Aaron, Pietro

1480-1550.  Theorist.


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His writings include an important discussion of composition via vertical writing (instead of linear writing).  This was the beginning of a period where composers began to become comscious of chords and flow of harmony.


He includes tables of 4-voice chords, and is also one of the first to discuss quarter-comma meantone tuning, which was the most common meantone tuning system of the 16th and 17th c.


He was attacked by Gaffurius and defended by Spataro

Agricola, Alexander

1446-1506, Franco-FlemishContemporary of Josquin represented in the Odhecaton.


Succeeded Busnois at the Burgundian court.



His music is related to Ockeghem early in his career (complex and rhythmically diverse, highly contrapuntal), and more like Josquin (use of pervasive imitation and sequence) later in his life.


He also wrote eight Masses, which generally treated the cantus firmus freely.


He tended to write quick, nervous lines composed of short motives, rather than long lyrical melodies


The English version of the motet.


The full anthem is for chorus throughout, usually in contrapuntal style and unaccompanied.


The verse anthem was for choir supported by organ or viol accompaniment, which allowed soloists to detach themselves from the choir.


Both Tallis and Byrd helped develop the anthem.  Tallis created a contrapuntally alive homophony that ensured clarity of declamation, while Byrd experimented with more elaborate textures.

Attaingnant, Pierre

French music printer who published more than fifty collections of chansons in Paris between 1528 and 1552, about 1500 pieces altogether.


Including works by Sermisy and Janequin.


Attaignant arranged dance music, and was the first to apply single impression printing on a large scale

Baif, Jean-Antoine de

French poet who wrote strophic French verses in ancient classical meters (vers mesures a l’antique), substituting the ancient Greek and Latin quantities of long and short syllables for the modern stress accent.


Longer syllables were set to longer note values and shorter syllables to shorter note values.


Active in the mid-late 16th c, this style of music, in its effort to re-create the artistic ethos of ancient Greece, had a strong similarity to the contemporary movement in Italy by the Florentine Camerata, esp with respect to text declamation.


He was part of the group of poets and composers who formed the Academie de Poesie et de Musique under the patronage of King Charles IX.


His ideas dominated the French musical scene until the end of the 16th c and into the 17th c.

Binchois, Gilles

1400-1460.; Worked in the burgundian court in the early part of the 15th century.


Martin le Franc paired Dufay and Binchois as the two leading composers of the day and found the influence of Dunstable (smooth rhythm and consonant sonorities) in their work because of the English occupation of France.


He is primiarily known for his secular music, about 60 rondeaux for 3 voices and top voice dominant.


Many pieces are in Fauxbourdon.


An example of a rondeaux is Je ne vis onques

Calvin , John

1509-64.; Leader of the Reformation in Fr. who opposed the retention of elements of Catholic liturgy and ceremonial much more strongly than Luther did.


Prohibited the singing of texts not in the Bible.


The only notable musical productions of the Calvinist churches were the Psalters, rhymed metrical translation of the Book of Psalms


A melodic figure in which a voice leaps a third down to a consonance instead of approaching it by step.


Notable in 3rd species cpt.


A compositional technique in which one voice strictly imitates another in both pitch and rhythm.


Canon was a popular technique among the Northern composers in the Renaissance.


The earliest example is in the English round, Sumer is icumen in.


Genres that include canons are the Italian caccia, the Fr. chase, and the Latin fuga.


Dufay, Josquin, Palestrina, de La Rue and others all wrote canons

cantus firmus technique

This was the most common organizing principle of the cyclic mass, which became the standard type of mass composition by the middle of the 14th C.


Originally the CF was taken from plainchant and placed in the tenor voice, but later in the century sources for the CF widened to include othe non-biblical and non-liturgical tunes, and sometimes the CF would migrate to other voices and be used as a contrapuntal subject and /or be used in a variety of rhythms.


During the 16th C it was gradually supplanted by the parody or paraphrase mass, which borrowed whole portions of polyphonic music in to the mass for unifying purposes


Originally the canzona was an instrumental transcription (by Italian composers) of a Frecnh chanson.


Later it referred to an instrumental work that used the chanson as a model, having repeated sections with contrasting meters and textures.


An example is Gabrielli’s Canzona per sonar Primi Toni.


The ensemble canzona eventually gave way to sonata, concerto, and other multi-movement genres of the Baroque

canzon villanesca all napoletana

A lighter variety of song cultivated in Italy in the 16th century.


It is a peasant song that appeared around Naples in the 1540s.


It was a three voice, strophic, lively piece in a homophonic style.


Composers often deliberately used parallel fifths to suggest the county, rustic character


It eventually grew to resemble the madrigal and lost its identity


In the Middle Ages, the carol was an English song with a text often dealing with Virgin Mary of Christmas.


In the Renaissance, it was several things: 1. pieces associated with dancing and processions.  2.  Religious carols with monophonic music similar to the lauda.  3. a polyphonic carol, either conductuslike or more elaborate polyphonic works composed in various forms like those of Davy and Cornysh

Choralis Constantinus

A three volume collection of four voice polyphonic settings of Mass propers composed by Heinrich Issac between 1450-1517

Cirillo, Bishop Bernadino

The Bishop who expressed, in his letter of 1549, disappointment with the music of his time, specifically the complexity of polyphonic music and its obsuring of the text in church.


He encouraged musicians to rediscover the art of the ancients like the sculptors, painters, and architects did, and doing so, would reclaim the power of classical modes in moving the affects of the listener.


He points to Arcadelt’s madrigal Ahime dove’ l bel viso as the future model of a new expressive style

Clemens non Papa

1510-1556.  A Flemish composer of the generation after Josquin.


He worked in Bruges and various Netherlands churches.


He composed chansons, 15 Masses, over 200 motets, and 4 book of psalms (souterliedeken) with Dutch texts, written in simple 3-part polyphony and using tunes of popular origin.


His motets are similar to Gombert‘s but with clearer phrase definition, melodic motives shaped to the meaning of the words, and attention to modal definiition through cadences and melodic profile

Compere, Loyset

ca. 1455-1518.; contemporary of Josquin who is represented in the Odhecaton.


Composed mostly elegant courtly music and specialized in small lyric forms like chansons, using several diverse manners of composition.


Stylistically, he tends towards concise, clear-cut phrase.


Some of his chansons modify older Burgundian traditions in way that suggest he was aware of more modern attitudes toward text setting and harmonic procedures, and textural homogeneity.

cori spezzati

Broken choir.; This practice is particualrly associated with the Venetian school, and in particular Willaert, Andrea and Giovanni Gabrielli.


