imitative counterpoint

voices imitate the motive or phrase

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usually at a different pitch level

all voices move together in essentially the same rhythm
end of great schism


one pope – in Rome

end of the Byzantine Empire


Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople

Christopher Columbus


encounter with the new world

end of Hundred Years’ War
Council of Trent


discussed the Catholic Church’s response to the Reformation


intellectual movement of the renaissance

sought to revive ancient learning

grammar, poetery, history, philosophy

centered on ancient greek and latin writings

music is a language

advancements in art

nudity is beautiful


depth of field

realistic treatment of light

more detail in background figures


group of salaried musicians and clerics

associated with a ruler instead of a building

began around the turn of the 15th century

King Louis IX (France) and King Edward I (England)

performers, composers, scribes

sacred and secular music

accompanied their rulers on journeys

famous patron families

Medici (Florence) – Isaac, Arcadelt, Donatello, Michaelangelo


Sforza (Milan) – Josquin, da Vinci


Este (Ferrara) – Josquin, Obrecht, de Rore


Gonzaga (Mantua)

international style


exchange of national traditions and ideas

due to traveling chapels with their rulers

some composers changed their locales

English, French, and Italian

new counterpoint in the 1400s

3rd and 6th are consonant, along with 5th and 8ve

strict control of dissonance

avoidance of // 5ths and 8ves

Liber de arte contrapuncti

(A Book on the Art of Counterpoint)


Johannes Tinctoris

VERY critical of older music

strict rules for introducing dissonances

// 5ths and 8ves now forbidden

new distinctions in music in the 1400s

expanded range of each voice and overall

more voices – now 4, even 5-6 

voices become more equal

music follows the text

Pythagorean intonation

Middle Ages


4ths, 5ths, and 8ves perfectly tuned

3rds and 6ths sound out of tune

just intonation


Bartolome Ramis de Pareia

3rds and 6ths are in tune

one 4th, one 5th, and one 3rd are out of tune

chromatic pitches not in tune


mean-tone temperament

5ths are tuned small so M3rds sound well

there were various types of temperaments

equal temperament

first described in late 1500s 

each semitone is exactly the same

this is the system used today


(The Twelve-Stringed Lyre)


Heinrich Glareanus

adds 4 new modes to the traditional 8

(Hyper)Aeolian and (Hyper)Ionian


the use of two or more successive semitones moving in the same direction

used as an expressive device

evolution of printing

facilitated wider distribution of music

amateurs now able to buy and play notated music

way for composers to make money

national styles

amateurs preferred to sing in their own language

local traditions developed, sacred and secular


Harmonice musices odhecaton A

(One Hundred Polyphonic Pieces)


Ottaviano Petrucci


first collection printed entirely from moveable type

first book in a series


one volume for each part or voice

a complete set was needed to perform any piece

for use at home or in social gatherings

began as printing developed (1500 on)

contenance angloise

(English quality)

as referred to by Martin Le Franc

frequent use of 3rds and 6ths

simple melodies, syllabic, homophonic


parallel first-inversion chords


rule-based and “improvised”


parallel first-inversion chords


two voices are written, the tenor follows the rule


form of English polyphony

freely composed, mostly homorhythmic

settings of Latin texts

Old Hall Manuscript

principal source of English polyphony in early 1500s

consists mostly of settings of the Mass Ordinary

also motets, hymns, and sequences


form of English polyphony

derived from the medieval carole

2-3 part setting of a poem

English, Latin, or a mixture of both

many stanzas

burden: refrain between each stanza

John Dunstable

English composer


isorhythmic motets, Mass Ordinary sections, chant, free settings of liturgical texts, and secular songs

uses natural rhythmic delamation of the text

paraphrase mass

a chant is elaborated in the top voice

rhythm is added and ornamented

notes are added

Josquin’s Missa Pange lingua

motets 1400-1450

any sacred work with texted upper voices above a cantus firmus, whether sacred or secular

almost any polyphonic composition on a Latin text

motets since 1500

almost any sacred polyphonic composition

in any language


ruled by independent sovereigns until 1477

capital was Dijon

Philip the Bold – very large chapel

Philip the Good – also maintained minstrels

Charles the Bold – instrumentalist and composer

Burgundian chansons

any polyphonic setting of a French secular poem

fine amour

rondeau form (ABaAabAB)


modal cadences with a Landini decoration;

Burgundian jump-through cadences



Burgundian composer

at the court of Philip the Good

early-mid 15th century

De plus en plus

Burgundian jump-through cadence

contratenor sounds a 5th below the penultimate tenor note, then leaps up an 8ve, to a 5th above the tenor’s final note

sounds like a V-I cadence to modern ears

Guillaume Du Fay

Burgundian composer

associated with the Burgundian court

early-mid 15th century

traveled frequently

many chansons, blending national traits

Se la face ay pale

setting the Mass Ordinary

through the 15th century

began composing Ordinary as a coherent whole

at first, there were pairs of sections

polyphonic mass cycle

simply called “mass”

Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei

all these composed by the same person as a whole

plainsong mass

each section of the mass is based on an existing chant for that text

(kyrie used for kyrie, etc.)

melodic motive in one or all voices used at the beginning of each movement of a mass
motto mass
uses a head-motive as a linking device between the sections of the mass
cantus-firmus mass or tenor mass

use of a head-motive combined with another link

such as using the same cantus firmus (usually placed in the tenor)

cantus-firmus/imitation mass

uses the tenor of a polyphonic chanson and borrows elements from other voices as well

originally for three voices

contratenor voice added during this time

Du Fay’s Missa se la face ay pale

commissioned Mass Ordinary settings

15th century

institutions or private patrons;

for special occasions or devotions

Du Fay’s Missa Se la face ay pale

national influences

France: structure and rhythmic interest

England: 3rds and 6ths, controlled dissonances


late 15th century

same time as Busnoys

served kings of France

known for his masses and chansons

Missa prolationum


late 15th century

same time as Ockeghem

served Charles the Bold and Maximilian of Hapsburg

known for his chansons

Je ne puis vivre

chansons of Ockeghem and Busnoys

transitional between the old and new styles

frequent use of formes fixes


equal voices

multiple voices derived from a single notated voice
same intervals, but in the opposite direction
same notes, but backward
mensuration canon
voices move at different rates of speed by using different mensuration signs

late 15th century

Franco-Flemish composer

traveled widely

known for masses, motets, and chansons

frequent imitation


late 15th century

traveled widely

worked for the Medici family in Florence

worked for Holy Roman Emperor

known for his German Lieder

music of Obrecht and Isaac

structure determined by the text

4-6 voices, nearly equal

imitative counterpoint and homophony common

bass now has harmonic foundation

full triads

less formes fixes



late 15th to early 16th century

published by Petrucci

hailed by Martin Luther after his death

known for his motets, masses, and chansons

no formes fixes

text depiction and text expression


German Lieder
four-part settings of popular songs or newly composed melodies in similar style
point of imitation
voices enter at some interval of time with the same melody, sometimes at different pitch levels
text depiction

music reflects the meaning of the text

musical gestures reinforce text images


text expression

music reflects the meaning of the text

music conveys emotions suggested by the text


imitation mass or parody mass

mass that imitates another polyphonic work

borrow extensively from all voices of the model

three theses

no more indulgences

no more paying for church services

no more paying for church positions

three branches of protestantism

Lutheran: Germany and Scandinavia

Calvinist: Switzerland, Low Countries, France, Britain

Anglican (Church of England): England

Lutheran music and liturgy

people have a larger role

most things in the vernacular; some Latin retained

kept much of the Catholic liturgy and music

Lutheran chorales

Lutheran chorale

metric, rhymed, strophic poem and a melody in simple rhythm sung in unison, without harmonization or accompaniment

with a monophonic choir

Ein feste Burg

4 sources for Lutheran chorales

adaptations of Gregorian chant

existing German devotional songs

secular songs given new words (contrafactum)

new compositions

secular songs given new words to be sacred
polyphonic chorale settings

for use at home and at school

for performances by church choirs

to be sung instead of “love diddies” etc.

chorale motets

more elaborate settings of Lutheran chorales

some are cantus-firmus style, others imitative


canonical style

used for Lutheran chorale motets

tune in the highest voice

block chords underneath

little contrapuntal figuration

continues today

Calvinist music and liturgy

centered in Geneva

everything plain and bare, including the music

no instruments or polyphony

metrical psalms

Calvinist psalm settings

metered, rhythmic, strophic

in the vernacular

newly composed melodies or adapted from chant

published in psalters

polyphonic psalm settings

Calvinist psalm tunes set polyphonically

for home use

for amateur singers

for 4-5 voices

tune in the tenor or superius

simple chordal, cantus-firmus, and imitation styles

Church of England’s development

;Henry VIII -;established church, catholic in doctrine

Edward VI -;adapted protestant doctrine;

Catherine – restored Catholicism

Elizabeth I – protestantism again, tolerated Catholics


Service (Anglican church)
Matins, Holy Communion, and Evensong
Great Service (Anglican church)
contrapuntal and melismatic setting of the Service
Short Service (Anglican church)
syllabic, chordal setting of the Service
Anthem (Anglican church)

corresponds to the Latin motet

polyphonic, in English

sung by the choir

set texts from the Bible or Book of Common Prayer

full anthem (Anglican church)

anthem for unaccompanied choir


verse anthem (Anglican church)

one or more solo voices

organ or viol accompaniment

alternates with passages for full choir

choir doubled by instruments


late 16th to early 17th centuries

leading English composer

Catholic, but served the Church of England

member of the royal chapel

known for his Latin masses and motets

Gradualia: 2 books of polyphonic Mass Propers


mid to late 16th century

Italian composer of church music

melodies resemble plainchant

pure, elegant, serene polyphony

Pope Marcellus Mass

rumored to have saved polyphony