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Interesting Facts about Singing History: The Renaissance Period


The motet was the most preeminent polyphonic forms of music during the Renaissance period. However, this style of vocal composition did not arise during the 1400s to 1600s. It started in medieval times. More specifically, it arose in the thirteenth century. In this century, a theorist called Johannes de Grocheo explained that commoners could not enjoy motet since they could not understand its subtlety. Therefore, those who appreciated these vocal compositions were mostly elite members of society.


The Unification of Musical Language during the Renaissance Period

Unlike the motet of the medieval period, Renaissance music was more vocal and instrumental. In fact, songs had an increased number of independent lines playing simultaneously than they previously had. These advancements facilitated the rise in the quality and quantity of vocal compositions. Such changes were possible because of a unified musical language spurred by socioeconomic changes in Europe. These changes included the rise of humanistic thoughts, the rise of a bourgeois class, and commercial growth.


Vocal Compositions and the Use of Instruments during Renaissance Period

The human voice was the primary tool used in the production of music during medieval times. Instruments were merely accompaniments that colored the human voice. However, things started changing during the Renaissance Period. Instruments such as flute, violins, flutes, and keyboards acquired a new status. Significant modifications of these instruments also took place. It is also important to note that the number of composers and their professionalism increased significantly during this period. It did so because of modified instruments and advanced technologies such as the invention of the printing press in the 1400s.


The Emergence of the Madrigal

The madrigal was a vocal composition where the number of voices varied from two to about eight. In most cases, a madrigal had three to six voices. It was different from strophic songs at the time. These songs had repetitive choruses, but the madrigal was non-repetitive. To put it differently, its arrangement was linear and uninterrupted by dialogue. Madrigals emerged in Italy in the 1520s. The focus of these pieces was to express emotion in each line of a famous poem. It is important to note that the madrigal was the most distinct type of secular music during the Renaissance period. It ushered in a new era in singing history where secular compositions achieved prominence and became acceptable in society.


Keep reading: “Instruments used during the Renaissance period”>>

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