It was inspired by the architecture of San Marco in Venice.


It was cultivated throughout Europe and found in the music of Palestrina, Victoria, Lassus, Schutz, and others.


Brass instrument of wood or ivory.


It came in three sizes and comprised a mouthpiece attached to a straight, conical tube, punctuated by finger holes.


It was used primarily in church and chamber music from 1550-1700

Council of Trent

A sweeping Counter-Reformation measure by the church to clean up its laxities and abuses, of which small part of this regarded church music.


The complaints concerned the excessive complexity of the music obsucring the words, the bad pronumciation, carelessness and irreverent attitude of the singes.


However, the decree of the Council was very general and no technical points were hit upon.


The result was that neither polyphony nor the imitation of secular models was forbidden

countenance angloise

English guise.; Coined by Martin le Franc in a poem which describes the new musical style of Dufay and Binchois as being influenced by the smooth and consonant style of the English composers like Dunstable

des Prez, Josquin

ca. 1440-1521.; He works include about 18 Masses, 100 motets and 70 chansons and other secular works.


His Masses are the most conservative of his works; most use a secular tune as cantus firmus.; His Masses also demonstrate his prowess with technical devices and procedures, such as the imitation Mass.


In his motets, he was known for the care he took to suit his music to the text, and he is associated with the mid-16th c stylistic development called musica reservata


A treatise by Swiss theorist, Glarenus, pub in 1547.;


It systematically expands the eight church modes to twelve (adding modes based on A na dC).


Glareanus justified his new modes by appeal to classical authority (citing Josquin’s works)

double versicle

a versicle is a phrase or sentence of text.


In the sequence, parallel versicles are often paired making a double versicle

Dufay, Guillame

1400-1474.  His contemporaries regarded him as one of the greatest of thier age.


He was influenced by John Dunstable and the English style.


His sacred music can be divided into three categories : 1. Hymns, antiphons, Mass movements, and some motets written in the treble-dominted style in which a borrowed melody is often placed in the top voice and often in fauxbourdon.  2. musically complex motets in four parts which are isorhythmic or polytextual.  3. Mass pairs or cycles unified by mode, mensuration and head motives.


He also wrote a lot of secular songs in three voices with French text (rondeau predominates).


Examples: Missa Se la face ay pale (secular cantus firmus from his own text) Missa L’homme arme (secular tune) Missa Ave Regina caelorum (paraphrase)

Dunstable, John

1390-1453.; His contemporaries and successors in England and on the continent recognized him as the foremost Egnlish composer of the 15th c.


Marin le Franc noted the considerable influence of his music and style on Dufay, Binchois, Ockeghem, and Busnois.


Most works are in three voices, except the four voice isorhythmic motets.


His works are mainly known through continental sources and feature smooth rhythms and consonant thirds and sixths.


Example: Missa Rex seculorum (isorhythmic)

Encina, Juan del

1468-1530.; Spanish composer who worked for the Duke of Alba.


Important in the development of Spanish theatre.


Most of his works are secular and polyphonic.


Most are vilancicos and are contained in the Cancionero muiscal de Palacio

d’Este, Isabelle

1474-1539Marchioness of Mantua and enlightened patroness of the arts, who greated simulated the development of the frottola.


She employed Marco Cara, as well as Tromboncino, even after he had murdered his wife.


Her active support of the frottolists substantially aided their efforts to establish a truly Italian style of composition


A poem in which shepherds converse.


In classical antiquity, eclogues were written by Theocritus and Virgil, and in the 16th century they were sometimes written as plays and stages, thus forming an early part of the pastoral tradition on which early opera drew.


The term has been used as a title for piano pieces with a pastoral character by more recent composers such as Tomasek, Franck, Liszt and Dvorak

Eton Choirbook

The largest source of English church music from the turn of the 16th c.


It contains votive antiphons and Magnificats but no complete Mass cycles.


Composers included in this volume are: Brwone, Davy, Horwood, Lambe and Wylkynson; as well as younger composers such as Cornysh and Fayrfax.


Most of the music in the choirbook has a continuous full texture and uses cantus firmus or faburden in its strcutre (“conservative design and florid style”).  Thus, the Eton choirbook is good representative of some of the qualities of the growing English style in the late 15th and early 16th c.


An English technique of polyohnic vocal improvistaion from 1430 until the late 16thc.


In improvising, a borrowed melody from chant would be embellished by thirds and fifths below and parallel fourths above.


In faburden, the preexisting melody was probably placed in the middle voice


A style of recitation between the late 15th c through the 18th c.


They were mostly used for the singing of vespers psalms, but can be also found in Passions, Lamentations, responses, Magnificat settings.


It is chordal harmonization over root-position traids and all 4 parts written out


Not to confused with fauxbourdon which improvised on part and featured many 1st inv. triads


An imiginative instrumental composition meant to sound improvised.


In the 16th c, it was used synonymously with ricercare, which was an instrumental version of the motet


A 15th c French technique of composition in which two voices are notated.  A third voice is improvised a fourth below the top voice, creating parallel sixth chords.


An example is Dufay‘s chant hymn Conditor alme siderum

Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain

The powerfull King and Queen of Spain in the 15th c.


In 1492, they defeated the Moors and drove them out of Spain, and later drove out the Sephardic Jews.


Everyone was forced to convert to Christianity.


Many historical ballads and villancico (ABBA) were written telling these stories

Fitzwilliam Virginal

English manuscript collections of keyboard music dating from the early 1600’s, it contains works from the late 16ths and early 17th C that include transcriptions of madrigals, fantasias, dance and preludes, sets of variations.


One such piece represented is John Bull’s Spanish Paven.



A dance song of Spain in early 17th century with wild singing and dancing.


In the Baroque, composers wrote variations on the Folia, including Corelli


Secular solo song with accompaniment propogated by Isabelle d’Este in Mantua in the late 15th c and early 16th c.


An important composer for the court was Marchetto Cara.


An example is Hor venduto hola speranza.  It has refrain-stanza form of the ballata (AaabA).  The musical material is limited, using a varied form of the refrain for the stanzas

Gabrielli, Andrea

1510-1586Uncle of Giovanni Gabrielli, he became the organist at St. Mark’s in Venice in 1566 and held the position until he died.


He was one of the first Italians whose works were able to escape the Netherlandish style.; Such music tends to be homophonic, syllabic, polychoral, and sonorous.


He composed in nearly every genre: madrigals, sacred vocal music (Masses, Psalms, motets, concerti), secular vocal works, and many instrumental compositions.


