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The Renaissance Music Period covers the time from c.1400 – 1600.We are going to look at the key features of Renaissance music so you can get a good basic understanding of the era. It is used to describe an age of new discoveries and exploration from c.1400-1600.Music changed slowly, and early Renaissance music was similar to Medieval music. A lot of medieval church music had become very hard with lots of rules about rhythms and clashes of notes to make dissonances.
There were lots of other secular songs such as the chanson, canzonetta and villanelle. Music was an essential part of civic, religious, and courtly life in the Renaissance.
The rich interchange of ideas in Europe, as well as political, economic, and religious events in the period 1400–1600 led to major changes in styles of composing, methods of disseminating music, new musical genres, and the development of musical instruments.
His way of writing polyphony has been a model for that style for many centuries.
Music students still have to study “Palestrina technique” (how to compose in Palestrina’s style).
Although church music at this time is mainly polyphonic it also has homophonic passages where the voices sing the same words together. In Venice, from about 1534 until around 1600, a polychoral style developed.
Choirs were separated, singing from different parts of the church, often from galleries.The music was still polyphonic with each voice having a share of melody.Music was starting to become less modal and more tonal.These included Josquin des Prez and others from the Franco-Flemish School.The was a Roman school, to which the famous Italian Giovanni da Palestrina belonged.An important development during the Renaissance was music notation. They are useful for us because they tell us how music sounded in those days and what people thought about it.Music started to be written on a music staff with five lines.This grand music sounded beautiful in big churches such as the Basilica San Marco di Venezia.These composers are often called the “Venetian School”.Ockeghem even composed one piece in which all the parts develop from one idea which was used as a canon.In the 16th century composers started to write music with a clear beat and regular pulse.