This lesson lets you understand the material more deeply, and offers a big return for your efforts. The lesson focuses on the expansive growth of choral polyphonic music. You will discover the stylistic development of polyphonic music in the Renaissance and look more deeply at the very similar sacred motet and the secular madrigal.
What You Will Learn
After successfully completing this lesson, you should be able to · see (and hear) the development of parallel forms as sacred and secular polyphony. · see the conflict between the church motets and the secular madrigalisms. · discover the growth and importance of dense polyphonic structures. · feel comfortable with methods and resources for investigating musical topics. · have a richer experience of live performances.
Search the Internet or the library for the terms motet and madrigal to locate more information.
For additional background, look up “Renaissance music” or “history of Renaissance music” (putting it in quotation marks gives you information on the whole phrase; try different phrases, depending on your area of interest; e.g., “Renaissance instruments” or “Josquin des Prez”).
Ave Maria by Josquin Desprez – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUAgAF4Khmg
As Vesta Was Descending – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGTB1q2yEhQ
Song of the Birds (Chant des oiseaux) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-dkdgzYZbQ
The motet and madrigal claimed solid positions in society–one in the church and the other in secular situations–and imitation and word painting were of primary importance in musical composition. You should now more deeply understand how the move from monophony to polyphony was solidified in the Renaissance and led to a thickening of the multi-voice writing style in both choral and instrumental music. Through the development of notation, musical examples from this period have survived and are now available to performance and appreciation today.
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