Most significant is his contribution to the new concertato style, canzonas, ricercare, and other intabulations for keyboard

Gabrielli, Giovanni

Nephew and pupil of A. Gabrielli, he was the succressor at St. Mark’s in Venice.


His influence was powerful in continuing the new concertato style and establishing the new monody.

Purely instrumental music is prominent in his output, including ricercares, canzonas, and sonatas (some for multiple choris of instruments).


His most substantial collections are his Sacrae Symphonie I, II, III which contain both instrumental pieces and motets.


He had significant influences on Heinrich Schutz and developments in Germany

Gaffurio, Francino

1451-1522.  A musican scholar who wrote about Greek learning and theory in Theorica musice (Theory of Music, 1492), Practica musice (The Practice of Music, 1496) and De harmonia musicorum instrumentorum opus (A Work concerning the Harmony of Musical instruments, 1518).


They were the most influential writings on music of the late 15th and early 16th c., and stimulated new thoughts on modes, consonance and dissonance, the tonal system, tuning, word-music relations, and the harmony of music, man, and cosmos

Glarean Heinrich

1488-1563Swiss theorist most famous for his treatis Dodecachordon, in which a 12 mode system is advocated and its application to monophony and polyphony discussed.


He added four new modes to the traditional eight.  With this he claimed that he had reestablished the tonal system of Aristoxenus.


He also showed how the music of Josquin utilized the power of the 12 modes by analyzing his motets

Gombert, Nicholas

1495- 1556.  Supposedly a pupil of Josquin, Gombert was an official of the chapel of the Emperor Chales V.


He exemplifies the northern motet style of the period 1520-1550 (he wrote more than 160).


His style involves a generally smooth and uniformly dense texture, without many rests, with most dissonances carefully prepared and resolved.


A collection of six pitches.


Hexachords are important in the history of solmization and in 20th c twelve tone theory.


Somlmization by means of hexachords prevailed from the 11th c with its development by Guido through the 16th c.  Accoding to Guido’s system, there were three hexachord (C, F, G) that could be used and overlapped in order to create the “gamut”.;


Pitches in the hexchords were considered music recta, and pitches not in the hexachords were musica ficta

L’homme arme

The Armed Man, a secular tune that was used widely as cantus firmus for polyphonic Masses from the second half of the 15th c.


The first was written by Busnois.  Other composers are Josquin, Obrecht, Ochkeghem, La Rue, Palestrina, and others.


In their setting with this tune, it seems as though one was trying to out do the next compositionally.


The melody itself consists of many fourth and fifth leaps.


The intellectual movement of the Ren.


The revival of ancient learning, in particular rhetoric, poetry, history, and moral philosophy.


The movement pressed people to judge their lives, artworks, customs, and social and political structures by the standards of antiquity.


In music, this translated into many things: the choice of a mode was a composer’s key to the listenersemotions; new rules derived for the control of dissonance; use of Pythagorean tuning

L’Institione harmoniche

Theorist Gioseffo Zarlino wrote his book in 1558.;


It is based on the teachings of Adrian Willaert.


In the book, Zarlino focuses a chater on how effectively to express the words of a text through music in conterpoint.


These were the rules which palestrina exemplified in his compositions.


An arrangement of a composition for keyboard or plucked strings notated in tabulature.


Italian intabulations of French chansons resulted in canzonas.


An important Elizabethan source of intabulated music is the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.


Intabulation continued into the 17th c, often in style brise

In nomine

An English instrumental genre of the 16th and 17th c which all use the antiphon “Gloria tibi trinitas” as a cantus firmus.


The section on “In nomine” was taken from Taverner’s Mass to begin a tradition of compositions based on the piece.


Composers include Byrd, Gibbons, Purcell and others

Issac, Henry

1450-1517Flemish composer who worked in Florence, Vienna and Innsbruck.


Issace absorbed into his own style many musical influences from It. Fr. Ger. Flanders, and the Nertherlands, so that his output is more fully international in character than that of any other composer of his generation.


He wrote many songs with French, German, and Italian texts, as well as some canti carnascialeschi.


His sacred compositions include 30 settings of Ordinary of the Mass and a cycle of motets bsed on the liturgical texts and melodies of the Proper of the Mass (Choralis Constantinus – several volume of 4 voice polyphonic setting of Mass Propers)

Jannequin, Clement

1485-1560French composer particularly celebrated for his long descriptive Parisian chansons, similar to It. 14th c caccie, with onomatopoeic imitations of bird-calls, street cries, etc.


His works tend to express the vivacious or irreverent side of the esprit gaulois.

He and Sermisy were prominent in the first of Attaingnant’s collections, and both were associated with the Parisian chanson of the 1530s and 1540s

Lasso, Orlando di

1532-94.; Chief among the international composers in Germany in the 16th c, he composed madrigals, chansons, and motets, and his works totalled over 2000.


His style, in contrasts to Palestrina’s restrained and class nature, was more impulsive, emotional, and dynamic in temperament.


In his motets both the overall form and the details are generated from a rhetorical, pictorial and dramatic approach to the text.  His motet Tristis in anima mea is an excellent example.


His later life was devoded almost exclusively to setting sacred texts in a style more somber than that of his youth.


Franco-Flemish counterpoint, Italian harmony, Venetian opulence, French vivacity, and German gravity are all found in his works


A non-liturgical religous songs of greatest importance in 13-15th century Italy.


The lauda resembels the ballata with a refrain alternating with strophes.


The earliest surviving example is from Jacopo da Bologna in the 14th c.


Many of the carnical songs cultivated by Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence were changed to lauda by replacing the secular texts with religious one (contrafact).; Savanorola played a large role in this practice


The peak of the genre’s popularity was the early 16th century


Luther, Martin

Dissatisfied with the abuses of the Roman Catholic church, Luther nailed his complaints in the form of 95 theses, to the door of the Schlosskirche at Wittenberg in 1517, thus unintentionally started the Reformation in Germany.


The Lutheran church retained much of the traditional Catholic liturgy, as well as much Catholic music, both plainsong and polyphony


But in order to involve the congregation more, they created chorales, congreational hymns in vernacular that could also be sung at home in private.  Sometimes the orginal Latin text was kept, but more often pre-existing Gr. devotional songs were adapted or new religious text was added to popular secular music via contrafactum.


One such example is Issac’s Innsbruck Ich muss dich lassen that was adapted to O Welt, if muss dich lassen

madrigal (16thC)

Secular vocal pieces primarily written in the 16th C.; The musical style was originally taken from the motet and often included Petrachan or Petrarchan inspired poetry.


Early composers were Arcadelt and Verdelot, composing madrigal for amateur sings.; Later, Rore, Willaert, Gesualdo, Monteverdi, Luzzaschi, and Marenzio were increasingly more sensitive to expressing the text.; The music became increasingly more dissonant.


