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The Medieval Era

(800 - 1400 C.E.)


The Medieval Era is the longest and most remote period of musical history. It is important to
note that this musical era consists of almost a thousand years worth of music. For most of the
middle ages, the Church was the focal point of social life, learning, and the arts. Saint Gregory,
who was pope from 590 - 640 C.E., is said to have organized a huge repetoire of chants that
developed during the first centuries of the Christian church. Thus the term of "Gregorian Chant"
came about.

Early Medieval music notation did not look like the notation that is used in present day music.
The earliest signs of a notational system for music used NEUMES(hanap ka sa google ng
picture tapos ikumpara mo siya sa notational system ngayon: ex. Piano piece). For a long
time, musical notation consisted of the pitch pitch or note that was to be sung. Other musical
notation, such as rhythm didn't begin until the 12th or 13th centuries. (hindi pa daw uso ung
mga whole note, half note, quarter note, etc…hahahahaha…)

Gregorian Chant is monophonic monophonic, having one melodic line without an


accompaniment (sa madaling salita “SOLO” lng noong unang panahon). It is said to be very
serene, with pure shapes of melody. It is not known who wrote the melodies of the Gregorian
Chant(hanap ka ng Gregorian chant listening example sa youtube). Similar to folk melodies,
it probably changed over time as it was passed down through generations.

Toward the latter part of the Middle Ages, music consisted of two or more melodic lines that
were heard simultaneously, called polyphony polyphony. (sa medaling salita “duet/trio”etc..
o diba, may second/third voice na kagad)This appeared around the 1200s. Polyphony was
more difficult to compose than the monophonic chant, because a composer had to combine
multiple melodic lines in a way that would be pleasing to the listener. Most of the Medieval
polyphonic music was anonymous, as the names of composers were never written down.
However, there are a few exceptions, as some composers had works so important that their
names were preserved along with their music.

Although little of it has been preserved, secular secular song was important to the
medieval era.. Secular song was monophonic and stylistically more diversified than plain song. It
was stronger, and utilized regular rhythms, and had short rhythmic patterns. It was generally
modal but favored major (Ionian) and minor (Aeolian) modes. (wag mo ng isama tong
paragraph n to kasi kulang to sa info about secular music during the medieval, mdyo
technical nrn)
THE MEDIEVAL ERA
VOCAL SECTION
During the Medieval Era, there were many forms of vocal music. They were very
simplistic in nature.

FORMS

Plainsong (kumanta ka ng magisa.. solo.. un na un.. hahaha.. )


One of the most common vocal forms of the time was called plainchant, the
Gregorian chant, or plainsong. It is known that this form of vocal music was the
main root of polyphony polyphony during both the Medieval era and in the
Renaissance era.

Secular Song (solo lng din toh, nagkaiba lng daw sa meter, pero hindi lng naman meter
kung di marami pang iba.. mas technical pa, kaya wag mo ng pagaksayahan to ng
panahon.hahaha.. )
While little secular song had been preserved to date, it was still a very important musical form
during the Medieval era. It was very similar to plainsong plainsong in that it had single note
notation, had no accompaniment, and was written in the monophonic monophonic style. The
difference between secular song and plainsong was its meter. It was mostly written in triple
meter. Additionally, it also dealt with a wider range of subjects than the very religious plainsong.
Furthermore, secular song had clear phrase and sectional structure , was written in most
vernacular languages instead of the Latin-only plainsong, and used shorter and more regular
rhythms.

Polyphony (magkantahan kayo un na ang polyphony, pakinggan mo, iba iba ang tono
nyong lahat, polyphony na un..hahahahh)
One of the greatest musical achievements in the history of music occurred during the
Medieval era. This was the coming of polyphony. Polyphony is two or more vocal parts, each
with its own individual melodic importance within a work. The earliest known polyphony
occurred in secular music secular music of the 8th century. However, from the 9th to the 13th
centuries, polyphony grew in style and popularity and evolved into church music, which was
based on plainsong.
Instrumental
Although very little instrumental music has been left intact from the composers
of the time period, it is a well known fact that instruments were used throughout the
Medieval era.

