Renaissance and Josquin Desprez Essay

Submitted By kaylala98
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Pages: 4

“Renaissance” meaning “rebirth” was a period in European history of great social and cultural change filled with plenty of imagination and creativity. Beginning in Italy, the Renaissance generally spanned from around 1400 to 1600, having a huge impact on Ancient Greece and Rome. It is known as the dawn of the early Modern Era. Many changes have been made during this era to revive the interest in the values of the human being. The three major changes in the Renaissance were: new focus on individual achievement, greater focus on the daily world rather than on the spiritual afterlife, and the coming together of diverse cultures facilitated by easier travel and spread of printed materials. Art has taken a great importance as most of the Renaissance art was reflected on the lives of the individual. Artists used different ways of portraying art concentrating on perspective and three-dimensional representation with more contrast in colour and lots of details. Renaissance architecture was also developing a new style as columns and rounded roofs were replacing the old spiky look of the medieval architecture. Science took an impressive peak for new discoveries and inventions especially in physics and astronomy. However, the printer invention in 1450 was revolutionary. It permitted the growth in the number of books and impacted the spread of scientific knowledge including the growth of internationalism. As for religion, Christianity was being explored and the Protestant movement, known as the Reformation was begun by Martin Luther in 1517, and the Anglican movement was founded by King Henry VII in 1538. Music had a tremendous part during the Renaissance. Most people were able to read music and play an instrument or sing. The development of printing influenced the world of music and made it possible for musicians to express themselves on the pages. Compared to music in the medieval era, there were multiple changes in range, rhythm, harmony, form and notation. The styles of songs were divided in three categories: liturgical music, motets and secular songs. New musical styles were introduced, one of which is called imitation which is the melody being performed in a polyphonic way. Phenomenal composers were rising including Palestrina and Josquin Desprez. The Renaissance is now a period in history that will always be remembered and celebrated. It must have been such an exciting time in which to live, in fact, some of the most famous people today were recognized including Leonardo Da Vinci and William Shakespeare for their incredible works.
Josquin Desprez born around 1400-1521 in northern France, was the most famous European composer during the Renaissance. He was the central figure of Franco-Flemish School. Desprez was the first to perfect polyphonic vocal music during his lifetime. He incorporated beautiful sounding devices into his compositions and took them to rich new levels where the technique of imitation was clear and flexible. Desprez composed music for many masses and was also recognized for writing motets and secular songs.
One of Josquin Desprez’s most famous compositions was Kyrie from the Pange Lingua Mass. The date of this composition is ca. 1520. He used the musical idea of an old plainchant however, using his own ideas to create a unique piece that was admired by many. Josquin used all the four standard parts: sopranos, altos, tenors and basses to create musical phrases. This piece is used for mass and unlike a typical chant; it has more movement in the rhythm. He…