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MUSIC IN THE CULTURE OF THE RENAISSANCE *
EDWARD E. LOWINSKY
Of all cultural manifestations none has been so long and so consistently neglected by the historian of Western civilization as music. This may have been due on the one hand to the inaccessibility of early music to the layman and on the other to the preoccupation of the historian of music with the immediate and gigantic task of transcribing, editing, and analyzing the vast body of music that has come down to us from the early Middle Ages. The advent of recordings of old music1 and the beginnings of a musical historiography centered around the cultural life of the time 2 are slowly initiating a change which, it may be hoped, will be reflected in the work of the future historian of civilization.3 The interpretation of the Renaissance in particular has been subject to such sharply divergent views, the clash of opinions has been so violent,4 that the historian of culture cannot fail to remember that there is one body of evidence he has not taken into account: that is the evidence of music. He may seek an answer to these principal questions: does music occupy a place in Renaissance culture important enough to warrant the assumption that it has something to contribute to the understanding of that period? If it does, what are the changes and innovations in the music of the Renaissance and how do they relate to the surrounding culture? In other words: what criteria can be established that will allow a clear differentiation between the music of the Middle Ages and that of the Renaissance?
following is a somewhat enlarged version of a paper read at the Renaissance session of the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in December 1952 on the invitation and under the chairmanship of Prof. Wallace K. Ferguson. A revised version was also read to the University Seminar on the Renaissance at Columbia University in May 1953. 1 The most comprehensive and responsible collection available thus far is the Anthologie Sonore, ed. Curt Sachs. The recordings of medieval and Renaissance music by Pro Musica Antiqua (Safford Cape) deserve special recommendation. 2 To mention only a few works we refer the reader to H. Besseler, Musik des Mittelalters und der Renaissance, Handbuch der Musikwissenschaft (Potsdam, 1931). P. H. Lang, Music in Western Civilization (New York, 1941). A. Einstein, The Italian Madrigal, 3 vols. (Princeton, 1949). This approach goes back to Ambros' Geschichte der Musik (1862-68) and Winterfeld's Joh. Gabrieli und sein Zeitalter (1834). 3 After these lines were written, The Mind of the Middle Ages (200-1500) by Frederick B. Artz (New York, 1953) appeared, one of the few books that attempt to give music its place in the unfolding of medieval civilization. 4 See Wallace K. Ferguson, The Renaissance in Historical Thought, Five Cen. turies of Interpretation (Cambridge, Mass., 1948). 509 * The
EDWARD E. LOWINSKY I
Chronologically, a good case can be made for a rough delimitation of the music of the Renaissance to the period of 1450-1600. In so doing the music historian is faced with the problem of how to interpret the period from 1300-1450. It cannot be denied that around 1300 a clear and unmistakable break occurred in the development of music, a turn so obvious that the musicians of that time themselves felt compelled to speak of an "ars nova." This is the title of the treatise on music written c. 1320 by the French musician and poet Philippe de Vitry,5 friend of Petrarch. This is probably the first time in Western music that musicians speak of a "modern art." The "ars nova" of the Trecento has enough elements in common with both medieval and Renaissance concepts that its interpretation either as late Middle Ages or as early Renaissance can be defended on good grounds. In order to establish clear criteria we will concentrate on the more mature period between 1450 and 1600. With the analytical tools thus prepared we may then return to a brief examination of the Renaissance elements in the music of the Trecento. To press such an analysis into the confines of one paper necessitates a view at which distances shrink and differences are reduced to the most fundamental outlines. It would take a book to describe what is left out.6 But we are here not concerned with description but with an analysis of the significance of musical phenomena within the culture of Renaissance society. Geographically, the Netherlands (then including northern France, Belgium, and Holland) and Italy are the leading nations in music from 1450-1600, as they are in the visual arts. France proper, Germany, England, and Spain compete for second place, while Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Bohemia, Portugal, and other smaller centers of music are on the periphery. The steady rise of music in the fifteenth century is reflected in the reorganization and consolidation of the great musical establishments and in the increasing number and prestige of the musicians employed. I will illustrate this with data from two vital centers of Renaissance music, the Papal Choir in Rome and the famous choir of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. The Papal Choir in Rome had ten singers in 1442.7 In 1483 their
5 For the most recent literature on de Vitry as poet and his circle of friends see D. W. Robertson, Jr., "The 'Partitura Amorosa' of Jean de Savoie," in Philological Quarterly XXXIII (1954), 1-9. 6 Cf. Gustave Reese, Music of the Renaissance (New York, 1954), a magnificent achievement. 7 See for the following F. X. Haberl, " Die r6mische 'Schola cantorum' und die papstlichen Kapellsanger bis zur Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts," Vierteljahrs-
number had increased to 24, in the years following and throughout the sixteenth century the membership fluctuated, rising at times to 30 singers, but holding usually more closely to 24, which number came to be regarded as the ideal size for the Papal Choir. Besides, in 1480, another musical institution was founded in Rome which, under Pope Julius II, became known as the Capella Giulia and which functioned in the Basilica of St. Peter. By its use of the organ it was distinguished from the Papal Choir functioning for the Papal court in the Sistine chapel, where no instruments were allowed to intrude upon the sacred services. As the number of singers grew, their privileges increased. Pope Eugenius IV created the economic foundation for the Papal Choir with his bull Et si erga of 1444 in which the income of the singers from benefices, prebends and canonries, as distinguished from their monthly salaries, was stabilized. The Papal singers were to be preferred in their claims on such ecclesiastical benefices to any other claimants. Under Pope Nicholas V (1447-55) their salary was increased from 5 to 8 ducats monthly. Under every new incoming Pope the privileges of the Papal singers were confirmed in a new bull and substantial amplifications were added. Under Innocent VIII (1484-92) certain provisions were made which illuminate the actual situation through the prohibitions proposed: a Papal singer shall not keep a concubine, he shall not frequent taverns and other inhonesta loca, he shall always appear in his choir gown, and he shall not wear his hair down to the neck. The same document provides that cardinals shall not keep in their houses trumpeters, other musicians, buffoons, and clowns. At the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp 8 we find a similar development in the fifteenth century, with the difference, however, that the Antwerp establishment surpassed the Papal Choir in size and magnificence and that its reorganization preceded that of Rome by about one generation. In an edict of 1410, Pope John XXIII granted the chapter's request to have the revenues of 12 prebends reserved for singers and the distribution made solely on the basis of musical merit. This edict paved the way for the engagement of lay singers, whereas previously singers could be selected from the ranks of priests only. It means, in other words, the admission of the pro8 The data on Antwerp are based in part on my excerpts from the transcriptions of records made by Leon de Burbure, one-time archivist of the Cathedral. De Burbure's vast literary estate is today in the City Hall of Antwerp. I gave a sketch of the music in Antwerp in a paper on The Musical Life of a Flemish City in the 16th Century read before the New York Chapter of the American Musicological Society, Feb., 1947 (see abstract in Bulletin of the American Musicological Society , 23).