INSTRUMENTS

Bowed Instruments
The most important of the bowed instruments were the vielles. They were the
precursors of the Renaissance viol family. Another bowed instrument used during
the medieval times was the rebec, which was a pear shaped instrument. Later in
the time period the tromba marina appeared. It was long in shape and usually had
one string. Sometimes it had two strings that were tuned in unison.

Plucked Strings
The most important plucked string instrument was the lute. It had an angled neck and a pear
shaped body. The psaltery, a flat sounding board was another instrument similar to that of the
zither.

Wind Instruments
During this time period recorders, various kinds of trumpets, and horns were in use. The
shawm, which was a double reed instrument, was also used.

Organs
In the Medieval era, portative organs or organetto were used. They were small and were able
to be moved around. The positive organ was a very important instrument of the time period. It
was the first organ for which polyphonic polyphonic music was composed. It was of medium
size and could not be moved. During the 1300s larger organs started to appear usually in the
churches of Europe. Some of them had up to 2,500 or more pipes.

Percussion Instruments
Drums came in many different shapes and sizes and were used mainly for military and dance
purposes. Kettledrums, also called nakers, were used in pairs during this time period. In addition,
a cylidrical drum, known as the tabor, was used. Many kinds of bells and cymbals were also used
during the Medieval era.

During the Middle Ages, composers were not all that concerned with how their written music
was performed. They gave little notice to what instrument(s) would play a piece and never
indicated particular instruments within their scores. It is believed that there were basically five
ways in which instruments were employed during this period in music history. According to
Hugh M. Miller:

1. Vocal polyphony was occassionally played entirely by instruments


2. Instruments were used to double one or more vocal parts
3. Textless parts in polyphonic music were probably intended to be played by
instruments as, for example, in 13th century motets motets and 14th
century cacce cacce and ballate ballate.
4. Music clearly intended for instrumental performance was mainly dance
music and a few instrumental motets and conductus conductus.
5. They may have been substituted for voices in one or more parts with texts

Dance Music

Almost every single one of the preserved dance forms were written in
monophonic monophonic style. Folk or court dance music was made up on the
spot or played from memory. The principal dance form of the 1400s was the
estampie. This dance form had many repeated sections and was almost always
played triple time. Some other famous dances were the danse royale and the Italian
saltarello and istanpitta from the 1500s. The ductia was also a popular dance that
was written in three or four sections. The finale of a dance work was named a rotta,
rotte, or rota, and involved a change of meter involved.

The Medieval Era


Composers

Dufay, Guillaume (1400-1474)

Guillaume Dufay composed music from the late Medieval era into the early Renaissance. He
was born in the Duchy of Burgundy, which is today known as Cambrai, located in France. His
birthplace was one of the major musical centers of the world. This area influenced many of the
composers who lived during the Renaissance. Throughout his life, Dufay resided in many
different Italian cities, which brought a high degree of worldliness to his music.

The music of Dufay was very calm, soothing, and had direction and clear distinctions. This
was in opposition to the typical music of the late Medieval era, which was often harsh and
rhythmically complex. As time progressed, and musical norms started changing, so did the music
of Guillaume Dufay. He began to explore the music of four voice vocal texture, which became a
distinct Renaissance musical characteristic. He was one of the catalysts who helped Medieval
music to move forward and transition into the Renaissance age.
de Vitry, Phillipe (1291-1361)

Phillipe de Vitry was one of the most important composers involved with Medieval music. He
was the author of a prominent music theory text, called the Ars Nova. In this work, he showed
how he would like to expand the rhythmic resources offered to composers, introduced new
rhythmic schemes and a new mensural notation system. This new system remained an important
notational device for over a century after his death. He made the first use of binary rhythm and is
thus considered to be a mathematical and philosophical genius of his time period. Additionally,
he is credited with being one of the main developers of the motet. He is one of the first
composers to discover and use isorhythm; a single rhythmic figure continually repeated by a
voice.