Continuo madrigal: The late madrigal in the 16th c and early 17th c was often set in the new style of monody with basso continuo accompaniment (Monteverdi, Caccini)


One of the most important genres for Ren. composers, esp Palestrina.


Settings in Renaissance were on the Ordinary texts.; There were the three primary technique: cantus firmus, paraphrase and parody

Cantus firmus Mass

A Mass which uses a borrowed melody in strict form as the foundation for the work.


An example is Dufay’s Missa L’homme arme super voces musicales

Motto Mass

A Mass which is unified by the recurring use of a musical idea at the opening of each movement.


Dufay: Missa Se la face ay pale

paraphrase Mass

A Mass which uses a preexistent melody (chant, chanson, or motet) and freely adapted and embellishes it in the Mass setting.


Often the cantus firmus is cut up amongst sections or movements and is altered with regard to rhythm and/ or pitch.


Josquin, Victoria, and Palestrina all composed a number of paraphrases Masses.


A good example is Palestrina’s Mass Aeterna Christi munera

Parody Mass

A Mass which uses a preexistent polyphonic work as a model.


Generally each phrase is quoted before the new work continues in free counterpoint.


Palestrina’s Missa Pape Marcelli

Medici, Lorenzo de

The well loved banker, who unofficially ruled Florence in the late 15th c and who promoted carnival songs.


After his death, the infamous reforms of Savanorola began, which led to many carnival songs being transformed into religious lauda


A member of the guilds of the 14th to 16th c formed to perpetuate or emulate the tradition of the Minnesinger, the Medieval German lyric singers and poets.

mensuration canon

Compositional technique in which the subject is transformed into different mensurations, making a complex web of the same subject in different rhythmic values.


It was favored by the Netherlandish composers.


Examples are Ockeghem’s Missa prolationum and the L’homme arme Masses of Josquin and de La Rue

Missa Ad Fugam

Josquin‘s strictly canonic mass which uses no borrowed material

Missa Papae Marcelli

A famous Renaissance Mass by Palestrina for 6 voices, although palestrina saves the united voices for specific climaxes in the text.


Like much of his music, he follows the rules of counterpoint that were eventually codified by Zarlino.


A legend started that it was upon this particular Mass that the Council of Trent was swayed not to banish polyphony because of its so-calld interference with the understanding of the text

Missa prolationum

Ockeghem’s Mass which demonstrates mensuration canon, in which a subject is stated in many different rhythmic values (double canon)

de Morales, Cristobal

1500-53.; The most eminent Spanish composer of the early 16th c and member of the papel chapel from 1535-45.


Spanish sacred music was marked by a particular sobriety of melody and moderation in the use of contrapuntal artifice, together with a passionate intensity in expression of religious emotion.


Morales wrote 22 Masses, 16 Magnificats, a set of Lamentations, and over 80 motets.


Like the other major figures of the post-Josquin generation, he valued continuity and a compact dense texture over clearly articulated formal divison and transparent sonorities.


He made extensive use of imitation.


He rarly interrupted the flow of the polyphony with declamatory chordal passages

Morley, Thomas

1557-1602.; English composer particularly concerned with cultivating the English madrigal.


Many of his madrigals are Italian madrigals with new texts and slight changes.


It was through his efforts as an editor and composer that Italian madrigal came to be well-known in England.


He studied with Byrd.


Sing we and Chant it and Now is the Month of Maying


Published in 1601 a collection of 25 madrigals by different composers called the Triumphes of Oriana.; The collection points to one of the important ways that English madrigals differed from their Italian counterparts: greated attention is given to the overall musical design



work of the Renaissance that combines a Latin sacred text in one voice (usually tenor or bass).

Motet-chansons: A polyphonic work in longer note values with a secular text in the vernacular in other voices.


These were composed by Agricola, Josquin, and others.


They belong to the tradition of the polytextual motet of the 13th century

Mouton, Jean

1459-1522.; French composer and contemporary of Josquin who served in the royal chapel under two kings: Louis XII and Francis I.


His style emulates that of Josquin.


His Masses and motets are remarkable for their smooth-flowing melodic lines and skillful use of various unifying devices.


He was the teacher of Willaert

Musica Nova

Published in 1559, it is a collection of 25 Madrigals on sonnets by Petrarch composed by Willaert.


It includes the famous setting Aspro core

musica reservata

Mid-16th c term used to describe the “new” style of those composers who, motivated by a desire to give forceful and detailed reflection of the words, introduced chromaticism, modal variety, ornaments, and contrasts of rhythm and texture in their music.


There is also the implication that such music was “reserved” for a particular patron’s chambers.


Its beginnings are connected with Josquin, and probably related to Lassus

Musica Transalpina

Title of 2 anthologies of Italian madrigals, with English words, edited and published in London by Nicholas Yonge.


The first anthology (1588) contains  57 madrigals, by Marenzio, Palestrina, Byrd, and Lassus, among other.


The second (1597) contains 24, examples by Ferrabosco, Marenzio, and Venturi.


They were the first printed collections of Italian madrigals in England and had a great influence on English composers of the period

musique meuree a l’antique

A late 16th c French phenomenon in which long and short word syllables were set by long and short notes in the ratio 2:1.


This was an attempt to reunite the intimate relationship between music and poetry of ancient Greece.


It was first use by Jean Antoine de Baif and was taken up in his Academie de poesie et musique (founded 1570), which included Claude le Jeune, Thibault de Courrile and others.


This style persisted into the 17th c by composers of the air de cour

Obrecht, Jacob

1452-1505.; Flemish contemporary of Josquin who worked at Cambrai, Bruges and Antwerp, and made several trips to Italy.


His works include 29 Masses, 28 Motets, and a number of chansons, songs in Dutch, and instrumental pieces.


Most of his Masses are built on CF, though the treatment of the CF varies greatly.


His Masses also use frequent canonic passages

Ockeghem, Johannes

1410-1497.; Franco-Flemish composer.


It is possible that he received his early training as a choirboy in Bruges and that he was a pupil of Binchois, perhaps even of Dufay as well.


Tinctoris praised him as a composer and said that Ockeghem possessed the best bass voice he had ever heard (that explains Ock’s affinity for low voice ranges, not only in bass part, but in all voices).


His career was spent largely in the chapel of 3 successive king of France from 1452-1476, perhaps even to 1495 (Charles VII, Louis XI, Charles VIII).  From about 1454 on, he was the highly esteemed master of the chapel.


Ockeghem was the leading composer of the generation between Dufay an dJosquin.


