Sunday, March 23, 2014

Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Music

I. Medieval Period 450 CE - 1450 CE

Music was strongly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church which dominated many aspects of Medieval feudal society. 
a. characteristics of Medieval Sacred (religious) music

Monophonic music single melody sung by soloist or unison choir.

Plainsong: music with no strict meter or accompaniment sung by a single voice or unison choir.
Parallel organum: two voice parts sing the same melody a perfect fourth or fifth higher than the other.
Gregorian Chant was named for Pope Gregory, leader of the Roman Catholic Church from 590 - 604.

"Hymn to St. John the Baptist" c. 1000CE

Score: written notation
Neumes: the very early attempts at writing notes. Neumes were marked over or under the words to show how high or low to sing each word.

Guido of Arezzo (991 CE -1033 CE) developed the first system of staff notation using a four line staff. He invented solmization which was used to help memorization of pitches through syllables.
It is the earliest version of "Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do". The difference is that Guido used "ut" instead of "do" and did not use "ti".

b. Secular Music (non-religious) was music meant for social occasions that involved singing and dancing.

Troubadours were poet musicians who were very popular from the 12th to 14th centuries for entertaining the palaces of feudal lords. Their music shared news and told stories that were comedic and romantic.
Prendes i garde (Be on your guard) by Guillaume d'Amiens, the late 13th century troubadour.
Take care, lest anyone see us
If someone sees us, tell me.
It's just there in that wooded grove.
Take care lest anyone see us.
The pleasant looking lass was looking after the animals,
"Charming brunette, I would like to meet with you"
Take care lest anyone see us,
If someone sees us, tell me.
Prendes i garde uses a 13th century poetic form known as a rondeau in which lines repeat throughout the text of the poem. 
The instruments double on the vocal part playing the melody, not harmony. Thus the piece is monophonic.

II. The Renaissance 1450-1700 CE
The Renaissance was a period of rebirth and revival of human creativity and the ideas or secularism and humanism took center stage with the great thinkers of the time such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Raphael.
a. Renaissance Sacred Music
Motets: polyphonic choral compositions based on sacred texts.
Mass: an extended work of 5 sections, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.
Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina (1525-1594 CE) used counterpoint in his Masses which is polyphonic harmonic texture. 
Kyrie from  Pope Marcellus Mass
Palestrina, 1525 - 1594

b. Renaissance Secular Music
Madrigals : non-religious vocal works in several parts (usually 5)
Michael Praetorius (1571 - 1621 CE) German church musician who wrote sacred hymns and motets, but also secular madrigals, songs, and dance tunes.
"La Bourree" from Terpsichore (1612) 
 1st version uses the original instruments of the time, shawms and krummhorns.
2nd version uses modern instruments because the original instruments are not readily available. 
Instruments that  performed the original version of "La Bourree"
Michael Praetorius (1571 - 1612 CE)

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