The Renaissance Period Essay

Submitted By Aimait
Words: 693
Pages: 3

The Renaissance which means ‘to be reborn’ was a cultural movement that happened roughly from 1450 to 1600. It began in Florence, Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The Renaissance is viewed as a link between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Many people said it was the ‘rebirth’ of creativity. The music of the Renaissance period had a new depth and richness. It often consisted of several melodic lines, or tunes, played or sung at the same time, called polyphony.
In the early years of 1470 music started to be printed by printing press – this had a major effect on how music was spread, it reached a larger audience than a manuscript could and it was a lot cheaper.
The musical texture in the Renaissance was a lot different as well. Renaissance composers aimed to blend the separate strands of music together instead of building up the texture layer by layer. They worked gradually through the piece, attending to all parts at the same time. The key device used to weave this kind of texture is called imitation. Composers were becoming more interested and aware of harmony (how notes fit against each other).
During the 15th century the sound of full triads became common (triads are the root, third and fifth notes of a scale, e.g. c major the notes would be C, E, G), and towards the end of the 16th century the system of church modes began to break down entirely, giving way to the functional tonality which was to influence and take over western music for the next three centuries.
Choral music of the Renaissance was an extension of the Gregorian chant. It was sung a cappella and in Latin. Motets (a piece of music in several parts with words) were popular during this time. A motet is a polyphonic work (polyphonic is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices) with four or five voice parts singing one religious text.
The style of renaissance church music is described as choral polyphony. Homophonic which means moving in chords. Monophonic which means one melody line. Choral polyphony was intended to be sung a cappella (without instruments). The main forms were the mass and the motet. They had four parts, based on modes, but composers gradually added more accidentals. The motet is set to a sacred Latin text unlike the normal form of the mass; the mass is made up of six sections - Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei (these mean God, Glory, Creed/Belief, Holy, Blessed and Lamb of God). Both forms are similar in style, but the only difference is that, the mass is longer.
The 15th & 16th century masses had two kinds of textures that were used, monophonic and polyphonic, with two main forms of elaboration, based on cantus firmus