He is best known today for his Masses.


Little of his music has survived: 14 Masses, 9 motets, 20+ chansons.


His style is characterized by its rich contrapuntal texture, in which the various voices are of more or less equal importance.


Imitation is not used extensively, instead, independent melismatic lines combines to produce an ever-changin effect.


Missa Prolationum, uses double mensuration canons.


Missa Cuiusvis Toni can be sung in any mode merely by changing clefs.


anthology of polyphonic music pub. in 1501 by Petrucci.


This was the first instance in which polyphonic music was printed using movable type.


Included in the Odhecaton is a wide variety of 15th c music.


96 pieces are present and (mostly French chansons) by such composers as Josquin, Issac, Busnois, and Agricola

Old Hall Manuscript

The most important collection of english sacred music before the Eton Choirbook.


Copied in the early 15th c, it contains a repertory of 147 works composed during the period 1350-1520. in several styles: typical English chordal “descant” to canonic and isorhythmic styles of the continent.


Among the composers represented, many of whom belong to the generation before Dunstable, the most important is Leonel Power.


A modern edition was published in the Corpus mensurabilis musicae series in 1969-73

Palestrina, Giovanni Puerluigi da

1525-1594. Spent his entire carerer at Rome.,


Wrote many sacred music, including 104 Masses, about 250 motets, many othe rliturgical compositions, and around 50 spiritual madrigals with Italian texts.


His approximately 100 secular madrigals are conservative.


Palestrina supervised the revision of the music in the official liturgical books to accord with the changes made by order of the Council of Trent.


His music epitonized the sober, conservative aspect of the Counter-Reformation.


His individual lines tend to have an almost plainsong quality in that their curve often describes an arch, and motion is mostly stepwise, with infrequent and short leaps.

Purity of line is matched by purity of harmony, indicated by his most complsete avoidance of chromaticism. Vertically, the voices meet at the downbeat, except for the use of suspensionsDissonances may appear between downbeat and upbeat, provided the motion is stepwise.


Palestrina practicesd an exception to this rule which was later known as cambiata.


Palestrina’s style is what 17th c musicans had in mid when they spoke of stile antico


Early 15th c.; A Northern parctice (France and England) of using isorhythm in all voice of a motet.


Dunstable wrote 12 motets, 10 of which are panisorhythmic.


Dufay uses panisorhythm up to 1420s.


Panisorhythm was a logical evolution from isorhythm.; Its musical importance lies in the fact that it reached a degree of complexity and perfection which could not be heightened or improved.


As compositions became longer, difficulty of listening to and composing such works led to a move in the 1450’s to abandon isorhythm in favor of clear textures and audible texts.


Dufay‘s motet Vasilissa, ergo gaude

Parisian chanson

While some composers, like Gombert, continued the trend towards a balanced polyphonic texture in their chansons, the late 1520’s saw the emergence of an outwardly simpler style with Claudein de Sermisy as its chief exponent.


The clearly shaped melodies and homophonic (or lightly contrapuntal) texture of these Parisian chansons, the basis for Janequin’s remarkable series of descriptive works, later underwent considerable refinement, particulary with the influence of the madrigal.


Composers such as Lassus introduced a greater degree of sophistication, a broader range of moods, and a more responsive portrayal of the text to produce a chanson style of fascinating subtlety an depth.


Lassus: Helas quel jour (4 voice Parisian chanson in “madrigal” style, not 3 voice “ballade” style)

Pervading imitation

Early 16th c in continent, late 16th c in England.


The practice by the composers of the Post-Josquin generation of creating a continuous flow of sound, held together by all possible permutations of the technique of imitation.


The character of the imitation that pervades the texture changes: some are long, some are compressed; in some points each voice imitates the others exactly, in others, only a characteristic interval or general shape suffices.


It is important because the layout allowed composers to arrange and re-arrange the details of texture in an infinite number of ways


Gombert’s motet, Ave salus mundi


Tallis’ motet Salvator numdi I

Petrucci, Ottavino de’

Printed the first collection of polyphonic music from movable type in Venice in 1501, the Harmonice musices odhecaton A.


In all, the Odhecaton consisted of three volumes of polyphonic chansons from the late 15th c, including music by Josquin, Agricola, Issac and Compere.


By 1523, he had published 59 volumes (including reprints) of vocal and instrumental music (including chansons, Masses, motets, frottole, and laude), using the method of triple impression

piacevolezza/ gravita

Sweetness” or “grace” / “majesty” or “dignity“.


Two qualities singled out by poet Pietro Bembo as appropriate for being expressed by the sounds and rhythm of words.


Bembo’s analysis of poetry opened the way for musical settings in which more attention was paid to the way music can establish the reading of a poem.


This attitude was instrumental in the development of the madrigal



A group of poets in mid-16th Fr who led the discussions about music in the ancient wold.


Joachim du Bellay outlined the group’s aims in his treatis, La Deffence et illustration de la langue francoyse (1549), in which stressed Plato’s ideas of the ethical and moral quality of music, and Jean-Antoine de Baif, who devised the “vers et musique mesures a l’antique”

Power, Leonal

English 1370-1445.


Composers employed at Canterbury Cathedral.


Judying by the large quantity of his music which appears in the Old Hall Manuscript, it seems likely that he was in some way associated with its compilation.


Power was a pioneer in the development of the cyclic Mass; his Miss Alma redemptoris mater is the earliest known example of the genre.


His music, like Dunstable’s was advanced for its time in its use of full chordal sonority, and was both popular and highly influential on the Continent during the first half of the 15th c


It. form ricercare, “to seek“.


A type of instrumental piece (solo or ensemble) during the 16th and 17th c.


There are 3 main divisions just before its evolution to sonata and fugue.


1.  Early – These were improvisatory in style, often for solo instruments such as lute or bass viol.  Resembled prelude of the 16th c. 


No distinct shape, more like an exercise, having little musical interest.


2.  Middle – these were duos written for the instruction of beginners in part musica; exercises in sight reading, perhaps for singers as well as instrumentalists.


3.  Late (1550-1600)– the best known and must durable kind: equivalent of the vocal motet.


The difference between the motet and the ricercars are the instrumental pieces use a wider range of melody and fewer themes (sometimes ricercars are even monothematic).


At first they were mainly written in four parts, but A Gabrieli wrote one for 8 instruments and there were many keyboard transcriptions which added ornaments but preserved the basically polyphonic structure


Frescobaldi wrote several


4.  Evolution – from 1610, motet-like instrumental pieces are more often called “sonata” (G Gabrieli’s Sonata pian’e forte) and term “ricercar” tends to be associated with works which display some form of contrapuntal learnedness.  