but also. da sind bestellt die besten Musici. reports: Die Frauenkirche zu Antorff (Antwerp) ist uebergross. They were responsible for the marvellous development of churchmusic throughoutthe Renaissance.9 Adult males sang not only the bass and tenor parts. hymns. in the diary of his Flemish journey (1520-21). LOWINSKY fessional musician into the church service. in brief. dass keins das andere irrt. Kretzschmar in Musikgeschichtliche Stichproben aus deutscher Laienliteratur des 16. Jahrhunderts. were celebrated to the accompanimentof polyphonic masses. At least this is what Albrecht Diirer. at receptions of foreign dignitaries. the celebrationof a Solemn Mass was inevitable.singers. 119). magnificats. who was responsiblefor their musical education and received payment from special funds for their upkeep. Musical organizations such as the establishments at Rome and Antwerp served as models for smaller organizationsin other towns and countries. 1910]. in 1549. 69. Und haben allda kostliche Stiftungen. Liliencron [Leipzig. On important political occasions. at the joyous 9 The number of singers at the Cathedral of Antwerp surpasses by far that customary in other churches. in particular High Mass and Vespers. To the singers must be added the organist and the player of the carillons. in Festschrift fiir R. The increase in the number of singers was accompaniedby an increase in salaries. gratuities. and that Flanders was the leading center in Western music and the creative force behind the great development of the art of counterpointand choral singing of the Renaissance. die man haben mag. The soprano was sung by choir boys. while the magister grammatices took care of the boys' humanisticeducation. 63. The figures mentioned reflect two facts: that Antwerp in the fifteenth century was slowly rising to the position it occupied throughoutthe first sixty years of the sixteenth century as the richest industrialcity of Europe. a Te Deum would invariably be sung after a victoriousbattle. especially Easter. It is well to rememberthe social characterof church functions and church music at the time. at the conclusionof a treaty. No expenses were spared for composers. privileges. Marian antiphons. Needless to say.512 EDWARD E. the alto part. through special training in falsetto singing. In 1443 the Cathedralboasted 51 singers. in 1480. and instrumentalistsfor the celebrationof the high holidays. whose numbergrew from six to twelve between 1401 and 1445. The great services. by a steady rise in the economic and social position of the singers in Rome and Antwerp. . motets. this gave rise to a great improvementin the musical services. I wonder whether this has something to do with the strange practice of celebrating several offices in the Cathedral at the same time because of the vastness of the edifice. v. also dass man viel Amt auf einmal darinnen singt. They lived in the house of the magister choralium. (Quoted by H.
Vereeniging voor Nederlandsche Muziekgeschiedenis XVI. 217-8. wood and brass instruments and-most tamsurprising-with bourines. Turrini. I am inclinedtherefore to interpret tamburinias tambourines. 188). F. during wartime a Da pacem Domine in diebus nostris would be sung in solemn procession. The choirbooks of the time consist of vocal parts only.Musik des Mittelaltersund der Renaissance (Potsdam. which I studied in Florence. a triumphal Mass with organs. Besseler. trumpets. Cf. Otto Kinkeldey quoted the report of this extraordinary performanceof a solemn Mass in his Orgel und Klavier in der Musik des 16. was reprinted by B. The Italian term for kettledrum is tamburo. it occurs frequently in Italian inventories of instruments from the 16th century (cf. 1950). 41. also note 53. that sang in alternation. flutes.see H. 11See Tijdschrift. But tambourines in the performance of a solemn Mass reveal a secular gaiety invading the sacred sphere that-together with the practice of basing a polyphonic Mass on worldly dittiesgoes a long way in explaining the increasingly bitter complaints about the profanation of church music throughout the sixteenth century which culminated in the strictures and regulations of the Council of Trent. and with two choirs. 180. 1931). 87. according to a description printed in that same year. Gamba (Venice. The impact of these lay congregations not only on spirit0 The imprint of 1475. 1941]. Bukofzer. Jahrhunderts(Leipzig. 1836). He interpretsthe tamburinias kettledrums. G.l0 It is from contemporary records of this kind that we learn of such unorthodox performances of a Mass with two alternating choirs. With regard to the mention of alternating choirsso long before Willaert. leaving participation of instruments to the discretion of the choirmaster and the resources available to him.Studies in Medievaland RenaissanceMusic (New York. 182-4. Expense accounts of the Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap at 'sHertogenbosch for 1531-32 published by Albert Smijers11 refer to a payment for diverse musicians "met tamboreynen en herpen" during a procession for Our Lady. 1910). At the wedding of Costanzo Sforza with Camilla of Aragon in 1475 there was celebrated. each of 16 singers. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries a great number of lay congregations were founded. Religious music was not limited to the Church. 26. The use of tambourines for dance music is attested to by paintings of the time. L'Accademia Filarmonicadi Verona [Verona.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 513 occasion of the arrival of a royal heir. They concentrate on problems of notation and counterpoint. . 165-6. and examplesin M. The theorists are silent about such practical questions. numerous tambourines. and indeed we have innumerable compositions based on the text and melody of this antiphon throughout the sixteenth century.
but favored the extensive participation of instrumental music. and herewith the ceremony is ended. During the service he played in support of or in alternation with the choir. From the account books it appears that the musical service of the Confraternity differed from that of the cathedral in that it had only a small choir. Sansovino. and artisans of that city. In Italy there was a similar movement whose antecedents were the medieval congregations called Laudesi. and a priest. In 1506 the Confraternity installed in the Chapel of Our Lady its own magnificent organ and engaged its own organist. Before and after the singing the organist played on the organ. the picture of the Madonna. especially of wind instruments. the singers of the Lauda. Pulci. One of the most brilliant congregations was the Confraternity of Our Lady in Antwerp whose membership was made up of the wealthy merchants. whereas the cathedral ordinarily employed only the organ in support of its large choir. 1546) describes their services as follows: "In Florence there are several guilds of artisans. LOWINSKY ual but also on artistic and musical development is far from being fully explored. A similar magnificence can be found. But in many of . They usually owned a chapel within one of the larger churches of the town and were devoted to the Virgin Mary or to a particular Saint. an organist. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries artisan guilds organized themselves in a manner similar to the confraternities in the North. organ. Maria Novella. still today a specialty of the Netherlands. twelve choirboys. a spiritual song in the vernacular. bankers. in the Italian aristocratic academies flourishing in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. and Giambullari and after each laud the singers change and when they have finished they unveil. The service was preceded by ringing of the church bells and playing of the carillons. to the accompaniment of organ playing and singing. among them the guild of Or San Michele and S. Different academies were devoted to different aims.514 EDWARD E. Every Saturday after Nones they gather in Church and sing there five or six lauds or ballades for four voices [on texts] composed by Lorenzo de Medici. it provided for a daily service to be celebrated between 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening by four singers. however. and instruments instituted by the wealthy merchants of the Antwerp Confraternity. the choirmaster." Obviously the modest musical service of the Florentine artisan guilds celebrated only once a week cannot compare with the splendor of the daily vesper service for choir. The charter of the Confraternity was written in 1482. in his Annotazioni al Novelliero del Boccaccio (Venice.
