As discussed by Greenberg (2009), the Renaissance saw many changes and advancements over a two hundred year span of evolution in music. The intellectual and social trends strayed from the absolute power of the church and secular music became admired and composed for the beauty of its art. Renaissance composers developed a more expressive style by clearly articulating lyrics “musica reservata” and a process called word painting or tone painting which reflected and intensified the actual meaning of the words.
Further discussed by Greenberg (2009), Renaissance Humanism reawakened an interest in Greco Roman antiquity and a secular quest for scientific answers to life’s questions. Renaissance theoreticians expanded upon Pythagoras’ musical theories of harmony and developed what today is called a major triad, a blending of three different pitches blended in a mellow homogenous way.
According to Greenberg (2009), Renaissance Composers developed the tonal system of coordinating various melodies and polyphonic texture in order to be consonant and equally important to the composition. The evolution of the tonal system provided the ability “for a single melody to be underlain by a changing harmonic accompaniment” (Greenberg, 2009) called homophony which creates a harmonized melody. Musical perspective was also developed at the same time linear perspective was invented in art. Similar to art, a musical homophonic texture consists of a foreground, ...
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...rate, melodically plain (similar to a plainchant) and lacking embellishment, the polyphony “mellifluous and homogeneous with a marked lack of chromaticism and dissonance” and scored for vocals only. The Baroque is substantially different: rhythm of dance music, melodic melodies are long and ornate; Polyphony and harmony full of “chromaticism and dissonance, driving each phrase forward in search of consonance and resolution”; and scored for both vocals and many instruments. The Baroque sacred music expresses itself in its sacred music as much as it’s secular music; “The nature of the religiosity is one of unrestrained joy and celebration, and the emotional impact is almost physical in its energy and exuberance” (Greenberg, 2009).
In conclusion, music being reflective of its time, displays its societal attitudes in its secular music as well as its sacred music.
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