VOCAL MUSIC IN THE RENAISSANCE ERA
SACRED MOTET IN 15TH:
• In 13th motet was based on cantus firmus, has 3 voices texture included polytextuality and often sacred and secular elements.
• In 14th developments in the motets including greater complexity in rhythm, harmony and counterpoint; yet was still on cantus firmus techniques and continued to feature polytextuality.
• In 15th the motet continued to develop and flourish as a significant genre in vocal polyphony
• In became the genre that allowed composers to experiment with new approaches to contrapuntal writing.
• Polyphonic texture
• A single, Latin text (no longer polytextual)
• Sacred genre
• Generally for 4 voices
• Imitative counterpoint, often contrasted with homorhythmic sections
• Demonstrates the new harmonic language (use of 3rd, and 6th)
JOSQUIN DES PREZ( CA 1440- CA 1521)
• Highly successful and renewed in his day, northern French (late Gothic era)
• Great master of contrapuntal techniques: canonic writing, imitative counterpoint
• Rich in emotional expression, his music embodies the humanism of his time
• Vocal settings sought to express the meaning of the text through frequent use of syllabic text setting and slower matching of musical stresses with accentuation of the text and word painting
• Modal harmonies –triadic(3rd and 6th)often spiced with dissonance.
• MOTET: close to 100, including Ave Maria….virgo serena ,Absalon, fili mi
• MASES: 18, Missa L’homme arme, Missa La sol fa re mi.
• CHANSON :over 60, El grillo, Mille regretz
• The earliest mass settings took the form of monophonic chats (Haec dies from the Gregorian Mass for Easter Sunday)
• The 12th and 13th many chants particularly the Mass Proper served the basis for Organum
• 1st complete polyphonic setting of the Mass Ordinary –Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut is the longest extant work from the Middle Ages.
• An important service in Roman Catholic Church, it includes prayers, readings from the Bible and re-enactment of the Last Supper – referred to as Holly Communion (Eucharist)
• “Mass” means go, you are dismissed.
• In the Renaissance era composers used polyphonic settings of the 5 movements of the Mass Ordinary to demonstrate their mastery of contrapuntal devices
• Composers often used secular songs as melodic sources for the cantus firmus (L’homme arme is based on a popular battle tune)
• Other devices could be linked thematically (same motive or cantus firmus might be used throughout the 5 sections of the Mass Ordinary)
• Masses could also be freely composed, based entirely on new material