still preserves today a marvellous collection of instruments and of music written and printed in addition to detailed inventories and recordsdating back to the earliest days of its existence. Naturally. and composers. Einstein. and during carnival.role. 1941).' which are solely places of reunion for singers. in many cities of Italy there are several houses called 'academies. Its officialpurpose was the restorationof music in the sense of the ancient Greeks. I. 14Here Einstein adds [" a day. cit. On special occasions such as May 1. Giuseppe Turrini.whereas the confraternityin Antwerp engaged performersfrom outside its own ranks. ..l2 Founded for the express purpose of cultivating music.op. and after the performanceof their most recent compositionsand the termination of the concert usually discuss some musical problem on which occasion everyonesets forth his opinion in a pleasant mannerand concludes his discussionswith profit to all. players. he had to set to music whatever text the Academicianswould select. . the Academy engaged famous composersand instrumentalistswho were to teach the 29 selected members. 3 vols.. the day of foundation. 1 . LAccademia Filarmonicadi Verona (Verona.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 515 them music played an essential. 19. and that the Academicianshad to occupy themselves with musical compositionand performance. The two main differences between the Antwerp confraternityand the VeroneseAcademy are that the Academy was primarily devoted to the cultivation of secular music as compared to the religious nature of the musical in performances Antwerp.] 14 The most famous mastersof the town usually take part in them. The Academy met weekly for a kind of Collegiummusicum from which strangers were excluded. The AccademiaFilarmonicaof Verona. The significanceof the Italian academies for the flowering of Cinquecento music in that country was well recognized at the time. see Turrini. (Princeton. Pietro Cerone of Bergamo wrote in his great musical compendium (El melopeo y maestro) of 1613 3 ". 1949)."] From the statutes of the AccademiaFilarmonica in Verona it would appear that the gatherings there took place once a week.founded on the 1st of May 1543. there would be performancesfor a widerpublic on the basis of invitations issued.in some of them a central. 13Quoted by A. 199. The composerhad to be available for private teaching of the members every day after Nones. who devote themselves to their art for two or three hours [. The Italian Madrigal." The French " academiede poesie et musique" founded by Baif in 1570 and preceded by the Pleiade led by Ronsard and by Jean Dorat's academy was undoubtedly influencedby Italian models.
The French Academiesof the Sixteenth Century (London. It does not behoove the courtier to use wind instruments. The noble instrument par excellence is the viol and the sweetest music is that produced by a quartet of viols. . In his De vita sana he recommendedquiet and harmoniousmusic for voice and lyre whenever the soul is out of tune and beset by melancholy ("Mercurius.1 The greatest centers for the cultivation of secularmusic were the numerouscourts in Italy. 1902). and it also fires the spirit of the musician.published in 15Cf. Marsilio Ficino. 1943). The right occasion for music making is when dear friends meet in company and no other business is at hand. 0. Nicola Vicentino writes in his musical treatise L'antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica of 1555 on the vocal and instrumental chambermusic performedat the court of Ferrara. 1947). It is characteristicthat the Netherlands with its paucity of courts and its multitude of churchesand congregations led in churchmusic. for their aspect softens the soul of the listener and makes it more accessibleto the sweetness of music. Well-known is his description of courtly music. his insistence that the courtierhimself be able to sing and to play but that he wait for the right time and the right company and engage in performingmusic and using the instrumentsbefitting his nobility. believed that music was for the soul what medicinewas for the body. Yates. the kingdoms. See also F. duchies. Ficino himself loved to sing and to improviseto the accompanimentof his lyre in the circle of the academy. but much to be preferredis solo song with the accompaniment of a viol. and especially when ladies are present. Pythagoras.516 EDWARD E. that chamber music be produced with intimate and soft tone as against the massive sonority of Church or open air music. Kristeller. Luigi Dentice. LOWINSKY the model for the academieswas the Platonic academy in Florence at the time of Lorenzode Medici. and the patrician homes of the cities. A. a Neapolitan aristocrat. its guiding spirit. We have many reportson the role of music in the social life of the Italian courts. The most famous is contained in Baldessar Castiglione's II Cortegiano of 1528. Plato iubent dissonantem animam vel moerentem cithara cantuque tam constanti quam concinno componere simul atque erigere "). 788ff. Of his many fine points I single out one. The Philosophy of Marsilio Ficino (New York. della Torre. Ensemble singing is praised. while Italy with its many independentpolitical centers and its academiesled in the development of secular music. and P. Storia dell'Accademia Platonica di Firenze (Florence. A. Harmonious also are the keyboard instruments.
L. I (Milan.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 517 1553 his Duo Dialoghi della Musica in which he gave delightful details of the private concerts of singers and players in the house of Donna Giovanna of Aragon in Naples. or paintings and miniatures depicting popular scenes with singers and instrumentalists. 210. for the yearly fair. the actual folk-song of the Renaissance has largely died out. de Burbure. reports in II Desiderio about the "concerto grande" in Ferrara at which every conceivable instrument was employed together with a great number of singers.1862). .). 1939 (1944). Literary documents. who was from 1575-85 in Ferrara. I. offer interesting sidelights on the intimate connection of music with the life of the people. 83ff. or from Marin Sanuto's diaries which tell of the street ballads heard in Venice. I. if exaggeratedly. cit. for dancing. also Giovannid'Alessi. XIII (Bruxelles. under the direction of a nun. That the populace itself was deeply imbued with the love of music we know not only from such enthusiastic accounts of Flemish popular music making as given by Guicciardini in his Descrittione de tutti i Paesi Bassi in 1567. "Venetian Folk-Songs of the Renaissance."in Journal of the AmericanMusicological 18Cf.. Benvenuti to his Andrea e Giovanni Gabrieli e la Musica Strumentalein San Marco. 85. especially in the Italian frottola. But Bottrigari does not fail to inform us also about the lovely vocal serenades performed by humble lay congregations in the dark streets of Bologna on warm summer evenings. cit. He also tells about the marvelous concerts presented by 23 nuns of San Vito in Ferrara. Some folk-songs can still be traced in the secular polyphonic art forms. Obviously. 1931). for processions and a number of other occasions. voices and all kinds of instruments were employed."6 referred to as founder of the Venetian school of music.. The Italian Madrigal (op. 2me serie. 17 we know it also from the statutes of Flemish guilds of musicians. Here. and commonly. for carnival. choirmaster at San Marco from 1527 on. for it is in the nature of folk-music to live in oral tradition. 62ff.31eme annee. Famous were the concerts of the Venetian aristocratic lady "Pecorina" which were directed by the Flemish composer Adrian Willaert. Knud Jeppesen. Society V (1952). too.18 These statutes make it amply clear that there was a tremendous demand for music for weddings.l1 It is a matter of specula16See the preface of G."Precursorsof AdrianoWillaert in the Practice of Coro Spezzato. 17A.in Bulletins de l'AcademieRoyale de Belgique. and A. Einstein. op. In 1594 Bottrigari. Einstein. 19Cf. a nobleman of Bologna."in Papers read at the InternationalCongressof Musicologyheld at New York. in Istituzioni e Monumentidell'ArteMusicale Italiana. Apercu sur l'ancienne corporationdes MusiciensInstrumentistesd'Anversdite De Saint-Jobet de Sainte Marie Madeleine. Cf.
