Background on Renaissance Music

The Renaissance period can be described as a time where human accomplishments and exploration were the focus of life. Power in the church weakened so the need for music was not as dominant. Musical importance shifted from the church to the court. Education was considered a status only acquired by the upper middle class and aristocrats. So naturally, every person that was educated was expected to be trained in music as well. In the Renaissance era, a capella music was widely heard because the need for instrumental accompaniment was not popular. The texture of Renaissance music is dominantly polyphonic. Composers would use their music to portray ideas or thoughts about poetry or images. The music usually featured four, five or six parts that were all similar. The use of bass was first introduced during this time period. There were two main types of sacred music: the mass and the motet.


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