The History of Western Music in My Eyes [IV. Renaissance]

In this chapter we begin our account of Western music during the Renaissance, which, after a long Middle Ages, finally came to fruition during the Renaissance.

The Renaissance, an intellectual and cultural movement in Europe from the 14th to 16th centuries, had a profoundly The historical background of the history of music mainly reflects the political aspirations and demands of the emerging European bourgeoisie of the time. Music presents many new features in this historical context, and a discussion of music history is of course inseparable from a particular historical context.

First, the Renaissance, the collision of old and new
The Renaissance really took effect on music in a period of about 150 years, from 1453 to 1600, which in itself is short compared to the 1000 years of the Middle Ages, but during this period there was an important event that must be mentioned: the Reformation, and an important background: the rise of the bourgeoisie and science.

1. the Reformation

As mentioned earlier, medieval Europe was a feudal society, and Christianity survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire, while the Eastern Roman Empire still existed, and it was here that Christianity was first divided, with Christianity in Europe called Catholicism and Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire (i.e., the Byzantine Empire) called Orthodox Christianity.

In the Middle Ages Catholicism controlled the spiritual life of Europeans, the Pope and the Emperor supported each other, and Catholicism experienced a thousand years of power. It had already become corrupt. This trait was most evident in 1517, when the Roman Catholic Church began its blatant sale of “indulgences”, and in the same year. Father Martin Luther published the 95 Theses and debated the Pope, a debate that led to the subsequent Reformation, Protestantism And thus was born.

Catholicism believes that you are born sinful, and that the vouchers of redemption, where you buy your sins on earth to save you from future suffering in hell, the more you buy, the more your sins are remitted, and the blatant move out of God to ring up money and amass wealth; Martin Luther opened a discussion on this, represented by the Syllabus of 95 Articles, questioning Catholicism and the Pope, leading to a break between Roman Catholicism and Martin Luther, who burned the Pope’s excommunication in public and established another Protestant religion.

This was the general course of the Reformation and the second separation of Christianity in history, and the beginning of the confrontation between Catholicism and Protestantism.

2. the rise of the bourgeoisie and science

The biggest difference between the Renaissance and the Middle Ages was that people were less concerned with worshiping God and more concerned with themselves. Change actually has deep historical roots. It includes geography, demographics, history, and so on. This is also a very important perspective of materialistic history.

The origins of European civilization lie in ancient Greece, where the small size of the land made it impractical to develop agriculture, and self-produced industry was impossible.

Interestingly, this is in stark contrast to China. In contrast to ancient Greece, geographically, China’s vast land mass and vastness of land was very suitable for the development of agriculture, bearing in mind that feudal society was essentially It was a society of exploiters and exploited peasantry, where the peasants were safe and the merchants were slippery, and therefore the feudal rulers disliked it the most. The merchants, from which the ancient Chinese ranking of “scholar, peasant, agricultural, commercial and industrial” is derived, because the last two represent the higher productivity and relations of production, and their development was bound to overthrow the landowning class. In China, the vastness of the land and the strong agrarian culture made the social and production relations of feudal society as solid as the Chinese The traditional spiritual core is more inclined to be peaceful than pioneering, a trait that is more pronounced inland and better in coastal areas. This is the most obvious manifestation of the influence of geography on people.

And Europe happens to occupy many favorable conditions: first, geographical conditions: although the continent is also very large, but the origin of the cultural core of the European people It was Ancient Greece, and the ancestors of Europeans were predominantly Germanic, and both peoples were predominantly maritime cultures from the earliest times; II. History Reality: feudalism in Europe never reached its peak, was held back by many forces (such as Catholicism), and was difficult to truly unify. Most of the time small and fragmented countries; iii. economic base: Europe had a well-developed business and trade industry from an early stage, which was well established, in particular The Crusades brought in many new elements, and Europeans broadened their horizons; iv. the Renaissance was based on several of the above conditions. The full explosion, especially in the later geographic discoveries (the great seafaring era, the opening of new shipping routes), and the Europeans began to fully open up the veins of the Yamato that laid the framework for the modern era.

Against this background, the European bourgeoisie emerged, feudalism was relatively weak, and the new class forces were bound to put forward their economic and political demands; science began to sprout, the classic example being Copernicus’ “heliocentric theory” against the Catholic “geocentric theory”.

The music of the West shared the fate of the times and took on many new qualities.

II. Music of the Renaissance
In the late Middle Ages, polyphonic music was sufficiently developed to enter the Renaissance after the Notre Dame school of music had gathered its strength. However, instrumental music was still not more fully developed at this time, so the Renaissance was the peak of the development of polyphonic vocal music, and I still The three perspectives of polyphonic, religious and secular music are approached.