Geeurickx of Opwijk. Liuzzi. 1952). From inventories of the first half of the sixteenth century we can see that the town musicians had to be experts on a great many instruments. 22F. The account books of the city of Antwerp show that the city employed regularly five town musicians. music that is. Fred. Belgium. I owe my acquaintance with this interesting manuscript to the kindness of Mr. Stainer & Bell. According to an inventory drawn up in 1531 the town owned 28 flutes. Greene. LOWINSKY tion how many of the secular melodies that composers immortalized by writing a whole polyphonic Mass on them were folk-songs. 19 cromornes. (Rome. monodic in the Middle Ages. Jeppesen. 23K. Recently I learned of the existence of a Belgian manuscript written between 1495 and 1505 which contains Flemish and Latin rhymed texts of a spiritual nature set to music in a tuneful. A British publisher has recently issued the first complete edition of about 120 carols of the fifteenth century preserved with music." in Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche Taal. and in Italy we have the tradition of the Laudesi.en Letterkunde. mostly on vernacular texts with Latin interspersed. In 1548 payments were made for repairing the city's viols. all instrumentalists. deel XLIII. Ltd. But there is an interesting layer of music that moves between the popular and the art sphere. 289-323.23 There is one important social institution which we have not mentioned and of which I will again give two examples. E. 21 Cf.20 In these simple two and three part songs. who has prepared a modern edition. Die mehrstimmige Italienische Lauda um 1500 (Copen1935). 1935).21 The Lochamer Liederbuch shows a somewhat different but comparable genre in Germany. hagen-Leipzig.22 polyphonic in the Renaissance." Greene used that felicitous expression with reference to the English carols. one alto and one tenor shawm. "popular by destination. La Lauda e i Primordi della Melodia Italiana. . one in Antwerp. IV (London. 2 vols. by John Stevens. we have a precious record of what certain modern publishers would call "semi-popular" music. the other in Venice. a few for four voices-the first document uncovered that proves that something akin to the carols existed in Flanders.518 EDWARD E. Since the Flemish book-keepers were animated by the same love of detail for which the Flemish painters are justly famous we know the function of the 20Mediaeval Carols. Musica Britannica. but contrapuntally very primitive style. "Een teruggevonden handschrift. We hope he will succeed in finding a publisher for his work. ed. three trumpets. Lyna. mostly for two and three.. in the words of Richard L. a field trumpet. a tenor fife.
there are no records left that would give us similarly exact accounts of the musicians employed by the Signoria in Venice. published in 1535 in Venice. 24 Francesco Caffi. most likely from the tower." The woodcut adorning the title page shows five musicians-the same number as that employed by the city of Antwerp-three of them playing the recorder. appears as leader of the instrumentalists in the employment of the Republic of Venice. and paintings from all over Europe demonstrate that the town musicians were a universal social institution rooted in the Middle Ages but mainly developed in the Renaissance. 39-40.. 1897). they were indispensable at all official banquets.27 Archives. 25. Undoubtedly. A painting of 1496 by Bellini 26 of a solemn procession on San Marco's Square reveals participation of nine singers and at least seven players of wind instruments. famed cornet player. calls himself in the title of his book "sonator d(e) La Ill(ustrissi)-ma S(ignori)a d(i) V(enezi)a. the institution of the town pipers goes back at least to the fourteenth century. 27 The act is transcribed in its entirety by Luigi Nerici in his Storia della Musica in Lucca (Lucca. one singing. They appeared at all receptions of dignitaries. the author of the earliest treatise on the art of flute playing. Storia della Musica Sacra nella gia Cappella Ducale di San Marco in Venezia (Venice. II. Besides. From Venetian paintings and from contemporary chroniclers we know that the instrumentalists were employed mainly for the many festive processions on the Square of San Marco. Silvestro Ganassi. The reason given 24 for the fact that neither singers nor players are mentioned in the Atti di Procurati is that their engagement was left to the choirmaster at San Marco.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 519 town musicians very well. 25 Ibid. and the fifth holding a recorder in one hand and keeping the other hand on the table. . 1855). In 1483 the custom was introduced for the town musicians to perform evening music daily in the town hall. 26 See for a reproduction Istituzioni e Monumenti dell'Arte Musicale Italiana. I (1931). on the evenings of holidays they played on the tower of the Cathedral. lifting his forefinger as if he were giving light indication of tempo and meter. But in the Atti of 1567 25 the name of Girolamo da Udine. 56. Unfortunately. A notarial act of 1310 gives evidence of the existence of five town pipers (four tubatores and one trombetta) employed by the city of Lucca. they played at the colorful processions of the city. chronicles. on holidays they joined the singers in the cathedral in the performance of solemn musical services and their names appear constantly in the account books of the Congregation of Our Lady at the cathedral in Antwerp.
There Philomates tells his brother Polymathes that he had been. 170-183. The Waits. the Flemish song is a vivid testimony to the art of musical ensemble cultivated in the privacy of the Renaissance home." Revue hist. 2 and 4).the whole company condemnedme of discourtesy. some whisperedto others demandinghow I was brought up. France. Langwill. England. "La communaute des 'Joueurs d'instruments' au XVIe siecle. LOWINSKY In England they were called " waits. Italy. the Spanish villancico. de droit franqais et etranger (1953). at the banquet of Master Sophobuluswhere-and I continue in his own words-" by chance master Aphron came thither also.but he still sticking to his opinion. Harman [New York. but there are many other sourcesthat testify to the intense love and cultivation of music in the patricianhouses of Flanders. L. VII (London. 1952). Germany. I protested unfeignedly that I could not.and etchings of family life which show the institution of the family ensemble. But supperbeing ended and musicbooks(accordingto the custom) being brought to the table. everyone began to wonder: yea. the public recordsare silent on the role of music in private homes.520 EDWARD E.as in his own art he was overthrown. Among these sourcesare especially dedicationsand prefacesof imprints of secular music. A Short Historical Study. the two gentlemen requestedme to examine his reasonsand confute them. 79-109. writings on music. G. Woodfill's Musicians in English Society (Princeton.being fully persuadedthat I had been as skilful in that art as they took me to be learned in others. 1953. literary documents. and again paintings." On our brief tour of the musical institutions of the Renaissance we have seen how each institution served a differentsocial function and how this differenceof function was responsiblefor the difference 28See L.the GermanLied. so that upon shame of my ignorance I go now to seek out mine old friend Master Gnorimus. but I refusing and pretendingignorance." 28 a name derived from their original function as watchmen who "piped watch" at stated hours of the night. drawings. falling to discourseof music was in argumentso quickly taken up and hotly pursuedby Eudoxus and Calergus. Of the many documents available I will quote one passage only from the beginning of Thomas Morley's dialogue entitled A Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music published in London in 1597 (new edition by R. the night before. the mistress of the house presentedme with a part earnestlyrequestingme to sing but when. after many excuses. Italian and English madrigals. Spain. 1952]). A.two kinsmenof Sophobulus. see esp. By far the best presentation of the subject is found in W. chs. Of course. . The immense literature of French chansons. For France see Frangois Lesure. in Hinrichsen's Musical Year Book. who.to make myself his scholar.
the pavane. The earliest polyphonic Magnificats were composed in the 15th century. Both factors may have contributed. or whether the latter may be ascribed to the greater emphasis on the vesper services in the 15th and 16th centuries in general. Magnificats. and. In Venice.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 521 of musical forms and styles. The courts of the Renaissance were the cradles of vocal and instrumental virtuosity. and the best among them appealed not only to the senses but to the emotions. Venice with its tradition of public and state affairs loved choral performances and gave a prominent place to double choir polyphony. the Flemish spiritual song and the later Flemish psalm. in small part. and allemande. from musical sources. ronde. the congregations share in this repertory. In the humbler congregations and in some of the more popular processions the vernacular creeps in and spreads out in the form of the English carol.29 hymns and motets appropriate to the liturgical character of that service. in the academies and in the houses of patricians a secular art in the vernacular flourishes. Francesco Milano is said to have thrown his listeners into The polyphonic setting of the Magnificat was an innovation of the Renaissance. pictorial. The lay congregations on the other hand cultivated instrumental music and in Antwerp the town musicians were employed regularly for the daily vesper service of the Congregation of Our Lady. 29 . At court and in the aristocratic home. the branle. It would be worth while to investigate whether there was a connection between the celebration of the vesper service by lay congregations and the emergence and increasing popularity of the polyphonic Magnificat. they emphasize the Marian antiphons. the ever present urge to dance has produced a varied literature of dance music: the basse danse. but concentrating on the vesper service. where most state functions were celebrated in the open air. Even the choice of instruments was sociologically and functionally influenced. The church choir cultivates the great liturgical forms of music with Latin text: the Proper and the Ordinary of the Mass. Similarly. trumpets. the so-called souterliedeken. the Italian lauda. the gaillarde. The principal instrument used in the church service was the organ. had their own songs and dances. the French psalm. cornets. trombones as well as recorders were used. whereas the courts withdrawn from the common world and emphasizing the uncommon individual became centers of accompanied solo song and solo play. the lute virtuoso improvised on well-known tunes. as we know from literary. But virtuosity was more than mere technique. The singers improvised their embellishments. wind instruments participated on high holidays. too. it was closely allied with the art of improvisation. The musically illiterate. But for the indoor entertainments of the aristocratic society of Italian courts string instruments were preferred.