The only surviving works of Phillipe de Vitry were his motets. They are mostly secular,
although some took on religious tones. Most of his motets were on political, as opposed to
romantic, topics. He wrote his secular pieces in Latin, instead of French. He was seen as a
prodigy, as he wrote about the issues of his time period and put them into musical form. Vitry is
hailed today for his music theory that spurned the whole Ars Nova era of the Medieval era and
for his own emotional motets. He used new modes of musical idiom that would not be refined
until years after his death. He left a lasting impression on the musical world.

de Machaut, Guillaume (1300-1377)

Born around the year 1300 in France, Guillaume de Machaut was one of the most famous
composer of the Medieval era. His most well known work is the Mass of Notre Dame. Written in
four voice form, this piece showed his mastery of composition, and served as a textbook example
of Medieval counterpoint. He was also well known for his French poetry, songs, and manuscripts
prepared for French royalty.

Guillaume de Machaut travelled Europe during his lifetime. In addition to composing, he also
was involved with the political events of the time. He surrounded himself with royalty and
honorary people.

Guillame de Machaut is considered to be an avant garde composer. His style dominated the
Ars Nova period of the Medieval Era. He made little changes to rhythm and meter in his music
but added his own interpretation and emotional depth to his pieces. He was also famous for his
poetry, which was often set to music and conveyed messages of love.

The Renaissance Period


(1400 - 1600 C.E.)
The Renaissance era encompasses Western music history from 1400 to the begining of the
1600’s. This period in time marked the rebirth of humanism, and the revival of cultural
achievements for their own sake in all forms of art, including music. The word "Renaissance" in
itself is defined as a "rebirth"or a "reconstruction".
During this time, artists and musicians produced works that displayed more artistic freedom
and individualism. This creativity allowed artists to abandon the stricter ways of the Medieval
Era. Their art forms rediscovered the ancient Greek ideals. The great masters of the Renaissance
were revered in their own lifetimes (rather than after their deaths), which was different from
most of their Medieval predecessors. With the new printing techniques, music and musical ideas
were able to be preserved and distributed to the people.

The distinctive musical sounds of the Renaissance era were comprised of a smooth, imitative,
polyphonic polyphonic style, as seen in the music of Byrd, Palestrina, and Lassus. While
sacred music sacred music remained of great importance, secular music secular music was
starting to become increasingly common. Therefore, the polyphonic style was not only used in
sacred music, but also in secular madrigals madrigals.

The repertoire of instrumental music also began to grow considerably. New instruments were
invented, including two keyboard instruments called the clavichord and virginal. In addition,
many existing instruments were enhanced. The lute became the favored instrument of the time
period, and it was established as the standard instrument for family music making during the
16th century.

Masses Masses and motets motets were the primary forms for sacred vocal polyphony.
These were accompanied by the lute or a small instrumental ensemble or consort. Secular vocal
forms included motets, madrigals and songs, while instrumental pieces were usually short
polyphonic works or music for dancing.

Renaissance polyphony was harmonious when compared with the Medieval style. Imitation
was a method that composers used to make elaborate music more coherent and to give the
listener a sense of arrangement. Imitation, where one melodic line shares, or "imitates," the same
musical theme as a previous melodic line became an important polyphonic technique. Imitative
polyphony can be easily heard in the music of Byrd, Gibbons, and Gabrieli. Additionally, the
masses and motets of composers such as Josquin also displayed the imitative polyphonic style.
Imitative polyphony was so important that it continued into the Baroque period, especially in
sacred music for the church.

THE RENAISSANCE ERA


VOCAL
15TH CENTURY

English and Burgundian Music

FORM
During the beginning of the Renaissance period, musical form followed the same
basic principles that were used the Medieval era. However, techniques evolved and
new styles emerged.

The three main forms used up to the sixteenth century were mass mass, motet motet,
and chanson. They were similar in that they all were polyphonic polyphonic in texture, had
four to six parts, and were all composed for voice. Additionally, the carol was also a popular
Renaissance form.

Mass
The mass was a standard liturgical form. It was polyphonic in style, with plainsong
plainsong used for the tenor parts. Sometimes secular tunes would be used for cantus firmus
cantus firmus. The mass had a regal mood to it and was of considerable length. It was divided
into five sections, or movements, and used sacred Latin text.

Motet
A motet was a sacred choral composition based on a single Latin text and sung in all voice
parts. The top voice was greatly emphasized. The motet short in length, and written in one
continuous movement. It was also written on a variety of different subjects, usually derived from
the Bible.