The polyphonic weaving and the dominant weaving are two different weaves which are both different and related. The polyphonic weaving focuses on the equality between the voices, each voice has the power to express themes and emotions; while the dominant weaving in the baroque music, the polyphonic weaving in the baroque music. The period is only beginning to sprout, and only reached flourishing during the Classical period, with a primary and secondary distinction between the voices, and a clear contrast between harmony and melody.

An easy way to tell the difference is to listen to the polyphonic loom, you will feel as if every part is singing a melody, not so with the dominant loom, you can clearly hear the difference between melody and harmony, and the melody is dominant, the pop music we are currently listening to is the dominant loom.

Let’s get to the point.

1: Polyphonic music is a big development

The previous work describes the trajectory of polyphonic music in the medieval period, from the earliest Olgarnon to Conductus to canon and scripture song, the polyphonic approach became more and more numerous, and the vocal parts grew from two to three and four at first.

In spite of the Reformation, the awakening of humanity, and a number of other events and new trends, the Catholic Church was still a powerful force, and the main field of development of polyphonic vocal music was still in religious music.

In the course of a century or two, the Renaissance produced four main schools of music: Burgundian, Flemish, Roman and Venetian.

① Burgundy School: early Renaissance, in northern France, Belgium and The border area of the Netherlands (historically this area was called the Netherland) gave birth to the Burgundian School (also known as Netherland’s First School). This school of music was early to use three-part polyphony for composition. The composers represented were Dufy and Benshuwa.

The golden age of the Burgundian school of music, from about 1400 to 1450, was the junction between the two eras of Art Nouveau and the Renaissance, and it contributed fine three-part polyphonic vocal music, establishing the regular five-part writing form of the Mass on the basis of Marceau, as well as French secular polyphonic music, Chanson (to be mentioned later), which laid a solid foundation for the Flemish school of music and four-part polyphonic vocal music of the Renaissance.

The Flemish School (Flemmich School): At the height of the Renaissance, the Flemish School (also known as the Second and Third Niederland School) was born in the Niederland region, and it was the most important school of music during the entire Renaissance.

This school of music went through three generations and summarized the following main contributions.

Emphasis on the equal status of all voices, all having the function and power to present a theme.
Begins to value harmonic fullness, simple harmonic structures emerge (three chords appear intact for the first time)
Began to apply regular and variable frame terminations, with the first signs of functional harmony.
The Flemish school went through three generations, each represented by a composer.

Johannes Ockeghem (1410-1497), the first representative composer, was deeply influenced by Burgundian music, with a wide melodic range and rich acoustics, and was highly accomplished in imitating polyphony.

Josquin des Prez (1450-1521), one of the greatest composers of the Renaissance, was a master of polyphony, along with Michelangelo, and was rumored to have been a student of Ockeghem.

The third representative composer, Orlando Di Lasso (1532-1594), a Flemish musician who explored functional harmony and established the T-D, D-T functional harmony circle.

It is very important to note that in this passage of mercy Kyrie uses the technique of imitating polyphony, in which the four voices can be heard in sequence with the same The melodic range of the melody enters, resulting in a very full-bodied soundscape that is well worth listening to (with headphones!)

③ Roman School: Roman School was formed a little later than Flemish School, when Rome was the center of Catholicism and the religious power was strong.

The Roman School was represented by the composer G. P da Palestrina (c. 1525~ (1594), Palestrina developed the polyphony of the Flemish school to its zenith, the most famous being Pope Marchelos’ The Mass is written for six voices. His style of music is calm, simple and pure, and is representative of the Romanesque style.

Post a snippet of Palestrina’s Hodie Christus Natus Est.

The Venetian School was formed in the second half of the 15th century by A. Willaerte, a composer from Flanders, with an early, distinctly Flemish style, and in the 16th century, Giovanni Gabrieli (G. Gabrieli, 1557-1612) had an important influence on its development.

This school differs from the first three in that the Venetian composers employed a number of instruments as accompaniments, especially G. Gabrieli , he explores the possibilities of many instrumental combinations and attempts to enhance the contrast between vocal parts and instrumental groups. In the magnificent St Mark’s Cathedral, these composers explored the imposing, echoing polyphonic chant, a new Unlike the first three schools of music, the polyphonic voice, which later reached Germany, became the precursor to the great concertos of the Baroque era.

It can be said that the first three schools of music developed polyphonic vocal music to its peak, while the Venetian school built on its predecessors and began to explore instrumental music The possibility of polyphony, and indeed by the end of the Renaissance, had developed Canzona, Lichekal ( The earliest polyphonic instrumental genres, such as Ricercare, were developed in the Baroque era. It also laid a solid foundation for the great development of instrumental music in the Baroque era.

Giovanni Gabrieli, an excellent organist and a gifted musician with a keen sense of instrumental music, studied organ playing with his uncle Andrea Gabrieli and went to Munich to work as court musician.

