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Swaney 1 Sarah Swaney Professor Cloer LBST-1103-601 February 20, 2014 The Middle Ages and the Renaissance

The Middle Ages was a period of time that occurred between the fifth century and the fifteenth century. Music experienced a drastic change during this time period, especially with the development of tune and polyphony. Social and religious developments during this span of a thousand years can be linked to the development of this unique composure of Western culture music. Religion played a huge part in determining the type and style of music during the Middle Ages because of the role of the Catholic Church. Secular music eventually began to become a prominent part of this society and culture, as well (Sherrane). The Catholic Church, at the time, literally controlled every part of the music during the Middle Ages, from who composed it, most likely people who held high positions in the church and were part of the liturgy, to how it was written and how it would sound. In the Church, there were at least eight services a day that needed music during the service. Mass was the longest of these services, and was held at least once every day. Plainchant, otherwise known as Gregorian chant, was the recognized music of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. Plainchant was given its name because it is considered to be plain, monophonic music especially written to be accompanied with voices. The plainchant can also be referred to as Gregorian chant because of Gregory the First, who was a famous pope of the church during his lifetime in the five hundreds. Many plainchants were very simple

Swaney 2 and monotone. The entire book of one hundred and fifty Psalms was required to be sung in plainchant every week in the Catholic Church. While some plainchants were uncomplicated, others were very detailed and complex, with notes of the song ranging over the span of an octave. Despite the wide range in style and genre of plainchant, all plainchants were nonmetrical, and were constructed based off of the medieval modes. In this sense, nonmetrical means without rhythm, meter, or tempo. Medieval modes refers to basing the musical scale around D, E, F, or G instead of the typical major and minor scales being centered around C and A. Reciting tone is the pitch in a song on which the lyrics are sung, and this type of recitation is known as Gregorian recitation. The text becomes easier to understand because it is punctuated and clearly stated. An antiphon is the simplest genre of the Gregorian chants. Most antiphons are short, little pieces that rarely have any affect. But sometimes antiphons can be moving, as well. An example of an antiphon from the Middle Ages is the Plainchant antiphon, In paradisum by an anonymous composer. This particular antiphon was played during a funeral, from the closing prayer and blessing of the loved one that passed away all the way to the graveyard where the person is laid to their final resting place. In contrast to the sacred songs being sung in the Catholic Church, a much more secular music began to rise. These secular songs were written and composed by troubadours, who also performed their own songs. A lot of the times these songs are just a tune or a jig, or a drunken sailors dance. These songs were referred to as troubadours in Southern France, and in Northern France as trouveres. In these types of songs, all of the stanzas are played or sang to same melody. This is known as strophic form.

Swaney 3 During the Middle Ages, polyphony was created and expressed in many of the songs of that time. Polyphonies are two or melodies that are combined. This was initially seen as a sensual or secular modification, that eventually made its way into the church and the sacred context of the songs played during the liturgy. Polyphony was later seen as an enhancement to the Gregorian chants. Polyphony had several different forms of genre, and the most common one was organum. In an organum, two melodies are combined at once with simultaneously singing the same words at the same time. Perotin composed an Organum, Alleluia. Diffusa est gratia. Perotin made the opening section, Alleluia, the most important section throughout the entire work. He dedicated this piece to the Virgin Mary. It is unclear for certain that Perotin wrote Alleluia. Diffusa est gratia. Around the year 1200, polyphony became even more secularized, and it began separating itself from the church services over a short period of time. This type of polyphony was very unique, in the sense that it had two very different sets of lyrics that spoke of very different concepts. One set of lyrics may be a love poem, while another may be referring to some sort of political dilemma of that day and time. The motet, another variation of polyphony that was based on the words in the upper voices, was also originated around this same time during the Middle Ages. The Renaissance was the time period following that of the Middle Ages. The Renaissance took place beginning in the fourteenth century, running through the sixteenth century. The term renaissance literally means rebirth. This era came with idea of bringing back the movements and good things of the past. During the Renaissance, composers, artists, painters, and politicians wanted to become relatable to the people of their time by making their work more associable to their current needs and desires.

