Prep For Monday of Week 4 (bring you own copy of the "Music 1700 Resource Guide" coursepak to class each day).
REMINDER: The Machaut vs. Palestrina Comparative Chart assignment is due on Wednesday, Feb 1 (bring it with you to class). This is worth twice as much as a start-of-class quiz, and its purpose is for you to have the opportunity to find specific evidence for why the style traits of the Late Medieval "Ars Nova" are distinctly different from those of the Late Italian Renaissance.
A few of clarifications of terms I regularly use in class:
Cadence: A noticeable end to a musical phrase or section, analogous to what punctuation marks do in written language. In vocal music, you can almost always locate significant cadences by looking at the punctuation marks in the poetry and then locating those points in the music. In much instrumental and vocal music, you can also locate cadences by looking at the fall of melodic lines when they are aligned with gradually slowing rhythmic figures. Cadences are important structural points, so the intervals (or later, triadic harmony) that occur at cadence points tell you what the composer values aesthetically (hence, these are significant traits of their style and era). Look especially at the final cadence of the piece or movement, and how the composer moves the closing pitches to get there.
Counterpoint: Polyphonic music that promotes melodic/rhythmic independence amongst simultaneously-sounding musical lines. Independent rhythms are critical in all kinds of counterpoint. Independent melodic lines avoid parallel motion by moving in opposing motion (opposite direction), or oblique motion (when one voice stays on its pitch while another one changes pitch). There is counterpoint in every historical era, and what determines the contrapuntal style of an era are primarily:
-What intervals are considered consonant or dissonant (what are
the allowable goals of strong cadences)?
-How is dissonance handled? (normally, dissonances are put on weak parts of the beat)
-The types of rhythms and rhythmic groupings and subdivisions that are allowed
Texture: The relationship of simultaneously-sounding musical lines:
- monophonic (one melody; no
- homophonic (more than one melody moving with generally the same rhythms)
- polyphonic (more than one independent melody sounding simultaneously)
There are various degrees of polyphonic texture:
- canonic (material is presented by one voice then echoed strictly by other voice[s])
- imitative (material is
presented by one voice then echoed less strictly by other voice[s])
- antiphonal (material is presented in split-choir format: "Choir A" vs. "Choir B"
If there are other terms that you'd like clarified, please tell me
so I can help you as a class.
Main items to prepare for Monday of Week 4
1. Review the Notes
from the previous class. Make sure you are clear
on why the English in the later Middle Ages are so
critical to setting the stage for the transition to Renaissance style
to WMU E-Learning, click on the "Textbook Readings" icon, and read the online
textbook/Chapter 4: "Music in the Renaissance"
3. Study the "Music in the Renaissance" chart (Music 1700 Resource Guide, p.3)--this version lists more of the composers/pieces we are studying than the chart in Chapter 4.
4. Look carefully at the famous Renaissance "L'Homme Arme" tune (MUS1700 Resource Guide, p. 47), then take a highlighter and mark the "L'Homme Arme" pitches being used as a cantus firmus in the tenor voice of the "Kyrie" movement from Dufay's Missa L'Homme Arme (MUS1700 Resource Guide, pp. 48-52; please only mark the pitches of the actual tune--not the ornaments, and mark the entire tune note-for-note until the end of the movement.) What does Dufay do the the L'Homme Arme tune in the last 5 measures of this movement? Why do you think he does that?
You can hear Dufay's "Kyrie" movement on YouTube at:
5. Listen to Josquin's motet Ave Maria...virgo serena (listen to the YouTube clip below, while watching the musical score on pp. 53-55 of the MUS1700 Resource Guide:
6. Pre-read the notes below just to get the general idea of what we will be covering in
- Look at the bottom of the class notes and make sure you have some idea about the following types of dissonances:
passing tone, neighbor note, suspension
- - - - -
Notes from Monday of Week 4:
Music of the Renaissance
(See Chapter 4 of the online textbook for details)
Background: Questioning the Norm:
- The Renaissance was a rebirth of learning and exploration in Europe that was expressed in a variety of ways. Nearly every traditional aspect of European life was challenged by new discoveries, technologies and ways of thinking (see Chapter 4, p. 25). Even the central authority of the Western church was questioned (Protestant Reformation). Musicians created new musical approaches that were highly expressive. Renaissance music sounds fuller and more consonant than that of the Middle Ages. Renaissance style is smoother, more triadic, and with careful control of dissonance.