Chanson
The most popular and common secular music during the early Renaissance was the
polyphonic chanson. It was reminiscent of the solo song, which used the principal melody in the
top voice. These secular texts were written in French. The chanson had the same polyphonic
texture of the mass but was more rhythmic.

Carol
During the Renaissance era, the carol was a popular music form in England. It consisted of
two parts and was sung to a religious poem of numerous stanzas with the same music and refrain.

Franco-Flemish Music

FORM

The Franco-Flemish school of music was at its height during the 1400s. The
Franco-Flemish composers were more interested in creating new techniques within
the popular existing forms, as opposed to inventing new form types.

Canon
The cannon cannon made its first appearance during the 1300s in the popular caccia of the
Medieval era. It was abandoned at the turn of the next century and reappeared with new
popularity during the latter part of the 1400s. The new canon employed some interesting
techniques.
1. Mensuration canons-several voices carrying the same melody at different
rates of speed.
2. Retrograde canons-the melody is sung backwards.
3. Augmentation canons-the time values of the notes increase in the
imitating voice.
4. Double canons-four parts with two different melodies, each canonically
imitated. (55)

Mass
A new form of mass emerged, called the cantus firmus mass. Here, each successive section of
the ordinary had the same melody. These cantus firmi were usually written in the plainsong style,
but sometimes secular music was used. Most of the time, these masses were based on cantus
firmus.

Motet
Ther was less use of cantus firums in motets than in masses. The Franco-Flemish motet made
use of sections written in duet style, chordal style, fugal or imitative style, and free non-imitative
counterpoint counterpoint.

Secular Music
The chanson remained the dominant form of secular music, as it had been in the English style.
The Franco-Flemish school made variations to it and made it less sectionalized. Lieder, a
monophonic monophonic or polyphonic German secular work, gained popularity from the end
of the 1400s to the end of the 1500s.

16TH CENTURY

It is in the 1500s that the Renaissance reached its height. In terms of vocal
polyphony, the Renaissance exhibited monumental growth.

Throughout the sixteenth century, vocal polyphony reached its ultimate degree of perfection.
Religious music was no longer led by the Roman Catholic Church, as Protestant music was also
coming into common usage. While the vocal style still dominated the musical world,
instrumental style began to increasingly appear. Secular music gained additional popularity, and
schools besides the dominating Franco-Flemish one evolved all across the globe.

ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSIC

Form

Throughout the 1500s, liturgical music grew in size, technique, and usage.
Religious music was still dominated by masses and motets. Also, some non-liturgical
forms began to develop and became somewhat popular during the second half of
the Renaissance.

Mass
The main type of mass used during this time was the cantus firmus mass. It used plainsongs
and secular melodies. Another common mass used during the sixteenth century was the parody
mass, which had a complete secular chanson or motet altered to fit the text of the ordinary mass.
After the early 1500s, completely canonic masses became less and less commonly used.

Motet
The motet did not change much in form or technique. In fugal motets, each successive phrase
of text introduced a new concept or theme that was then imitated in other voices. Some motets
divided the text from one line to the next so that more than one voice sang each new line of text.

Non-liturgical forms
The most popular non-liturgical form of the time period was the laude. This was a religious
song of praise that was given a simple polyphonic setting in chordal style. Its text was in either
Latin or Italian.

Schools
Although the Franco-Flemish school still dominated the musical world, other schools became
important, and developed music themselves. These schools were the Spanish school, the English
school, the Venetian school, and the German school.

REFORMATION MUSIC

The Protestant Reformation led to many new developments in church music.


Roman Catholic church music still dominated the era, but Protestantism added
creative innovations to the music world.

Germany

Martin Luther, who sparked the Protestant Reformation, with his Ninety Five
Theses, in 1517, believed strongly that music should be involved in church music.
He felt that the congregation should participate in the service, especially in hymn
singing.

Chorale
The chorale chorale was one of the most important musical forms to come out of the
Protestant Reformation. It was a hymn that was meant to be sung by the congregation. At first,
chorales were monophonic and then progressed to four part harmony. Eventually, the chorales
were used in more elaborate settings and were performed by choruses. Choral preludes
preludes, were contrapuntal contrapuntal arrangements of chorales which were played on an
organ.
France

In France, the Huguenot movement yielded an important literature of psalms set


to music.