on the Reformer's head. Ms.27.. Cf. Q.. my Das Antwerpener Motettenbuch Orlando di Lassos und seine Beziehungen zum Motettenschaffen der niederldndischen Zeitgenossen (The Hague. a history of religiousfeeling. Tibi justi et universe religiones. They were subjects of serious study. .. This motet. We would know something of the tremendous hatred engendered Luther'sbreakwith the Churchfrom the motet by text: Te Luterum damnamus. 30 11 . and of continued attempts at modern revival. 1937). 31 Bologna. of literary evolution and even an abbreviatedhistory of political events could be gleaned-at least in outline-by a mere study of the texts Renaissancecomposersset to music." If we had lost all other recordsof the religious developmentsof the sixteenth century we would have the powerful witnesses of the Lutheran. A history of changingstyles. fo. tastes.522 EDWARD E. Plato's belief in the corrupting and ennobling powers of music. all were constantly in the minds of the Renaissancemusicians. Since Renaissancemusic is for the greatest and most importantpart vocal music the choice of texts is in itself highly revealing. Here Venus is pictured wandering through Italy and coming to the duchy of Ferrara.Maistre Jhan).if mortals can render my beauty feature for feature.tibi clerici . The miraculouseffects ascribedto music by the ancient Greeks.te errorum patrem omnis terra detestatur. lOv-llv. 4. where the musical life is so intense and so intimately related to the social life there must be many ways to demonstratethe union of life and art in the Renaissance.. no. of passionate debate. Huguenot. 1549). etc. The text continues to heap such epithets as adulterius apostata maledictus. Calvinist. If none of the paintings of Venus by the Italian masters of the Renaissancehad survived we would know of their existence through that charming Latin motet by the great Cipriano de Rore. can serve terzo libro di Motetti a 5 voci di Cipriano Rore (Venice. Liceo Musicale.the legends of Amphionand Orpheus.30composer at the court of Ferrara. II Surely.te hereticum confitemur. The most obvious is found in the texts which were set to music. Discovering a painted likeness of herself she bursts into tears of bitter jealousy: quid iuvat esse deam-" what good is it to be a goddess. LOWINSKY a state of ecstasy and to have played on the scale of their emotions as surely as he did on the strings of his lute. Anglican musical services in their respective languages.the stories of Pythagoras. and fashions. found in a Bolognese manuscript of the first half of the sixteenth century31composedby "Matre Jan" (.proclamant Dirus dirus dirus dirus blasfemus in deum sabaoth . .
This Italian motet against Luther is a unique case. After her husband's death in 1559 Renee returned to France where she openly espoused the Reformed cause. innocent Susanna facing calumny and death. It is not by chance that the motet texts deal time and again with great figures in the depth of despair: Job. possibly in the presence of some of the theologians and high officials of the Church called by Ercole to aid in her reconversion. For the first time in the history of polyphonic music 32 32 In the Middle Ages the passion was presented in dramatic form and partly spoken. In 1528 the duke married Renee de France. suffering. At the same time attempts were made to lead Renee back to the old faith. Though the personality and life of Maistre Jhan are shrouded in obscurity we know that he was choirleader at the court of Ercole II. . Rachel weeping over her lost children. She opened her castle as a refuge to Reformed artists and men persecuted because of their adherence to the Reformation. and the story of Salvation stood in the center of the texts set to music. But aside from external events an eloquent witness to the change in religious feeling within the bounds of the Roman Catholic Church is the change of the text repertory of the motet. and especially Christ suffering on the Cross-the polyphonic passion as well as the passion motet are creations of the Renaissance. The increasing severity of the struggle between the old and the new faith made a crisis between Ercole and Renee inevitable. partly sung in Plain Chant. In 1536. Ercole removed all of Renee's proteges from his court. not before 1536. to set the violently anti-Lutheran text to music. the year in which Calvin himself spent almost two months in Ferrara. We may assume that the duke created an occasion at which Renee was surprised with the performance of this motet. duke of Ferrara. Starting in the last decades of the fifteenth and throughout the sixteenth century there is a significant and increasingly sharp shift from the objective world of hieratic symbolism to the subjective realm of man's relation to God in the face of sin. the adoration of the Virgin and of the Saints. I suggest that Maitre Jhan was commissioned by the duke. We may imagine with what differing emotions the parties to the dispute listened to the performance of the motet. and death. These efforts failed. as far as I know. David mourning the death of Jonathan or the death of Absalom.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 523 as an example of the constant need of reconstructing the historical context which the music alone can merely hint at. the Prodigal Son. who was a passionate believer in the Reformation. Throughout the fifteenth century the celebration of the liturgical times of the day and the year. Only a very unique situation can have produced it.
1546). Now the innumerable compositions of the Ave Maria.524 EDWARD E. The increasinglyfree and passionatestyle used in these compositionssuggests that many musicians substituted an earthly image for the allegoricalone which officialinterpretationattached to it. 173-232. dukes. no. peace treaties. Susato of Antwerppublishesin 1546 a motet on the text: 33 See the preface to the Secundus Tomus Novi Operis Musici (1538). LOWINSKY the figureof the sufferingChrist comes to occupy a place comparable in significance. . The restlessnessand disenchantmentof the late Renaissanceare mirroredvividly in texts of a stoic and even cynical nature. the Regina coeli are joined not only by the Stabat Mater dolorosa but also by passion motets like the one by Josquin des Prez: 0 Domine Jesu Christe. A number of texts deal with the events leading to and happening during the siege of that city. Vallicelliana in Rome. On the other hand the Renaissance composer began to occupy himself with setting to music the verses of the Song of Songs. naturally. In Rome I discovereda manuscript. . There are numerousfuneral motets mourningthe death of people of rank. 16 (the concluding piece). starting with Josquin about 1490 and continuing right through the sixteenth century.meetings of political potentates." Journal of the American Musicological Society (1951). they reveal with a new degreeof sharpnessthe changesin the mental climate of the age. the Salve Regina. adoro te in cruce pendentem. kings. and noble citizens. 34 See my study on " A Newly Discovered Motet MS in the Bibl. What painter could express Christ's suffering in the hour of torture and death as graphically as did Josquin with musical means! Very conspicuousis the use of psalm texts and especially psalms of despairand contrition in the motet literature of the Renaissance. a multitude of compositions celebrating the birthdays and weddings of emperors. to the musical depiction of the Virgin in the blessed moment of the Annunciation. whose origin could be traced to Florence between 1527 and 1530. 35Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum quinque vocum (Antwerp . .if not in quantity.entirely unknownbefore. The German publisher JohannesOtto of Nuremberg33 refers to that motet by Josquin when he exclaims in the preface of one of his editions of 1538: Quis pictor eam Christi faciem supplitijs mortis subiecti exprimere tam graphice potuit quam modis musicis eam expressit JOSQUINUS.34 Not only does the range of texts set to music broadenimmensely. There are compositionsreferringto political events: war. when Florentine Republicansmade a last heroic attempt to throw off the yoke of the Medici. political negotiations. There exists.