Summary of Renaissance Sacred Music:
-Smoother melodic lines that are more equal among the voice parts
-It is still linearly conceived (counterpoint), but now with an interest in triadic harmonies--hence more control of dissonance (the most common 16th-century dissonances are passing tones, neighbor notes, suspensions)
interest in depicting the meaning of the words (word-painting)
-More sophisticated use of varied textures to illustrate the words/moods: imitation [non-strict echoes], canon [stricter echoes]; homophonic, etc.
Because of this, it is conceived both horizontally and vertically at the same time
("simultaneous composition" instead of the layer-by-layer approach of
"successive composition" used in most Medieval music.
Summary of Critical Terms from Today's Lecture:
Point of Imitation
- Paired Imitation
- Double Canon
- 16th-century dissonances: (especially Passing Tone, Neighbor Note, Suspension)
Renaissance Motet (See MUS 1700 Resource Guide, Chapter 4, page 26)
Josquin Desprez: Ave Maria...virgo serena (MUS 1700 Resource Guide, p. 3 Music Guide 8--score is pp. 53-55)
--clever use of varied textures, canon, and word-painting.
The first 80 measures of this motet are a PARAPHRASE of a Gregorian chant, the start of the chant is shown below, and corresponds to the melodic material of mm.1-30 of the motet:
The reason that Josquin's quotation of the chant is called a "PARAPHRASE" is that he ornaments the original melody with some extra notes (compare the original chant tune with the "Gratia plena" section, for example, and you will see extra notes added for expression that are not part of the original tune.
Josquin changes the TEXTURE for every poetic subsection of the motet:
- IMITATION: when a new voice echoes the previous one (in vocal music, it is easiest to notice when there are echoes words on a similar melodic idea).
- CANON: when an imitative echo is strict (note for note-=-rhythm for rhythm), it is called "Canon" (canon is described by both the harmonic pitch interval, and rhythmic time-delay of the echo in relation to the original entry)
-OPENING SECTION: 4-VOICE CANON on the chant paraphrase tune:
-2ND SECTION (starts at m. 31): PAIRED IMITATION (top two voices in a pair are echoed by bottom 2 voices in a pair):
-3RD SECTION (m. 40): HOMOPHONIC TEXTURE with all the voices saying "Solemni plena gaudio..." ("Full of solemn joy") all at the same time to emphasize words that Josquin must have felt were very important to him (that the Virgin Mary was overjoyed at the news she was bearing the Christ child, even though this unwed pregnancy would cause her humilation at that time in history).
-4TH SECTION (m. 54-64) DOUBLE CANON (upper two voices are paired again but this time the contratenor (alto) echoes the upper voice in canon at the 5th below/half measure delay); lower two voices imitate the upper two by echoing each other in the same manner:
Counterpoint is primarily a RHYTHMIC phenomenon (the voices have to be rhythmically independent), and the lines must have good voice-leading (avoid consecutive leaps, voices should not all move in parallel motion, etc.)
We discussed the chart at the bottom of page 27 of the MUS1700 Resource Guide:
The following intervals were considered dissonant in the Renaissance:
-4ths (only when they include the lowest-sounding voice
-all augmented/diminished intervals
The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember about dissonance is that only ONE NOTE in the interval is the actual dissonance, and that specific note must be handled accordingly!
most common way to handle dissonance in the 16th century is to
-put it on a WEAK BEAT
-resolve the dissonance by STEP
Therefore, the most common dissonances in this period are (see further down the page for illustrated examples)
- PASSING TONE: the dissonance is APPROACHED by STEP, and RESOLVED BY STEP in the same direction.
- NEIGHBOR NOTE: the dissonance is APPROACHED by STEP, and RESOLVED BY STEP in the opposite direction (back to the note that started the neighbor note figure).
A common but MORE DARING dissonance is a SUSPENSION:
In a suspension, the dissonance occurs on a STRONG
BEAT, so it must be handled even more carefully than usual, and it must
- PREPARED (the same note as the dissonance occurs a beat earlier within a consonant interval)
- SUSPENDED (the "prepared" note stays and the other note(s) move to create a dissonant interval
- RESOLVED (THE DISSONANT NOTE that was prepared and suspended MUST RESOLVE DOWN BY STEP into a consonant interval.
Suspensions in an upper voice are (numbers indicate the interval between the upper voice and lower voice in the suspension):
When the lower voice is the suspension:
- "2-3" (notice the interval gets larger when resolved because the bottom voice is the dissonant one here and it must resolve down)
Example: See Resource Guide, p. 53 (Josquin: Ave Maria...virgo serena, mm. 23-24):
Some highlighted examples of dissonances in Josquin's Ave Maria...virgo serena: