accompany themselves Women emerged as performers.

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Unit IV: The Renaissance

Chapter 16

Renaissance Secular Music


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Music in Court and City Life

  • Courts entertained by professionals, often employed as servants

  • The emerging merchant class indulged in music making, often using the lute to accompany themselves

  • Women emerged as performers



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The Chanson

  • Favored by Burgundian and French courts

  • Usually 3 voices, with one or more of the lower voices instrumental

  • Texts of courtly love (unrequited)


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The Chanson

  • Formes fixes give the chanson its form

    • rondeau

    • ballade

    • virelai


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Instrumental Dance Music

  • Period of explosion of instrumental music

  • Types

    • Pavane - slow, ceremonial

    • Salterello - fast, vigorous

    • Galliard - Even faster, French

    • Allemande - Moderate duple

    • Ronde - Round dance from outdoor celebrations


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Susato: Three Dances

  • Example of a Ronde written in 1551

  • Binary Form (2 sections, each repeated, A-A-B-B)

  • See Listening Guide 8, pp. 99-100 (CD 1/38-41)


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The Italian Madrigal

  • Courtly secular music

  • Wide variety of emotions expressed

  • Text painting

  • Instruments often doubled or substituted for voices

  • At first aristocratic entertainment, later a vehicle for virtuosity


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Claudio Monteverdi

  • 1567-1643

  • Court composer to the Duke of Mantua 1601-1613

  • Choirmaster of St. Mark’s in Venice 1613-1643


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Monteverdi’s Madrigals

  • Published 8 books of madrigals between 1587 and 1643 which span his career and connect the Renaissance with the Baroque

  • Expressive word painting

  • Rich chromatic harmonies

  • Monteverdi’s madrigals represent the form at it’s most mature stage; See Listening Guide 9 pp.102-103 (CD 1/29-31)


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Ecco mormorar l’onde

  • Second Book of Madrigals (1590)

  • Poetry by Torquato Tasso idealizes the study of nature and is written for five singers who toss their ideas about in groups of two or three until the last line.

  • Note many instances of word painting, typical of the madrigal style


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The English Madrigal

  • Musica Transalpina (1588) brought the Italian madrigal to England, texts Anglicized

  • John Farmer

    • d. 1601

    • Active in Dublin and London

    • Published his only collection of 4 part madrigals in 1599


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Fair Phyllis

  • See Listening Guide 10, p.104-105, (CD1/32-33)

  • Pastoral text

  • Alternating textures

  • Cadences on the weak beat of the measure

  • Changes to triple meter

  • Word painting


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From Renaissance to Baroque

  • Venetian Polychoral School

    • Centered in St. Mark’s Basilica


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Venetian Polychoral School

  • Antiphonal singing by 2 or more choirs

  • Homophonic

  • Concerted music


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