Psalms
Biblical psalms were translated into French verse and then set to melodies. These psalms were
meant to be sung in unison by the congregation and also to be sung at home. Additionally, four
part harmonization and more elaborate contrapuntal arrangements of psalms were developed in
this era.

England

Church Music
Psalm singing also became popular in England during the second half of the
Renaissance. The English mass equivalent of the Catholic mass was called the
"service." This mass was set to texts in a polyphonic manner. Besides services, two
other forms of polyphony were present at this point in time. These were the Catholic
anthem, which was a catholic motet with an English text, and the verse anthem,
which alternated solo and choral sections and used organ or string accompaniment.
In addition, Anglican chant was based upon Catholic plainsong. The English
language now replaced Latin texts, and the melodies were given metrical
organization.

SECULAR MUSIC

Secular music of the time developed into wider geographic areas during the
second half of the Renaissance. It continued to grow and diversify in form and style
well into the 1600s. Secular music of the time had specific rules, according to Hugh
M. Miller:

1. As in the 14th century, secular music again rivaled sacred music, largely
because of the widespread renaissance spirit of secularization and also
because poetry was flourishing.
2. The rise of national schools was even more pronounced in secular that in
sacred music, although the influence of Netherlands composers was still
strong.
3. Secular music flourished in all European courts under the patronage of
nobility
4. It should be remembered that Renaissance secular music everywhere was
intended as entertainment for amateur performers rather than as concert
music.
5. It was composed and performed as chamber music for a few participants
rather than for large choral ensembles.
Italian Form

During the late 1400s, popular vocal forms, referred to collectively as the vocal
canzoni, appeared in Italy. These forms of music were generally in four parts,
strongly metrical, predominantly chordal, and had dance like rhythms to them.
These forms came right before the 16th century madrigal madrigal. The
madrigal developed from the 1500s to the 1600s, and had more expressiveness to
it, was more contrapuntally elaborate, and was more polished overall.

French Form

The most popular secular form in France were the polyphonic chanson and the
solo chanson with contrapuntal accompaniment. While some chansons were in
chordal style, others had more elegant counterpoint with imitation. The chanson
measures, a type of chanson from the late 1500s, made use of quantitative
rhythms, which stressed syllables were given twice the note values of unstressed
syllables, resulting in frequently shifting meters.

English Form

English madrigals were popular during the sixteenth century. An English madrigal
used five voices. It was written in a light and leisurely manner. A form of the
madrigal called ballett was also popular. It used refrains in lively contrapuntal style
alternating with chordal style for the stanzas.

German Form

A popular type of secular music in Germany during this time was the polyphonic
lied. This was written in four voices with imitative counterpoint. The basis for this
form was often popular songs. Another popular German form during the
Renaissance was quodlibet. This form had various popular tunes and their texts
humorously combined in a contrapuntal manner.

Spanish Form

The main Spanish secular form during the Renaissance was the villancico. The
villancico was a four part work, written mostly in chordal style, with a regular metric
construction. This was based on a three stanza poem and was musically structured
according to the formula A B B A. This form of music was performed as solo songs
with instruments playing the lower parts.

The Renaissance Era


Instrumental
Even though the instrumental music of the Renaissance period did not equal the
vocal music, in terms of quality and quantity, it still played an integral part of the
era. Instrumental music gained in popularity and developeda musical form that was
distinct from vocal music.

During the Renaissance era, instrumental music was written according to specific rules.

1. Improvisation was very important in performance and for melodic


ornamentation.
2. Transcriptions of vocal music for instrumental performance were
numerous.
3. Instruments were freely employed in the performance of vocal music.
4. Some instrumental forms were borrowed from vocal forms, while others
were instrumentally invented.

Instrumental music also had specific characteristics during the Renaissance Era. The
instrumental style of the Renaissance time period was also distinct.

1. Melodic range was wider than vocal limitations.


2. There was extensive ornamentation including coloration, embellishment,
and figuration.
3. There was a much freer treatment of dissonance.
4. In lute and keyboard music contrapuntal contrapuntal parts were
freely added or dropped without indicating rests.
5. There were exceedingly long and rapid scale passages.
6. There were numerous wide skips.

During this era, the instruments on which musicians played from day to day also improved.
The instruments most commonly used were of keyboards, strings, and winds.

