I hope you all enjoyed Unit Two: The Middle Ages in our Musical Eras study last month. After getting started with Music Appreciation, the Middle Ages really started to show us how music began to form and evolve.
This month we’re moving on to The Renaissance. This musical time spanned only about 200 years from 1400-1600, which starts about a hundred years after other disciplines. The music during this period was heavily influenced by the developments which define the Early Modern period; the rise of humanistic thought, the recovery of the literary and artistic heritage of Greece and Rome, increased innovation and discovery, the growth of commercialization and the Protestant Reformation. This led to the emergence of a common, unifying musical language, known as the polyphonic style from the Franco-Flemish school.
Prior to the Renaissance, music was passed down by word of mouth and heritage. However, with the invention of the Gutenberg press, distribution of music and musical theory became possible on a wide scale. Women became more prominent in public music venues. Music continued to be freed from medieval constraints, in range, rhythm, harmony, form and notation, made way for new personal expression. Composers, such as Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria and William Boyd, found ways to make music expressive of the text they were accompanying. Secular music made its rise by absorbing techniques from sacred music and vice versa. Popular secular music forms, such as the chanson and madrigal, spread throughout Europe. Masses and motets also saw a rise with the unification of polyphonic practice, during the second half of the sixteenth century.
Students may use these Composer Notebooking Pages to record their findings on specific composers of the era. This is a great way to explore more about this era and add in a few extra assignments to complete your weekly lessons. Simply download the printable below for your lessons this month. There are only three total lessons in this unit. Each lesson contains quite a bit of information, as well as some detailed listening exercises. It might be more beneficial to split up the lessons into two or even three parts during the week to spread out the reading, research and listening exercises. Be sure to continue reviewing the listening exercises you have already heard in Units One and Two. These will be particularly important as we continue to move forward and listen to differences and similarities in the musical styles and eras.
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