During the late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance a system of written music similar to what is used today was developed. This revelation enabled people in different parts of Europe to enjoy the same music. Music from the south, Italy, was lyrically based, where as music from the north, Germany and England, was more focused on instruments and harmony.
This lesson introduced lots of vocabulary:
Madrigal - secular song, lyrically based on popular poetry
A cappella - singing without instrumental accompaniment
Word Painting - Musical technique of matching musical pitch with lyrics
Chromaticism - Musical technique of using shocking pitches to draw emotion
Polyphony - Music with two or more independent lines of melody
The Education Portal is a free internet educational resource which happens to offer several videos on the subject of Renaissance Music.
- Songs of the Renaissance: Madrigals and Vocal Parts
- Renaissance Music: Sacred vs Secular
- Renaissance Composers: Josquin, Palestrina and Dufay
- Composers of the Renaissance Period: Instrumental Music of Byrd and Gabrieli
- Rise of Renaissance Polyphony: Dufay, des Prez, and Palestrina
- Schools of Renaissance Composers: English and Italian
- Instrumental Music of the Renaissance: Instruments, Composition and Dance
- Dance of the Renaissance: History and Forms
In addition to the above videos, the Sacred Music Series below weaves the history of music with examples of current performers - The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers - singing the music of the past.
Sacred Music Series: Episode 1 - The Gothic Revolution
Sacred Music Series: Episode 2 - Palestrina
Sacred Music Series: Episode 3 - Byrd and Tallis
Sacred Music Series: Episode 4 - Bach and the Lutheran Legacy
After learning a little about Renaissance Music, the kids were separated into two groups and given sheet music for a portion of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
Here's the video. The best part is at the end when the two groups sing together.
Not bad for only 20 minutes of practice!
To see the other activities from our Renaissance Unit Study please visit our History Page.