Swaney 4 Along with a lot of the new ideas of the Renaissance, plainchants were not seen as a necessity anymore, or as a requirement for the Catholic Church. A lot of times composers would take plainchants and paraphrase them. This process consists of taking these melodies and combining them with calm, pretty rhythms. They would also modernize certain parts of the song that seem too old fashioned or out of date and make them flow with new variation of the piece they had created. Composers wanted these paraphrases to be heard clearly, so they would have the sopranos of the choir sing them so that they would stand out more to the audience or to the people of the church. Homophony was established during the fifteenth century in the Renaissance time period. Homophony is described as having harmonies or chordal texture. With these harmonies, the songs became a little less formal, and a little more appealing to the secular community of people. A harmonized hymn, Ave maris stella, by Guillaume Duffay was the most popular hymns during the Renaissance, and emphasized harmony and homophony. Guillaume had the opportunity of working with many great artists and thinkers of the Renaissance period while living in Italy for over twenty-five years. The authority of the church was beginning to have less control as the people began reforming music to their own liking. To continue to attract people and keep up with the music of that day in time, the Catholic Church had to make their music selections more peaceful, simpler, and less complex as a whole, even during the largest service the church had to offer: mass. Thus, composers had to reduce and recreate the musical parts of the mass. They limited the service to five different sections or items: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Angus Dei. This service style dated back to the days of Palestrina and Bach.

Swaney 5 The Kyrie was a simple prayer. The Gloria was a long hymn near the beginning. The Credo was a list of the Christian beliefs. The Sanctus was another short hymn. The Angus Dei was another simple prayer. By the end of the fifteenth century, the music and songs had gone from being nonimitative to being imitative. Imitative is a complex texture in a simple song, which fit in with the main idea of the Renaissance. In art, music, and architecture of the Renaissance, there was always a complexity in the overall simplicity, or a simplicity in the overall complexity. Josquin Desprez, who was alive during the years of 1450 through 1521, was an incredible composer that was excellent in combining two of the most opposite things, complexity and simplicity. Josquin, along with many other composers, began to focus on the horizontal structure of chords and harmonies rather than the vertical ones, like in the previous era of the Middle Ages. In the Church, a cappella took on a new role. The choir began singing with voices alone, no instruments, and no songs with instruments only. The music may have seemed a little boring because the melodies did not vary much in range. For the choir to remain in unison, the voices could not go very high or low or add too much strain to the people trying to actually sing the song in front of the entire church. This phase of a cappella carried into the sixteenth century, as well. Josquin was able to grasp the idea of the Renaissance and its characteristics like no other composer of that day in time. He composed around eighteen different settings of the Mass. There were all sectionalized into the five sections of this time period. His music became a literal hearing of expression of feelings, emotions, and circumstances. Music became expression altogether. Composers brought in two new elements to help with this expression: declamation and word painting.

Swaney 6 Declamation involved the articulation of words so that the audience could clearly understand what was being said, thus becoming more relatable. Word painting was matching the sound of the music to the meaning of the lyrics and the words behind it. This allowed for the audience to feel what was being sung, also allowing them to relate more easily. During the late Renaissance time period, secular music became more fluent. Dances were being put with songs and pieces of music. The pavan was a popular dance that had a duple meter. It was a solemn dance with formal stepping and movements. The galliard, on the other had, was a more upbeat jig in triple meter. Two of these types of songs were Daphne and Kemps Jig. Although the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were vastly different in terms of style and types of music, they both came with new ideas of reform. While the Middle Ages were primarily focused on the Church and on the sacred works, the Renaissance allowed for a little more freedom with the uprising of secular music, and with the addition of some secular components in the Church Setting. Both of these time periods were extremely crucial and critical in terms of the types of songs and composers that were to immediately follow these eras in history, as well as the music that is currently played on a daily basis in this century and day in time.

Swaney 7 Works Cited Kerman, Joseph, Gary Tomlinson, and Vivian Kerman. Listen. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012. Print. "The Middle Ages." Music History 102. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.