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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