Some works that were indistinguishable of the fugue were called ricercars as late as Bach.  In Bach’s Musica Offering, 1747, the two ricercari are placed among a set of canons and are fugal in style.


It is difficult by this stage to say how these differ from fugues, if in any way at all


Harmonic bass pattern of 4 simple chords often used as an ostinato in arie pour cantar and dance variations.


It was of Spanish-Italian origin and was used from 1550 into the 17th c.;


The bass pattern also appeared frequently in early Baroque period by composers.


The famous English folk song Greensleeves is based on a ground of the Romanesca form


French.; A significant Medieval type of vocal chanson of the form ABaAabAB.


One of the formes fixes or refrain forms.


Each of the 8 lines of text corresponds to repetition of music as follows: Line 1=A, 2=B, 3=a, 4=A, 5=a, 6=b, 7=A, 8=B.; Capital letters represetn the musical refrain.


The 4th line (A) is partial statement of the refrain and builds tensions as the listener’s expectations of B are thwarted until the last line.


Sometimes this last line contains an unexpected “punch line”, often humorous, sometimes grim.


Example: Dufay’s Adieu ces bons vins

Rore, Cipriano da

1516-65.; A Flemish composer who worked in Italy and was a leading madrigalist of his generation.


He was a sophisticated contrapuntist, and used all his resources of polyphony at his disposal in serving the text, including chromaticism.


He was an important innovator who set the trends that the madrigal was to follow in the second part of the century.


Dedicated to the poetry of Petrarch, de Rore’s central aim was to express the meaning of individual words and hence of the poem as a whole, through the use of extroverted rhetorical devices.


The tone of his madrigals is generally serious, as compared to the lighter fare of Arcadelt and Verdelot

Rue, Pierre de la

1460-1518.  Composer of the Burgundian court.


His music is impressive for the great individuality of its single lines and complex interaction among them.


La Rue shunned musical rhetoric, but he did tend to express the general mood of the poem.


His somber counterpoint is neither as tonally focused nor as rhytmcially driving as that of his Italian counterparts.

Hans Sachs

A 16th c Meistersinger who was portrayed by Wagner in his Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.


He wrote more than 6000 songs, mostly set in notes of equal length, syllabically declaimed except for more or less elaborate melismas, (blumen), which decorate the beginnings of lines and important points of articulation.

Sarum chants

 English chants (Anglican chant)


A simple type of harmonized melody used in Anglican Church for singing unmetrical texts, principally the psalms and the canticles (when these latter are not sung in a more elaborate setting).


The main principle is that the traditional Gregorian tones, i.e. short melody is repeated to each verse of the text; however, the typical “intonation” just before the “recitation” in Gregorian is usually omitted in the Anglican.


The harmonizations of the Anglican are in 4 voices and use full triads frequently (very chordal, lots of 3rds).


Considered to be an exlusively English product, this form of chant may be said to have had very near relatives in other countires, the closest of the being falsobordone.


Example: Tallis, Morley, Byrd, Gibbons

Savanarola, Girolamo

Late 15th c.  The friar, who at the death of Lorenzo in 1492, took charge of reforming the extravogent entertainments in Florence.


With puritanical zeal, he fought against worldly frivolity including secular songbooks, trivial literature, and immodest clothing.


As a result, few carnival songs survive and the best-known composers of these songs were foreigners Issac and Agricola.


But the largest number of surviving examples were by a native Florentine monk / composer/ organist: Coppini.


Savanarola eventually encountered enough opposition to his ideas that he was hanged and then burned in the Piazza della Signoria in 1498

Seconda prattica

Late 16th Early 17th c.


The term coined by Montiverdi’s brother for the new concerns regarding music’s relation to text.  Specifically in response to Artusi’s polemic against the freer use of dissonance in Monteverdi’s madrigal Curda Amarili of his 5th book of Madrigals.


In the “prima prattica”, perfection of harmony was considered above the importance of text.  This is exemplified in the Renaissance of music of Palestrina equal-voiced polyphony with a smooth line and carefully prepared and sparing use of dissonance.


Seconda prattica’s goal was to make the words the master of the music and not a servant.; It is chiefly concerned with the expressive setting of the text (e.g. de Rore, Marenzio, de Wert, Peri, Caccini, and Monteverdi).


This practice raised music and text (songs, motets, madrigals) to new levels of expression

Ludwig, Senfl

1486-1542.; Issac’s Swiss pupil who worked chiefly at the Bavarian court of Munich.


He is known to have edited Issac’s enormous Choralis Constantinus, a huge multi-volume set of 4-part setting of the mass Propers


His Masses and motets are rather conservative in style.


He was an ecelcic composer, comfortable in many styles, sacred and secular.


He wrote many German lieder and quodlibets, and was well versed in Franco-Flemish polyphony

Sermisy, Claudin de

1490-1562.; Along with Janequin, Sermisy is associated with the Parisian chanson of the 1530s and 1540s.


Most of his chansons are strightforward lyrical miniatures, set syllabically with short melismas.


The melodies closely follow the rhythms of the words they set.


Sermisy excelled at composing delicate and sophisticated love songs


This is in contrast to the direction taken by Nicholas Gombert and other post-Josquin composers in regards to the chanson.


Gombert and other such as Clemens and Willaert went the direction of equal-voiced polyphonic chanson that was typically dense and featuring heavy Netherlandish contrapuntalism and pervading imitation

soggetto cavato

“Carved subject”.; A device used twice by Josquin (1st half of 15th c ) in his Masses.


The CF is determined by the vowel sounds of a patron’s name.  The vowels are fit to conform (as closely as possible) to solmization syllables.


These solmization syllables (ut, re, mi, etc) then form the ostinato bass (CF) for the entire Mass.


Example: Josquin’s Missa Hercules dux Ferrariae


A type of poem used around 1500 in frottole and madrigals.


Each verse usually had eight lines of 11 syllables, with a rhyme scheme abababcc.


Musical settings of the strambotto often have only two phrases, each to repeated 4 times in alternation.; A separate phrase for the final couplet may be included.


The strambatto is sometimes through-composed, however.

Tallis, Thomas

English (1505-1585).


In 1543 this composer was appointed to the court of the Royal Chapel where he remained for the rest of his life.


In 1575 he and Byrd were granted a monopoly in music printing and later that year they produced the volume of Latin motets called Cantines sacrae.


He was brought up in the Catholic tradition, and his earlier music includes several Latin liturgical settings, often on a grand scale (e.g. Missa Puer natus est nobis).


