Renaissance music (I): European music in the 15th and early 16th centuries

The period from about 1430-1600 is known in Western music history as the Renaissance. The word “Renaissance” originally meant “regeneration” and was first applied to the historical discipline of music. In research, it was later used in the history of culture and art. At first it referred to the historical period of the arts of painting, sculpture and architecture, but later the concept was expanded to include the history of music as well.

The term “Renaissance” at that time had two meanings. The first meaning was that the artists of the 15th and 16th centuries could no longer tolerate the medieval style of art and wanted to revive it. Ancient Greek and Roman art styles; the second meaning refers to the composers of the time, who wanted to revive the liberation of their personal ideology. Not wanting to be bound by religion again. Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, and Shakespeare are all from this period.

The 15th – early 16th century was the early stage of the development of the Renaissance, and three regions of Europe were more representative of music during this period: the music of England, the music of Burgundy, and the Flemish school.

First, English music.
After the Anglo-French War (1337-1453), a victorious England occupied much of France, and the territorial expansion allowed England’s The culture is more compatible and influential. One of the two most important characteristics of British music is its close relationship with folk music, and its love of intervals that are not in full harmony. (Third and Sixth Degrees). John Dunstable (c. 1390-1453) is the most prominent of English music’s composer, whose music was said at the time to be representative of Renaissance music, and who wrote scripture songs that embodied English music’s Features such as the scripture song “How Beautiful and Lovely Thou Art”.

II. Music in Burgundy
The House of Burgundy in France, as an ally, followed England to win the war at the time. The territory of the House of Burgundy could be called the Burgundy region, specifically what is now central France. The dukes of the House of Burgundy were very fond of music and kept many musicians in their homes to serve religious services and entertainment. These musicians in his family and in his domains were very competitive and wrote music that was so refreshing that a kind of “Burgundian” music was formed. The “Burgundians”, as they were also called, gradually spread their musical style. Two of the greatest composers of Burgundian music, Dufay and Benthoua, were born in Burgundy.

In the course of his travels, he absorbed musical styles from Burgundy, Italy, France, and England, making his music often described as “international”.

One of Dufy’s great works is the scripture song “Roses Opened Lately”, which was dedicated to the Dome of Florence. What’s so great about it? Remember the previous article about isometric rhythms, which Dufay used to create the church building structure 6:4:2:3 The rhythm of the work is based on the ratio of the “mass” to the “mass”.

Dufy also has the distinction of being the first composer to use a secular song as a “melody” for the Mass. To explain a little bit what a “cadenza” is, a “cadenza” is the lowest part of the voice in polyphonic music. Religious chants, but Dufay changed them to secular songs. It may also be asked here if it wasn’t stated earlier in the scripture song that the bottom part of the voice in religious music could already be changed to Secular music yet? Yes, there was a change, but the “Mass” was not fully formed at that time. Then one has to ask, what is the Mass, which is a religious ritual that took shape in the 14th century and is the main ritual of religion. Usually there is a relatively fixed program and music that is sung, and the music generally has five chapters and is very religious. Therefore, Dufay’s change of the definitive melody of the music used for the Mass to a secular song was a breakthrough and reflects the time when Renaissance Influence. Let’s listen to this breakthrough, the Lamb from Dufay’s “Pale Face” Mass.

III. Flemish musicians
Flemish music is like Burgundian music, in that there’s a region in Europe called Flanders, a region that gave birth to many musicians. The compositions of these musicians formed a musical style that eventually became known as Flemish music. Flanders is now a region that includes France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and the musicians of the Flemish school were generally Born later than the composers of the Burgundian school, they were mainly active from the second half of the 15th century to the mid-16th century. Because the Flemish and Burgundian schools were related backwards and forwards in time, and because the Flemish and Burgundian regions were not too far apart. Some historians also refer to these two schools of music collectively as the “Niederland School”. Flemish music is best represented by two composers, Ockeghem and Jochen.

Johannes Ockeghem (1420-1497) came to prominence after the death of Dufy. He studied early music in Burgundy and later served at several courts and churches. Ockeghem’s music is characterized by a strong emphasis on the “reverberation” of the human voice in all parts. He wrote a few works, the most powerful of which are the Masses. Sutra, let me explain why it’s called that before you listen to it, MI-MI is the first and last notes of the various chapters of the song The tones are all MI, and this tune has MI-E in C major at the first note and MI-A in F major at the end. (I can’t read and skip this part, so just listen.)

Ockegon: The Lamb’s Scripture from the Mi-Mi Mass.mp3

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Josquin des Prez (1441-1521) may be said to have been One of the most important composers of the Renaissance. Born in northern France, he traveled extensively throughout his life, and wrote a very diverse range of musical styles and works, and some consider him to be a ” He is a composer of “epoch-making” compositions. At the same time, he is a man who pays special attention to the expression of his own will and does not like to be bound by other people’s rules, which is too “renaissance”. “up. And further if in terms of his compositional contributions and breakthroughs, it is summarized in three points.

Firstly, his musical composition was very lyrical, and he introduced the concept of “lyricism”: music, like art, should be able to “draw” words.

Secondly, the composers of the late 15th century were particularly fond of “canons” (a strict imitation between two or more voices), and Jochen was a master of canons, with many variations.

For these two characteristics, let’s listen to his masterpiece, the Magnificat, to get a feel for it.

Raskan: Scripture Song “Ode to the Mother of God”.mp3

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Thirdly, Jocan wrote a particularly powerful mass, taking the experience of the masses of previous composers and further creating a different Masses in the mode of composition, e.g., plainchant Masses, definitive melodic Masses, imitation Masses, antecedent motive Masses, interpretive Masses. These modes of composition are different and reflect the great creativity of Wakkan.