Cantus firmus: ("Fixed song") The process of using a pre-existing tune as the structural basis for a newpolyphonic composition.
Choralis Constantinus: A collection of over 350 polyphonic motets (using Gregorian chant as the cantus firmus) written by the German composer Heinrich Isaac and his pupil Ludwig Senfl.
Contenance angloise: ("The English sound") A term for the style or quality of music that writers on the continent associated with the works of John Dunstable (mostly triadic harmony, which sounded quite different than late Medieval music).
Counterpoint: Combining two or more independent melodies to make an intricate polyphonic texture.
Fauxbourdon: A musical texture prevalent in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, produced by three voices in mostly parallel motion first-inversion triads. Only two of the three voices were notated (the chant/cantus firmus, and a voice a sixth below); the third voice was "realized" by a singer a 4th below the chant.
Glogauer Liederbuch: This German part-book from the 1470s is a collection of 3-part instrumental arrangements of popular French songs (chanson).
Homophonic: A polyphonic musical texture in which all the voices move together in note-for-note chordal fashion, and when there is a text it is rendered at the same time in all voices.
Imitation: A polyphonic musical texture in which a melodic idea is freely or strictly echoed by successive voices. A section of freer echoing in this manner if often referred to as a "point of imitation"; Strict imitation is called "canon."
Musica Reservata: This term applies to High/Late Renaissance composers who "suited the music to the meaning of the words, expressing the power of each affection."
Musica Transalpina: ("Music across the Alps") A printed anthology of Italian popular music translated into English and published in England in 1588.
Odhecaton A: This set of 96 pieces published by Petrucci in 1501 is the first collection of polyphonic music printed entirely worth movable type. [A major breakthrough in the history of music printing].
Old Hall Manuscript: This mid-14th-century royal collection contains nearly 150 pieces of English sacred polyphony.
Orchesographie: The most detailed instructions on dance choreography and dance music of the Renaissance are contained in this 1588 source.
Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practical Music: An important English musical treatise published by Thomas Morley in 1597.
Successive composition- The process of writing a musical composition one layer at a time (in the Medieval and Renaissance eras, usually the tenor voice, then the top voice, then the middle voice).
Simultaneous composition- The process of considering and writing all voice parts of a musical composition at the same time, which allows for imitation, better voice leading to control dissonance, and consideration of a fundamental harmonic bass line.
Parody/derived mass- During the 1500s, this is a Mass that uses multiple voice parts from another pre-existing work (such as a polyphonic section of a motet or chanson) as some of its main melodic material. This often includes using this borrowed polyphonic material as a "motto" theme to start each Mass movement.
Anthem: A sacred polyphonic vocal work with an English text, used in the liturgy of the Anglican church.
Carol: A name for an English two- or three-part setting of a religious poem in popular style, often with alternating solo and choral portions.
Chanson: In the Renaissance, this is a French song for several voices, which may be accompanied by instruments.
Consort Music: Music written for "consorts" of instruments, such as recorders, viols, lutes.
Cyclic Mass: In Renaissance music, a "cyclic mass" was a setting of the Mass Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) that shared a common musical theme in each movement (usually a cantus firmus), thus making it a unified whole. A famous example of a cyclic Mass is Dufay's Missa Se la Face Ay…