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  1. Characteristics • In Renaissance music, rhythm is more a gentle flow than a sharply defined beat • Each melodic line has great rhythmic independence • Pitch patterns in Renaissance melodies are easy to sing, usually they move along a scale with few large leaps

  2. Sacred Music • The two main forms of sacred Renaissance music are the motet and the mass • Both forms are similar in style, but a mass is a longer composition

  3. The Motet • The Renaissance motet is a polyphonic choral work set to a sacred Latin text other than the ordinary of the mass • The composer that was most famous for the motet is JosquinDesprez • Deprez lived from 1440-1521 • He was a master of Renaissance music

  4. The Motet • Desprez was born in the province of Hainaut, which is part of Belgium • He sepent most of his life in Italy, serving in dukes’ private chapels and in the papal choir at Rome • In his later years he worked for Louis XII of France and held several church posts in his native land

  5. The Motet • Desprez’s compositions included masses, motets, and secular vocal music • All his compositions strongly influenced other composers and were praised enthusiastically by music lovers

  6. The Mass • The Renaissance mass is a polyphonic choral composition made up of five sections: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei • The main composer for the mass during this time period is Giovanni Pierluigida Palestrina • Palestrina was from Italy

  7. The Mass • Palestrina lived from about 1525 to 1594 • He devoted himself to music for the Catholic Church • His career was centered in Rome, where he held important church positions, including that of music director for St. Peter’s cathedral • Palestrina’s music includes 104 masses and about 450 other sacred works

  8. The Mass • The Jesuit order (1540) and the convening of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) attacked church music • The arguement was that it used secular tunes, noisy instruments, and theatrical singing • Some complained that complex polyphony made it impossible to understand the sacred texts

  9. The Mass • The council wanted only monophonic music, Gregorian chant, for the mass • The council finally decreed that church music should be composed to inspire religious contemplation, not to please the ear • The restraint and serenity of Palestrina’s works reflect this emphasis on a more spiritual music