STRING INSTRUMENTS

Bowed Strings
Ancestors of the 17th century violin family, Renaissance viols, were fretted
instruments with six strings tuned in fourths, with a third in the middle (A d g b e’
a’). They were used in various ensembles called consorts (consisting entirely of
viols) or in mixed consorts, which had recorders and other instruments in it.
Plucked Strings
The most popular solo instrument of the Renaissance was the lute. It had an angled neck and
pear shaped body. Lutes were fretted instruments. It had six strings tuned, as did viols, in fourths
with a third in the middle (G c f a d’ g’). Lute music was often written in tablature, a special kind
of musical notation that indicates the fret and string for a given note. Being extremely versatile,
the lute was used for solo, accompaniment and for ensemble music purposes.

WIND INSTRUMENTS

The most important wind instrument of the Renaissance era was the recorder.
The recorder was a hollow, end-blown wooden flute. The recorder was also a very
versatile instrument and it was used in may different types of ensemble music. It
ranged in size from treble to bass. Other notable wind instruments were the shawm
and the cromorn (double reed woodwinds), coronets (soft toned instruments made
out of wood or ivy), and early trumpets and trombones (restricted to the natural
tone of the harmonic series). These instruments were first emerging and were
confined to fanfares or to outdoor music festivals.

KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS

Organs and keyboards were the primary keyboard instruments used during the
Renaissance era. They were commonly found in churches. In their earliest form,
pedalboards were not built into such organs (except in Germany). Regals, or
positive organs, were in wide use since the Medieval period, while the portative
organ died out during the latter 1600s.

Additionally, there were two other types of keyboard instruments now present in the musical
world. They were the clavichord and the harpsichord.

Keyboard instruments were mainly used for solo purposes during the Renaissance, and rarely
accompanied vocal polyphony polyphony. It was an even rarer occurrence that a vocal or
ensemble piece to be accompanied by a clavichord or harpsichord.

ENSEMBLES

The term Renaissance ensemble is meant to be used in a simplistic, unevolved


form. Rarely did an ensemble match what we would today call an orchestra.
Instead, ensembles were basically small chamber groups. Seldom was specific
instrumentation for ensembles declared in a score.

FORMS OF MUSIC
Renaissance composers did not give much thought to whether their pieces would
be vocal or instrumental. Most pieces of the time were written “per cantar e sonar”,
which means “for singing and playing”. Composers wrote their works so that either
the voice or instruments could be used to convey the message of their work. There
was still a distinction between sacred and secular music during the 1700s.

Dance Music
In its begining stages, dance music was written to accompany social gatherings. Later on,
during the 1700s, a more structured and specifically styled dance form was developed. Dance
music became popular and its form was filled with strong rhythm and repeating sections. The
dances of the time were usually arranged in groups of 2 or 3 movements. In the typical dance
pair, both sections had the same tune; the first dance was in slow tempo while the following one
was faster with a change of meter. The lute, which was popular, helped to play dance music,
while the harpsichord and small ensembles also contributed to this art form.

Cantus Firmus Forms


The cantus firmus cantus firmus musical form was basically for use in the Church, as it
was liturgical music. Usually, this type of music was played by an organist between verses of a
hymn sung by the congregation or choir. Stylistically, a cantus firmus piece was based on
simplistic plainsong plainsong or secular song, which was meant to be played by a
harpsichord, organ, or an ensemble of viols.

Improvisational Forms
The prelude prelude was the main improvosational form during the Renaissance. Usually
composed for keyboard or lute instruments, it was an instrumental type which made use of a
collection of materials in order to give the listener a feeling of improvisation.

Variation Forms
Variations were written in many different ways. Theme and variation form was based on a
popular tune which itself was modified with each restatement. Another variation was called
ground, which used short themes of four to eight measures in the bass and had a changing
counterpoint counterpoint played above it. A cantus firmus variation used a single melody
which was repeated a number of times. Each time the melody was repeated it was accompanied
by a different counterpoint and in a different voice. English hexachord variations used as a theme
the first 6 notes of a scale. This was most common in virginal music.

