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The Renaissance music

A) The genre of Medieval and Renaissance instrumental music (600-1500 AD)

The medieval era existed in the Middle Ages between 600- and 1500 AD. Instrumental music is oral, and the effectiveness depends on the skills of the players. The music was either categorized as the base (soft) or haut (loud). The music began as monophonic, with one melody, and, later, over the years, developed to become polyphonic. There was no printing of music, and manual copying was tedious, as it was taught and done in churches.

Renaissance is the rebirth of European cultural art in the 14th and 19th centuries. The era depicted the fall of the Roman Empire during Western Christianity and the rise of the Medieval era. The music happened in the following three stages.

  • Carolingian Renaissance- it was the era of intellectual and cultural rebirth.
  • Ottonian Renaissance- it was the era that majored in the economy and art of central and southern Europe.
  • The Renaissance of the 12th century- in this period, there were drastic and numerous socio-political and economic changes at the onset of the high Middle Ages.

The music that occurred during the above eras can be classified into three:

  1. Dance music, which gained popularity in the 16th century, is still one of the favorite music styles practiced to date.
  2. Vocal music was played using various instruments. The instruments included chansons and madrigals
  3. Settings on existing melodies

B) Renaissance motet (1450- 1600 Ad)

Renaissance music is instrumental and vocal music written during the period of 1450 -1600 AD. (renaissance period.) the music sets have two or more separate but harmonic melodies combined. The music was performed in Europe during the Renaissance era. The music uses symbols to symbolize the meaning of the song, involves printing, incorporates polyphonics, uses more than one melody, and paved the way for the dawn of new secular music. In the golden age, music was characterized by music voices alone without instrumentals, and it was known as Capella.

Renaissance music was involved in the era of humanism. The process of humanism marked the initiation of predominant European society from a religious orientation to a more secular one. Renaissance was a realization of great explorers, scientific discoveries, and amazing artistic discoveries. This was significantly influenced by the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as by writers and artworks. The philosophers brought a new era of humanization and brought the reconciliation between theological practice and the new world of scientific recoveries.

The Protestant Reformation of 1517 by Martin Luther brought denomination against the Catholic churches and teachings. Years later, this was backed up by England’s King Henry (VIII), who brought his own domination of the Anglican churches. These new churches gave rise to other sacred music, bringing a great impact on Renaissance music.

An example of the Medieval and Renaissance instruments is the three dances.

The music was one of the most popular dance collections in the medieval period. The dance was composed by Tielman Susato. It is composed of three pieces of music and was published in 1551. Susato was a music printer, instrumentalist, and prolific composer. His composition was jovial and combined perfectly with musical instruments. it was composed of the pavane, basses, galliards allemandes and shift dances. One of the pavanes, called the Mille regretz dance, had three repetitive sections and was based on the Famous Chanson dance. It is composed of four different decoders. Repetition of the sections brings out the Chanson model.

Two rods preceded the pavanes. Each pair formed a repetitive section of soft instruments. The first part started with a drum followed by a high-upper recorder and regal or reed bass. In the middle were various recorders on each repetition.

An example of a Renaissance motet was Josquin Des Prez.

This is a type of Latin motet music that gives praise to the Virgin Mary. It was a four-voice combination where the voices engaged in a low-tone dialogue, which brought out a perfect harmony in the tunes. The song was a common worship song all over Europe, and it expressed creativity in the choice of text and musical intervention.

Josquin de Prez was a great composer of inspiring motet music of the 1450 – 1521 era. His music was amazingly characterized by sweet melodies and impressive harmony and made a great impact on the humanizing era. His song Eve de Maria is a perfect illustration of how Josquin made an excellent combination of vocal textures to present emotional aspects in the text.



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