Lib. A similar sentiment characteristic of the pessimism of the CounterReformation is voiced even more briefly in the text set to music by Orlando di Lasso and published posthumously in 1597: Mortalium iucunditas volucris et pendula.. But the identity of the overwhelming majority of compositions is well established. Compositions on the death of great composers date from the same period and in Josquin's immortal De'ploration de Johannes Okeghem39 there appear at the end the names of the noblest disciples of Okeghem including that of the composer himself. The odes of Horace were set to music by the Swiss humanist Glareanus.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 525 Decipimur votis tempore fallimur Mors deridet curas anxia vita nihil. 36 In his famous Dodecachordon (Basel. medieval faith meets the pronounced individualism of the Renaissance. To the liturgical text of the Marian antiphon he added the words: Miserere tui labentis Dufay ne peccatorum ruat in ignem fervorum." The Musical Quarterly (1930). did not sign their names to their compositions. men like Leonin and Perotin.36 by Petrus Tritonius in his Melopoeae of 1507. Since the days of Philippe de Vitry (1291-1361) composers have been known to enter their own names into the texts which they set to music. vijfde aflevering pp. Already at the beginning of the century ancient poetry had appeared on the musical scene. 5658. we know them only from the testimony of contemporary theorists. Besseler in Capella. Death laughs at worries. dated as of 1464. 1547. Vergil's verses on Dido abandoned by faithless Aeneas inspired a whole series of motet-like compositions by composers of the Renaissance37 and a number of operas by composers of the Baroque. and others. 38 Publ. O. Meisterwerke mittelalterlicher Musik (Kassel. The pleasure of mortals is transitory and elusive. Werken van Josquin des Pres. by H. We are deluded by promises. Strunk. no. c.. by A. 39 Publ. Senfl. 37 Cf. In the Renaissance a number of works are still ascribed to the fertile composer known as incertus autor. " Have mercy on thy dying Dufay lest he fall into the hellish fire of sinners." In this work. 1950). 4. . Anxious life is nothing. by Hofhaimer. Smijers. II. Guillaume Dufay requested in his last will that his composition Ave regina coelorum38 be sung at the hour of his death. Time deceives us. 39) he recalls: Multi anni lapsi sunt cum Iuvenis in Horatij Odas nescio quas finxeram Harmonias . "Virgil in Music. It was characteristic of the Middle Ages that its greatest composers..
42 Cf. 1588-1632 (Oxford. We have here another demonstrationof the fact that the texts found in Renaissance music embracedlife in its totality. But we do witness an extraordinary phenomenon:the who wrote the solemn Masses. 1948). (London. 167ff." in Ausgewdhlte Aufsdtze zur Musikgeschichte (Munich. For example. If the obscene anecdote had a place in familiar conversation. many of these obscene chansons were later republishedin religious versions. . Fellows.42 The religiousversions of secular chansonsare an illustration of the troubled conscienceof an era that was bubbling over with vitality and beset by gnawing doubts. LOWINSKY Such was the power of music in the Renaissance that it evoked a whole poetic literaturewritten expresslyto be set to music. did not shy away from approachingthe sphere of blasphemy. 1921). . . the Mellange d'Orlando de Lassus . the French Huguenot Pasquier edited in 1575 and 1576 Lasso's compositionswith French texts. composerswho were famous for their church music at that. 40 Cf. The Italian Madrigal. 2nd ed. Undoubtedly.so it had a place in music. five-. English Madrigal Verse. E. 1920). In the field of secular music and particularly in the French chanson we meet with texts not only light and frivolous but of an untarnishedobscenity such as no other periodin the history of music has witnessed. Some of the greatest musiciansof the time. To be sure. H. 143.526 EDWARD E.41 bulk of which survives exclusively in the various sets of Italian and English madrigals. What is one to think of a poem set to music by Orlandodi Lasso which runs like this: II etait une religieuse De l'ordrede l'Ave'Maria Qui d'un Pater etait tant amoureuse Que son gent corps avec le sien lia. and six-part choral music. Magnificats. idem. The English Madrigal Composers. a second edition of which appearedin 1582. Lors respondirentl'un et I'autre: Le Pater et l'Ave Maria Sont enfiles en une Paternotre. II. Thus 40 originatedthe poesia per musica of the Italians and the madrigal the verse of the English. Alfred Einstein. " Orlando di Lassos Beziehungen zu Frankreich und zur franz6sischen Literatur.avec la lettre changee et reformee. and Marian composers antiphons were the same ones who dignifiedincrediblefrivolities to the degree of clothing them in the most attractive four-.the obscene is not an invention of the Renaissance. A. L'abesse vint demanderqu'il ya. 112ff. 41 Cf. Nothing was excluded from it. Sandberger.
if they fail in that test a crisis ensues that may lead either to a reformulation of the old or to new concepts altogether.[Venice..) 1549]. . see the chapter on " The Meaning of Double Meaning in the 16th Century " in the same book. fo. satires on nuns and monks were as old as the institution of the monastery itself. buch. That both these processes took place in the Renaissance could be concluded from a mere study of the texts of Renaissance music. It must be admitted that to set to music such flippant verses means to formalize them in a most peculiar manner. Edward E. Secret ChromaticArt in the Netherlands Motet (New York. While similar frivolities are not unknown in medieval literature. 27. and sometime from blasphemies such as this ch'altro di te iddio non voglio 4 (I wish no other God but thee) which no man (at least who has any hope of salvation) can sing without trembling.43 This attitude on the part of the Renaissance composer gave rise to much controversy throughout the sixteenth century. see the chapter on "The Religious Background. Antwerpener Motetten- . 44 I do not know the source of this verse. criticism enters when traditional concepts are tested against new experience. 1946). Cf." Morley. sets to music a poem beginning with the words Signora anci dea mea (Ms. Biblioteca Naz." 111-134. Of course. even had all other documents perished. xxiii.. 294) had this to say on the madrigals: " This kind of music were not so much disallowable if the poets who compose the ditties would abstain from some obscenities which all honest ears abhor. the same Orlando di Lasso wrote liturgical compositions on the Pater Noster and the Ave Maria. Centr. Cipriano de Rore of Ferrara writes a motet on a lady with the name Argilla: Dispereamnisi sit dea vera deumquepropago (II terzo libro de motetti a 5 voci di Cipriano de Rore. Panciat. Yet. puts the blame on 43Cf. texts in which a lady is addressed as goddess are plentiful in the Cinquecento. detachment is the basis for criticism. who in his Introduction (p. The least one can say is this: Lasso's attitude is indicative of an advanced degree of detachment. Bartolomeo Tromboncino. I will quote only the opinion of Thomas Morley. Lasso's attitude betrays also a certain ambivalence which is highly characteristic of the late Renaissance. But here the most sacred Christian symbols are involved. the daily prayers of the Ave Maria and the Pater noster. . Florence. Lowinsky. famed frottolist of Mantua. Stories concerned with a nun or a monk found in flagrante delicto were plentiful at all times. Their frivolous use was not designed to further the devotion of those engaged in prayer. lllv112r).MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 527 To be sure. It is not easy to interpret this phenomenon satisfactorily. their appearance in music is a new phenomenon. himself the foremost composer of madrigals in the English tongue. not a prudish man by any standards. 57 and 85.