After the accession of Elizabeth he continued to set Latin texts, but in a more restrained style, showing the influence of the syllabic setting required by the Anglican church.


Most of the tunes in his The Whole Psalter translated into English metere (1567), are in current use as hymn-tunes, and the third one was made famous by Vaughan Williams in his Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Taverner, John

English, 1490-1545.;


Composed many fine Masses (e.g. the six-part Corona spinea and Gloria tibi Trinitas) in a large-scale festival manner, not only showing great contrapuntal skill but also making a splendid sound.


His smaller-scale Masses point the way to the simpler style of church music which was to become common later in the century.


Best of all are the three antiphons to the Blessed Virgin Mary vast polyphonic edifices worthy of Oxfod Lady Chapel they were probably intended for.;


The famous section from the Sanctus of Missa Floria tibi Trinitas was often tabulated for keyboard and other instruments, too, and played an important role in the development of instrumental music in Britain


15th to mid 16th c.


The basic form of German secular song at this time.


First appearing in the Lochamer Leiderbuch, it was a pre-existing, borrowed tune, aka CD or leideweise, which was the only part to be underlaid with the complete text, and which occurred in the highest voice in the 15th C.


Texturally, it was a 3 part texture that alternate between 3-part note v. note and a 2 part framework with contrapuntally individual outer voices and a contratenor that filled in the harmony.


In the 16th C, the texutre was 4 voices with the CF no longer in the highist voice, but now in the familiar tenor voice.


The apogee of tenorlieder were the hofweisentenores, which had original tenors of a courtly chracter that reflected a noble sentiment.


Examples of Issac and Hofhaimer


Franco-Flemish, 1435-1511.


Contemporary of Dufay, Theorist, Composer (5 settings of Mass).


Wrote first published dictionary of musical terms in 1495, Terminorum Musicae diffinitorum.


His writing are a valuable source of information for instruments, performance practice, notation, etc. of the late 15th c (Renaissance).


His “middle” treatises cover principal subjects of theory (aesthetic, religious, educational, therapeutic value of music, mensural notation, solmization, art of singing, flute, and lute playing).


His last 2 treatises are about the art of composition [counterpoint?] (church modes, principles of consonance, dissonance, counterpoint, composition vs improvisation).


It is assumed that the musical examples from his treatises are that of his own composition.

Trent codices

Seven manuscript volumes of 15th c polyphonic music discovered in the library of the Cathedral of Trent (in northern Italy).


Over 1500 compositions are included in these volumes.


It is by far, the most extensive collection of 15th c music.


About 75 French, English, Italian, and German composers are represented, including: Dunstable, Power, Ciconia, Dufay, Binchois, Ockhegen, Busnois, and Issac

Tromboncino, Bartolomeo

d. ca. 1535.; Along with Marchetto Cara, one of the most distinguished frottolists, who worked in Mantua and was supported by Isabella d’Este after he murdered his unfaithful wife.

Vicentino, Nicola

1511-1572.  One of the “Classical madrigalists” of the late 16th c who followed in the footsteps of Willaert.


Also a composer of instrumental canzoni.


Vicentino was known for extoling the virtues of the underused chromatic and enharmonic tetrachords form the Ancient Greek Greater Perfect System.


He built a number of instruments capable of playing in these new pitch schemes and influenced the compositions of Lasso (one very chormatic composition of Lasso was the Prophetae sibyllarum).


In general, however, Vicentino‘s notions of full chormaticism did not catch on with other mid-16th c composers.

Victoria, Thomas Luis de

Spanish, 1548-1611.;


One of the 3 greatest Spanish polyphonists of the 16th c.


Spent many years in Rome, and his music reflects the contact he had with Palestrina.


Spent entire life involved with church music and eventually became a priest.;


Wrote about 20 Masses, 45+ motets, and a number of other composition with liturgical functions.; Wrote no madrigals nor any other secular music of any kind.


His music is devout, pious, and intense.


He is important because of his influential belief that music must not rely on pre-existing sources, but must reveal and intensify literary meanings.


His music is distinguished by its clarity and internal logic, yet genuinely dramatic flair.

Missa Laetatus sum for 12 voices, i.e. 3 choirs: parody on own motet.


Spanish songs (“counterpart” to Fr chanson, Gr lied, and It madrgal.)


1. In the 15th c, a vareity of Spanish secular poetry, generally pastoral or amorous, often set to music as a popular dance song.


The poetic form was closely related to It ballata and Fr virelai.;


Many of the songs in the late 13th c Cantigas de Santa Maria, though based on religious subjects, are villancicos in all but name.


Some are simple and chordal, others are contrapuntal.


Most are love-songs, but some have a religious theme.


The most important early composer of villancicos was Juan del Encina, who wrote them for the entertainment of his employers.


2. After 1500, the villancico developed along two different lines: as solo songs with vihuela accompaniment (Milan); and as unaccomp part song (Morales).


By the mid century the polyphonic villancico had absobed various elements from the Italian madrigal, but during the late 16th c the sacred villancico had begun to predominant.


3.; The 17th C villancico developed into a large-scale composition resembling the cantata: elaborate choral movements with instrumental accomp, alternating with short solo songs accomp by organ.

Important composer of the type was Duron


By the early 18th c, the sacred villancico had become so unashamedly secular in medium that it lost its devotional context, and the form died out.


4.; The Baroque villancico was cultivated in Latin America, esp Mexico.


Such works resembled the cantata, with arias and choruses, and also began to incorporate folk-songs and to develop stylized offshoots such as the aguinaldo and the adoracion.

votive antiphon

Any of the 4 important antiphons for the Blessed Virgin Mary (Marian antiphons) sung at the end of Compline, or a polyphonic setting of one of these.


The 4 Marian antiphons are “Alma Redemptoris Mater,” “Ave Regina caelorum”, “Regina caeli laetare” and “Salve Regina”.


These date from the 11th c and after.


They are rather more elaborate than the antiphons of the Psalms and canticles, and have been set polyphonically by numerous composers, esp in the 15th and 16th c

Willaert, Adrian

1490-1562.; A Flemish composer who spent much of his career as director of music in St. Mark’s church at Venice, Willaert was a pioneer in bringing text and music into a closer rapport (Musica Nova).


His pupils include Zarlino, de Rore, Vicentino, and A Gabrieli.


In his sacred compositions, the text determines every dimension of the musical form.


He was one of the first to insist that syllables be printed carefully under notes. 


We may assumes that the rules for text underlaying set forth by his pupil Zarlino were based on his practices and teachings.

Zarlino, Gioseffo

Italian, 1517-1590. 