The Renaissance Era


Composers

Byrd, William (1543-1623)

William Byrd was born in the county of Eincolnshire, England (the same place where Robin
Hood lived). William Byrd was a composer of music for both the Protestant and Catholic
churches. For the Protestant church, he composed Great Service and Short Service. For the
Catholic church, he composed masses masses, hymns, and madrigals madrigals.

During his childhood, he was probably one of the Children of the Chapel Royal in London,
since it is known that Byrd was raised listening to music composed by Thomas Tallis. Tallis was
the organist and choir director of that Chapel. At age twenty, he became Organist of the Lincoln
Cathedral in his home town and later became a Gentleman at the Chapel Royal. He became the
organist at the Chapel and worked along with his mentor Thomas Tallis.

Byrd is famous for writing extraordinary masses, motets motets, vocal and solo songs, and
for chamber music composed for strings without voice. He is well known for his madrigals as
well. The Sweet and Merry Month of May is very typical of the madrigals that Byrd wrote. He
was described as a man with natural gravity and piety. He was versatile in instrumental form too,
as he also wrote chamber music. During his life, he was considered the foremost composer of
keyboard music in all of Europe. Byrd composed and excelled in writing sacred, secular, vocal
and instrumental music and left a lasting impression on the musical world.

Desprez, Josquin (1440-1521)

Throughout his life, he was by far the most sought after composer in all of Europe. He was
born in the Duchy of Burgandy, now Beligium, and spent his life living in various Italian cites.
He retired to Conde in Northeast France.

He helped to spread polyphony polyphony in Northern Italy. In Josquin's extended works,


a certain subtlety and serenity were always included, (a characteristic of the Franco-Flemish
school). The repetoire of his music surviving today is rather large and is made up of motets,
masses and secular songs, in both French and Italian. He was a master of four-voice and other
large textures, as well as parodies, light songs, and French chansons. Because of his human
quality, quantity, and technical mastery, Josquin is still extremely renowned and respected as a
composer today.

Gabrielli, Giovanni (1554-1612)

Born in Italy in 1554, Giovanni Gabrielli was a composer of sacred and secular vocal music.
He also composed music for string, keyboard, and wind ensemble pieces. He is best known for
his perfection of the cori spezzati musical form, in which choirs or performing groups are broken
up into sections and dispersed in and around the performance space. Gabrielli was also famous
for his chromatic motets written about damnation and hell. Additionally, he was a promoter of
the music of Monteverdi.

Gibbons, Orlando (1583-1625)

Orlando Gibbons lived during the historical high point of English music. Gibbons is
renowned as being the greatest English composer of his generation. He was born in Oxford,
played and taught music to royalty, and died at the age 42.
Along with other composers of the time, Gibbons wrote new music and developed new
techniques for consort music. He also is famous for his sacred choral music, English anthems,
and verse anthems. Additionally, he wrote consort songs for vocal madrigals and solo songs with
viol consort accompaniments. His madrigal The Silver Swan is well known. His music remains
well loved today and his choral music is constantly played as part of the English Cathedral
repetoire.

Ockeghem, Johannes (1410-1497)

Ockeghem is known as one of the fathers of Renaissance music. He was born in 1410 and
became one of the most respected composers of the fifteenth century. Very little of his musical
repetoire survives today. He is known for his motets, masses, and secular chansons.

Stylistically, Johannes Ockeghem was very distinct. In his vocal pieces, he placed an
emphasis on expressive and complex bass lines. This new emphasis on lower textures allowed
Renaissance composers to have a wide range of diversity in their music. Ockeghem has been
described as a purely technical master. He is also considered to be a pioneer of western
polyphony and one of the supreme masters of lyrical and contrapuntal invention.

Palestrina, Giovanni (1525-1594)

Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina was an Italian composer who wrote over one hundred
settings of the mass. He composed sacred music and was an important musical figure of the
Renaissance. He is best known for his "seamless texture" of polyphony.

His prominent works are his First Book of Masses, the Mass of Marcellus, and his First Book
of Motets. He composed masses, motets, and sacred works. Adoramus te Christe is an example
of his sacred music. His music is marked by purity, clarity, terseness, simplicity, and the
omission of secular elements. Because of all of his worthy compositions, he earned the title
"Prince of Music," which was engraved on the leaden plate that marks the tomb on his grave. He
died in 1594, but his influence lasted for many eras past his death.