A Rebirth of Knowledge Renaissance

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Transcript A Rebirth of Knowledge Renaissance

A Rebirth of Knowledge
Renaissance means rebirth. This period saw a
rebirth in knowledge. The Renaissance was turning
from God to man. Science and the arts were
becoming more important.
• Christopher Columbus discovered America
• Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel
• William Shakespeare was writing
his famous plays
Secular (non-religious)
music was becoming more
popular. There
was a rise in instrumental and dance music.
The printing press was invented during the
Renaissance. Some people consider this to be the
most important contribution to civilization in the last
thousand years! It allowed music to be printed
quickly - before then, it had to be copied by hand.
One of the most famous people
from the Renaissance was
Leonardo da Vinci. He was
known as a Renaissance man
because he could do many things
well. He was a painter, architect,
inventor, scientist, poet, musician
and teacher.
A Cappella: The Golden Age of Singing
• The golden age of the a cappella style
• Singers sang without instruments
• Vocal music was still more important than
instrumental music
Madrigals were popular: song forms performed in
groups of four, five, or six singers. A madrigal is
secular (non-religious) music.
Madrigals were usually love songs. (Extract: Fair
Fair Phyllis
• A madrigal by the English composer John Farmer,
published in 1599 and sung a cappella style
• A polyphonic work (many musical lines of equal
• This piece is sung with 4 voices using some
imitation (the voices take turns singing the same
• Uses clever word painting
Word painting
A technique in which the composer seeks to try to
musically ‘paint’ the words of the text - the music
illustrates the meaning of a particular word. E.g. the
word ‘shake’ might be illustrated by trills or running
by descending scales.
The story of the music was often reflected in the
sound: death or sadness by a minor key and
discords, and happiness by a bright major key
and a dance-like style.
In the opening line:
"Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone"
only the soprano sings, since she was all alone.
In the next line:
"Feeding her flock near to the mountain side",
all the voices sang since it was her flock.
In the second phrase:
"Up and down he wandered…then they fell akissing"
repeats cause the elusion of ‘kissing up and down’.
The song describes a person who saw a young shepherdess
sitting alone feeding her sheep near a mountain. The other
shepherds did not know where she was at the time. Her
boyfriend, Amyntas, goes looking for her and wanders through
the hills playing hide and seek. Eventually he finds her and when
he does, they kiss.
Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone
Feeding her flock near to the mountain side.
The shepherds knew not,
they knew not whither she was gone,
But after her lover Amyntas hide,
Up and down he wandered
whilst she was missing;
When he found her,
O then they fell a-kissing
Religious music was still very important:
* Choral music was an extension of the Gregorian
chant. It was sung a cappella and in Latin
* Motets were popular (polyphonic works) with four
or five voice parts singing one religious text
Giovanni Palestrina was considered one
of the great masters of Renaissance
music. He was an Italian who wrote
mostly religious works. He wrote motets,
madrigals, and masses.
The musical mass
* An important part of the Catholic Church's
religious service
* Each part of the celebration had a different
musical number
* Sung in Latin
The order in which the music would be performed:
Kyrie (means God)
Gloria (means glory)
Credo (means creed or belief)
Sanctus (means Holy)
Benedictus (means blessed)
Agnus Dei (means Lamb of God)
Remember the Three M's: Madrigal, Motet and Mass
• a polyphonic work (has many musical lines of equal importance)
• sung with lots of imitation (the voices take turns singing the same
• performed in groups of four, five, or six singers
• secular (non-religious) music
• usually love songs
• a polyphonic work
• performed in groups of four, five, or six singers
• usually religious works
• like a motet, only longer
• follows the religious service of the Catholic Church
• sung in a very specific order: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus,
Benedictus, and Agnus Dei
• performed in Latin
• religious music
• performed in the reformed or protestant church
After the Reformation of the church, started by
Martin Luther in Germany in 1517, music for the
reformed church started to appear about 50 years
later. Listen to this example of an English anthem,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ by Orlando
Gibbons. Notice the polyphonic, a cappella style
of the composition and the imitative entries through
all the voices.
Most of the music of the Renaissance was
polyphonic, but something new was being heard.