new styles. trochee.528 EDWARD E. Preexisting melodies refer to rowed either from the Gregorianchant or from other. Medieval notation of music before 1300 had no symbols for rhythm.and choirbooksin the inferno in several of his hell paintings.fulminated against the " suoni e canti. preexistingformal schemes. and new instruments developed during the Renaissance. Savonarola. In the light of all this it will cause little wonder if we find the immense enthusiasm for music at all levels of Renaissance society matched by an intense fear and violent condemnationof the seductive power of the ethereal art. Maybe he wanted to keep in good standing with his colleagues. the carol. e." and on the pyre of "Vanities" lit by his followers during the carnival season 1497 and 1498 there were lutes and music books on top of paintings. Actually. and preexisting rhythmic schemes. Preexisting rhythms refer to the so-called rhythmic modes which were taken over from ancient poetic meters: iambus. HieronymusBosch placed musicians. Otherwisehe might have suggested that the composerrefrain from using such poems. new techniques. the ballade. statues and other objects of secularart. preaching in music loving Florence. the what was known as cantus firmus.I believe.g. Two aspects may be regarded as basic to the processof compositionin the Middle Ages: the first involves the use of preexistentmelodies. the virelai. secular sources and used as a basis for constructing a piece of polyphonic music according to the laws of counterpoint. LOWINSKY the poets. poetical and musical ballata: a small number of well-definedforms rooted in the aristocratic art of the troubadours and trouveresand transferredfrom this monodic genre to polyphonic composition.. that not only were new forms. A cantus firmus is a melody bor- . In one of them musiciansare placed in the immediate company of gamblers. dactyl and so on. musical instruments. Preexisting formal schemes refer to the so-called formes fixes. but that the very nature of the processof compositionitself changed. the indesigns like the rondeau. III We come to the last and to the most fundamentalquestion: does the change in mentality which is evident from the choice of texts find expressionin the music itself? Are the changes in Renaissance music as comparedto medieval music merely matters of a " technical evolution " or do they involve a basic change in the outlook of the composer? It can be demonstrated. both the poet and the composer merely held up a mirror to the society which asked their services.
he advanced new ideas and tried out entirely new conceptions and techniques. This involves abandoning the use of preexisting melodies. That means he can think in harmonies." MusicalQuarterly(Oct. The resulting conglomerate sound was not the prime aim. and that period was the Renaissance. rhythms. The different voices in medieval polyphony are composed successively. the "root" or the bass part. since the addition of voices was regulated by certain general conventions which governed the selection of consonances and dissonances. melodies and successive composition. I limit myself to an elucidation of the new principles. see my study on "English Organ Music of the Renaissance. Clearly.. The second basic aspect of medieval composition is connected with the prevailing technique of cantus firmus composition. one after the other. It is in Italy around 1480 that we find whole compositions written in four part harmony with the melody in the highest and the root of the harmony in the lowest part. The first principle stems from the desire of the Renaissance musician to arrive at a musical expression free from all shackles. it was formally and rhythmically fitted to ready made patterns. 1953). . note 73. and the terms "homophony " 45 or " chordal style " 45On the justification of applying the term "homophony" to Renaissance Part II. It is well known that a good musician can sit down at the piano and improvise in four voices at once. The harmonic effect was not entirely arbitrary. The Renaissance composer did not abandon at once the deeply rooted foundations of preexisting forms. It is less well known that the capacity to think in harmonies had to be acquired and developed at a certain period in history. but the by-product of the addition of one layer of melody to another. Gradually. The music. The medieval composer had to rely instead on such schemes as the rhythmic modes. This involves the abandonment of the successive technique of composition and its replacement by the technique of simultaneous conception. The second principle derives from the urge of the Renaissance artist to conceive of his work as a well planned and carefully organized whole rather than a structure of several successively erected layers. Medieval music was not only based on preexisting melodies. This is not the place to describe in detail the struggle between old and new or to trace the gradual emergence of the new. and forms. Harmony was projected and conceived from one point. which slowly won the upper hand in the struggle between tradition and innovation. the simultaneous composition of polyphonic music is possible only where the composer has learned to think in harmonies.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 529 vention of which must be credited to the ars nova. rhythms.
which has its antecedents in English usage and in the English predilection for thirds and sixths. it is that careful analysis will tend to show the beginnings of simultaneous planning. If I may venture a considered guess. Tonal harmony as found in a series of three part chansons by Dufay and some of his contemporaries shows the beginnings of the feeling for tonic-dominant relationships. but lived and taught for the greater part of his life in Bologna and Rome. 1480. also Ch. a manifestation of the spreading enthusiasm for these consonances and of the overwhelming desire for a full sensuous sound. three-part compositions awaits investigation. van den Borren. one may regard the fauxbourdon as a primitive but highly significant sound technique: while its entirely mechanical character cannot be denied. LOWINSKY and "familiar style" should be strictly limited to this harmonic technique. To what degree simultaneous conception operated in Dufay's. the fauxbourdon and the rise of tonal harmony. Both were brilliantly analyzed and convincingly traced back to the leadership of Guillaume Dufay and the time around 1430 by Heinrich Besseler in his work on Bourdon und Fauxbourdon. the bass began to assume the function of carrying the root of harmony. 47 Fourth and sixth parallels seen from the highest voice are six-three chords seen from the lowest. Undoubtedly. thirds and sixths had been considered dissonances. 1950. for mathematical reasons only. especially in two part writing. An entirely different process of simultaneous composition is followed in the fugal polyphony of the Renaissance. who had wandered from Liege to Padua.46 The term fauxbourdon designates the accompaniment of a discant melody by fourth and sixth parallels resulting in a composition moving throughout in sixthree chords 47 but starting from and ending in an octave-five chord. Josquin des Prez (1450-1521) is the first 46 Leipzig. the systematic beginnings of which fall around the same time as harmonic simultaneous planning: c. who had studied in Salamanca. Indispensable for the new harmonic technique was the recognition of thirds and sixths as consonances by the Spanish theorist Bartholomeo Ramis in 1482. The roots of this harmonic style can be found in two phenomena. it embodied nevertheless the first experience of simultaneous chordal thinking in three parts. whereas actual simultaneous conception of more than two parts will probably be shown to be limited to certain isolated passages of harmonic emphasis. Cf.530 EDWARD E. Already in compositions of Ciconia. According to Pythagorean theory. . We may see in this technique. 1926. Guillaume Dufay. which reigned supreme throughout the Middle Ages.