The leading Italian theorist in the 16th C Maestro di cappella at St. Marks in 1565 and remained in that post until his death.


Famous for a series of large treatises,in which he tried to elucidate Greek music theories, as well as teach practical matters such as counterpoint.


Among his most influential ideas were the concept of word-painting as used in later madrigals; the different emotional qualitites of major and minor chord; and the suggestion of dividing the scale into equal intervals, as later developed into equal temperament (Le institutioni harmoniche “The Principle of Harmony), 1558 is based on the teaching of Willaert, and the rules of which were exemplified in his compositions.

Zwingli, Ulrich

Swiss Protestant before Calvin who, although he was a cultivated musician himself, was determined to keep music out of church services.


He even sanctioned the destruction of Swiss organs


A refrain, esp those of 15th c carol.


Also, in the 14th and 15th c England, it was the lowest part of a polyphonic piece, thus the germ “faburden

Burgundian chanson

3-voice songs with French text in the upper voice only, esp of rondeaux settings.


Composers: Dufay, Binchois, and Busnois (from the “Burgundian court“)/


Style influenced by the English, thus smooth rhythms and lots of 3rds and 6ths.


Examples: Dufay Je requeir a tous amoureux and Binchois Je ne vis onques

Burgundian motet

With the motet, the Burgundian composers were interested in intellectual organization.


Isorhythm was extended to panisorhythm, i.e. isorhythm featured in all voices.


Dufay constructed Nuper rosarum flores with proportional rhythms in the cantus firmus

Busnois, Antoine

1430-1492.  Composer in the service of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.


He wrote 30 chanson, most for three voices with French texts in the formes fixes, esp the rondeaux.


It is disputed as to whether Busnois or Dufay composed the first Missa L’homme Arme, but he was clearly influential during his time.; It is a strict cantus firmus mass with non-immitative counterpoint in various textures.


His contemporaries considered him second only to Ockeghem

Caurroy, Eustach du

1549-1609.; A French composer who became sous-maitre of the royal chapel.


He was one composer who embarked on a program of publishing his own music.; However, only two volumes came out: his Preces ecclesiasticae (1609).


From the second of these books his Victimae Paschali laudes is marked by a number of French traits.; This work is written for two choirs, one a full four-voice choir and the other comprising three soloists.; These choirs eventually unite at the end of the work.


The alternation of grand choeur and petit choeur became a norm in 17th C France for most of the music written for many voices.


The work is composed using faultless stilo antico counterpoint.


Caurroy was also an adherent of the tenents of musique mesuree a l’antique and as such storve to retain the qualities rather than the stresses of the Latin text.


His music is also marked with a thick web of syncopations and suspensions and a tendency to avoid cadences until the ends of double versicles.

Partial signature

A key signature in which at least one accidental is omitted.


It was common in the Renaissance when the “missing” accidental would not be in use in all vocal parts.


In baroque music, partial signature still occured, in minor keys with fewer flats than we now associated with their keys. 


For example, a key of c minor was often written with 2 flats, since the Ab was frequently raised to an A natural in a naturally ascending melodic scale.


One such Renaissance example is Josquin‘s motet Absolon fili mi, where some voice parts range in keys signature from 2-4 flats


Prince of Venosa, he was a composer and lutenist influenced by Luzzaschi, whose musical fame rests on his highly individual and expressive madrigals.


He published 6 books of madrigals in the late 16th and early 17th c, the first 4 of which are competent but not exceptional.


The last two are notable for their dramatic exclamation, linearly driven chromaticism, discontinuous textures, and harmonic license.


He was equally famous for his murder of his wife and her lover, after which he married Eleanor D’Este

Ground bass

Also known as Basso Ostinato, it is a recurring bass pattern that provides structural integrity to a composition.


With the rise of idiomatic instrumental in the 16th C, the practice of improvising or composing new melodies over a recurring bass pattern became widely popular, esp in music for lute, guitar, and harpsichord.


One familiar ground bass pattern is the romanesca, which was an air for singing ottave rima (8 11-syllable lines).  It had a standard harmonization in the bass as well as a treble formula.


In the Baroque period, the shortened ground bass patterns appear in chaconnes and passacaglia

Marchettus of Padua

Pomerium, 1318.  Describes the basis of the Italian system of notation, which involved dividing semibreves into groups set off by dots, with letter signs to indicate various possible combination in duple and triple subdivisions.


This system was convenient for florid melodic lines.

Marian antiphons

Four late antiphons composed to honor the virgin Mary


Style used by deRore where the homogeneity of style valued in the Renaissance was sacrificed for a melange which aimed to make the representation of the text more vivid and moving.


De Rore would change from one rhythmic scheme to another ,from diatonicism to chormaticism, from root chords to 6th chords, and from sharp keys to flat keys

Polychoral style

The singing of 2 or more choirs that alternate as well as sing together.


The Venetian polychoral style, exemplified by works of G. Gabrielli, are of the late Renaissance and early Baroque period, and involved spatially separate choirs.


This came about primarily because of the architectural peculiarities of the St. Mark’s Cathedral.;


The two opposing choir lofts caused a sound delay that it made it near impossible for two choirs to sing together.; So Willaert in the 1540’s started to develop an antiphonal style of writing whereby he used the delay to his advantage, having the choirs sing successive, often contrasting phrases of music.


Use of alternating choirs or groups did not begin with Willaert.  Antiphonal Psalmody of the Middle Ages, with its alternating groups of performers, featured the antiphon and the psalm verse often answering each other.


19th and 20th C composers have also employed this technique, namely Berlioz, Stravinsky, and Stockhausen




Notation showing graphically the location of the frets (as opposed to the actual pitches) on a lute, viol, or similar instrument that must be stopped to produce sound.


The 15th and 16th C term for beat, i.e. the unit of time measured by a movement of the hand, discussed in detail for the first time by Adan van Fulda in 1490.


One tactus actually comprised two hand motions, an upbeat and downbeat, of equal length if in duple time (tempus imperfectum) or of unequal length if triple time (tempus perfectum; the downbeat was twice as long as the upbeat)


Gaffurius in 1496 suggests that the tactus is equal to the pulse of a man breathing normally.  This is MM 60-70 for semibreve, which was the standard tactus length in the 16th c

Vers Mesure

A late 16th C French phenomenon in which long and short word syllables were set by long and short notes in the ratio of 2:1.


This was an attempt to reunite the intimate relationship between music and poetry of ancient Greece.


It was first used by Jean Antoine de Baif and was taken up in his Academie de poesie et musique (found 1570) which included Claude le Jeune, Thibault de Courrille and others.


This style persisted into the 17th C by composers of the air de cour