Aware of the space offered by St. Mark’s Basilica, he grouped instrumental music together and experimented with different combinations, and is considered the “father of orchestration”, most notably the Sacrae Symphoniae of 1597.

2. religious music, new variations on chant.

After the Reformation, Protestantism took Europe by storm, and a group of believers and composers, represented by Martin Luther, attempted a new interpretation of the original of Catholic music (especially Gregorian chant) undergoes a transformation. In this transformation, chant exhibits many characteristics in different countries, but at the core two are the same: one is the use of one’s own The chant is sung in the native language instead of Latin; the melody is reworked and used in combination with the original melody.

The resulting new chants were called chorale in Germany, psalter in France and Switzerland, and anthem and service in England.

These musical reforms were spiritually and culturally consistent with the principles of the Protestant Reformation, contributed greatly to the spread of Protestantism in Europe, and, most importantly, were close to the masses, making Protestant music a more homogeneous experience for believers.

3. secular music of the renaissance.

In the Middle Ages, each country had its own minstrels, but by the end of the Renaissance, each country had developed its own national vocal genre, the most important being the Italian madrigal and the French chanson.

The most important are the Italian madrigal and the French chanson, which was born in about 1530, in the second half of the 16th century. into its prime. Early pastoral music was a polyphonic (usually in 3 to 4 parts) choral polyphony, first intended for the educated population composed (Jesuardo himself was an aristocrat), its lyrics are highly literary and tuneful, and its subjects are mostly glorifying love or The love of nature.

In the second half of the 16th century, pastoral music gradually developed into five to six voices, and the subject matter was gradually enriched, for example, with such an orientation as satirical allegory. Most importantly, at this time, pastoral music had gradually developed in the direction of the main-tonal weaving, and it can be said that secular vocal music was ahead in this area. Religious Vocal Music.

The three main representative composers of pastoral music are Luca-Marenzio (1553-1599), Carlo-Gesualdo (1561-1613), Claudio-Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Luca Marenzio: The eldest of the trio and one of the representatives of pastoral music in its prime, Marenzio’s polyphonic compositions are so exquisite and so well suited to pastoral music that he has even been described as “the Schubert of pastoral music”.
Carlo Gesuardo: outstanding late Renaissance pastoral composer, lutenist. His early life was miserable, especially when his wife cuckolded him and he killed her and her adulterer. A niece, Leonora, became Prince of Venosa in 1586. Probably influenced by the infidelity of his first wife, his style in music showed many qualities, often love and death and so on Title.
Claudio Monteverdi: the most accomplished of the Three Jerks, a composer between the late Renaissance and early Baroque. In his early studies of pastoral, polyphonic music, in 1607, on the basis of pastoral music, he composed the first truly historical Opera: “Orfeo,” which officially opens the era of Baroque opera.

② Chanson: France was the first place where troubadours appeared in the Middle Ages, and has developed over the centuries. France has developed its own unique genre of national secular polyphonic vocal music: the chanson.

Chanson is not particularly important compared to pastoral music, after all, the predecessor of opera was mainly pastoral, and opera is still very important in the history of music. The significance of the. However, Chanson itself has a light and beautiful melody, fresh and strong rhythms, and is itself a very fine genre of vocal polyphony. Like pastoral music, it is about love and the love of nature and was very popular in France at the time.

Its representative composers were C. Janequin (1485-1558) and N. Gombert (unknown date of birth and death).

It’s worth noting that Shanson is a vocal genre, and this version was reset with Renaissance instrumental music (forgive me if I can’t find the vocal version).

Third, the influence of Renaissance music on later generations
I prefer to think of the Renaissance as a transitional period, just as the “Art Nouveau” period was a transition between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which was more of a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Baroque period.

In this period, polyphonic vocal music reached unprecedented heights and gave birth to the most important music of the Baroque era. Vocal genre – opera. Although not prominent in polyphonic instrumental music, some preliminary explorations were made (recounted in the subsequent Baroque era).

It can be argued that the Renaissance had a number of important influences on the music of later generations, summarized in three main points.

The development of polyphonic compositional techniques to their peak and their fruitfulness in vocal music, as well as initial explorations in instrumental music, set the stage for the simultaneous explosion of polyphonic vocal and instrumental music in the Baroque era.
Many genres of religious music were standardized during the Renaissance, and most of the later generation’s religious music compositions were based on the Renaissance.
The Venetian school was the first orchestration, the Flemish school was the first functional harmony, and the polyphony became more sophisticated, so if medieval musicians standardized notation, the Renaissance was the first to explore compositional theory.
The Renaissance, as an era of continuity, held the key to the Baroque era.

The first golden age in the history of Western music, the Baroque era, was about to arrive.