1931). This is evident in the music of the mature Josquin. It is the center around which a great many phenomena are grouped and from which they derive their meaning and their coherence with one another. avoiding simultaneity in rhythm and meter." 49 Around 1480 the ideal of choral music has been entirely realized. And while fauxbourdon may not have originated in a choral conception it has been shown to have been "taken over by the trend toward choir music. 1946). see Besseler. Musik des Mittelalters und der Renaissance (Potsdam. loc. Cf. and the increasing care with which he applies the text to 48 Cf.. and yet complex contrapuntal organism: free because it is not tied to a cantus firmus. 180-183. cant-tenor lied of the generation of Binchois with a filling part (contratenor) added later. cit. "The Beginnings of Choral Polyphony. Bukofzer.. also H. Simultaneous conception of harmony and of polyphony emerges as the most essential single factor in the epoch-making changes in the process of composition in the Renaissance. . He sees in this "Sing-Fauxbourdon " one of several predecessors of Netherlands choir music. cit. even the theme itself is invented with an eye toward how it is to be used and by how many voices. 176-189.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 531 composer to use this technique not as an occasional device-as such it can be traced back to the early thirteenth century-but as the structural basis for a whole series of extended compositions. medieval polyphony having been performed by soloists. and in revised form: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music (New York. 185. 195-6. M.48 It is significant that these beginnings coincide with the emergence of fauxbourdon.50 He knows how to write a fully singable style not only for one or two 51 but for all voices. This results in a tonal structure unified harmonically." Papers of the American Musicological Society 1940 (publ. unified because the same thematic substance penetrates all parts. unified. a decrease expands it. 49 Cf. Besseler (loc. Such a structure cannot be conceived either successively or strictly simultaneously: here the composer projects each part in relation to each other part. cit. 50 See Besseler (op. 1950). Bourdon und Fauxbourdon (Leipzig. An increase in the number of voices restricts the freedom of movement of each of them. diversified rhythmically and metrically. Bukofzer. 1950). Besseler. Here a number of musical subjects are taken up by one voice after another resulting in a free. 187) for literary testimony in support of vocal rendi51 For the distion of polyphonic music in the second half of the 15th century. complex because each part presents the theme at a different time while the other voices go against it contrapuntally. It has been shown that the beginnings of choral singing date back to the time around 1430.. 184-5) established that Dufay changed the originally instrumental tenor of his fauxbourdon style to a vocal part.
cit. This numberincludessingers. falso bordone for four. 186).53 From here the development goes on to compositions for three and four choirs for 12 and 16 voices manipulated with consummate skill by such Venetian composers as Andrea Gabrieli (1510-1586) and his nephew Giovanni (1557-1612). For a splendid early example of a six-part falso bordone.55point to a state of growing intoxication with the We establishhere merely the prevailingnorm. (Rome. The use of a double choir in Italy before and after Willaert presupposes two choirs of four parts joining at final or otherwise emphasized points in an eight part climax.5 Ever since the first experiments with a consciously harmonic style of singing were made musicians and listeners had become increasingly fascinated by the sheer magic of harmony. 55Orlandodi Lasso'sKapelle in Munich comprisedat its highest point 73 persons. triplicate and quadruplicate triadic harmony.532 EDWARD E.. 54See Father LaurenceFeininger'srecent edition of 3 Masses for 16 voices. Fauxbourdon is set for three voices. 52 53Cf. This is the meaning of the steady increase in number of singers symptomatically demonstrated in the growing size of the Papal Choir in Rome and that of the cathedral in Antwerp. 1950-51). who studied with Giovanni Gabrieli in Venice. organists.and choirboys. to Vincenzo Ugolini and his pupil Orazio Benevoli (1602-72). syllabic style of choral singing. " Precursorsof Adriano Willaert in the Practice of Coro Spezzato. the constant enlargement of the vocal and instrumental apparatus. the continuous expansion of the harmonic range until it included the triads on all twelve tones-this was reached by 1555-the further experimentation with quarter-tone harmony (Vicentino). one psalm for 16 and another for 24 parts in the Monumenta Liturgiae Polychoralis.instrumentalists(" Posauner" and "geiger "). In each period a minority of works can be found written for a number of voices greater than the "normal" amount.. LOWINSKY each part shows clearly vocal intent. the Italian four part version of a homophonic. a growth that coincides with the evolution of a harmonic concept." Journal of the American Musicological Society (1952). This line extends on the one hand to the German Baroque and to Heinrich Schiitz. It is when the several voices of a composition join into one body of harmony that choral mass effects become possible.see Bukofzer (loc..52 and this is also the norm for Josquin and his generation. 187. By that time fauxbourdon has matured to falso bordone. who is the uncontested master of the four choir combination. From 1430 on we observe a constant increase in the number of voices of composition. . by the time of Gombert (1490-1556) composition for five parts prevails. The steady addition of voices used to duplicate. on the other hand to the Roman Baroque. Giovanni d'Alessi.
madrigal. villanesca. but non-liturgical lauda sung in the vernacular. cit. See also E. loc. . 60 E. " It was these new organ of stops that gave the organ the quality which today seems to be its distinctive feature: the contrast and mixture of different timbres . Bourdon und Fauxbourdon. my study on "English Organ Music. 224. .60 Harmonic simultaneity had its home in Italy. esp. Cf. main foundation. Gombert. The Style of Palestrina. The invention of the musical score. Bukofzer. balletto. 59 Cf. the frottola. E. . E. which came to the fore around 1480. Lowinsky. 383-5. the emotional effects of major and minor. 305. The History of Musical Instruments (New York.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 533 power of sound. and their contem56 C. 2d Eng. 542-45. The new harmonic language of the South was cultivated in the secular forms of the late fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries.57 The use of dissonance was gradually liberalized through the composers' increasing preoccupation with the expression of passionate texts in music. the play of contrasts between several choirs. the multicolored brilliance of modulatory harmony.. 58 Cf. Bourdon (156-7).59 so simultaneous conception of music produced a new mode of notation. Sachs. 1953). also K. (1953). high and low registers. loc. Josquin des Prez. 1940). and its toleration on the accented beat only when tied over from an unaccented beat follows logically from this position. the new polyphonic language of the North was developed in the church music of Okeghem. while there was greater liberty almost from the beginning in the keyboard music of the Renaissance. The same attitude toward sound is reflected in the introduction solo stops into the Renaissance organ. ed. Cf.58 Finally." Part I. " On the Use of Scores by Sixteenth Century Musicians.. cit. consonance and dissonance." 56 The Renaissance composer's relationship to the phenomenon of dissonance was determined by his desire to base polyphony on triadic harmony as its. "English Organ Music of the Renaissance. Jeppesen." in Journal of the American Musicological Society I (1948). and Besseler. 57 This is also Besseler's point of view. The Musical Quarterly (Oct. The relegation of dissonance to unaccented beats as a passing note. has been attributed by the German theorist Lampadius to the generation of Isaac and Josquin. as the new practice of choral singing resulted in the emergence of the folio choir book.. a form of notating the different parts of a composition in vertical order so as to make their simultaneous character and interplay visible. polyphonic simultaneity originated in the North. Lowinsky. and in the spiritual." Part II. 532-36. 1946. [this] was a new discovery of the sixteenth century. and the play with echo effects. between vocal and instrumental choirs.
not written down but implied. in whose work can be found the seeds of the bountiful and diversified harvest of the new ideas. recognized by his own. was dominated artistically by the Netherlanders. The Italian madrigal absorbed Northern polyphony. grew up in the shadow of the Papal Choir in Rome. .534 EDWARD E. a struggle in which leadership slowly changed from the North to the South. They reached it in very different ways. The first great synthesis took place in the work of Josquin des Prez. An analysis of the texts and of the social background of the music and musicians led to the thesis that we have here an expression of crypto61Op. forms and techniques of Cinquecento music. which. Both artists were moving in opposite directions toward the same goal of synthesis. The result of such an extension of musica ficta was a bold and novel technique of modulation which made for a reading not only of deeper expression. although international in its selection of singers. and remembered by many succeeding generations. but also of greater musical logic and coherence in the sense in which the sixteenth century preached and practiced musical coherence. the Netherlander. whereas the Netherlands motet opened itself more and more to the expressive energies of the Italian madrigal and its novel harmonic and tone painting devices. The chromatic modulations. the Italian. The whole century can be viewed in terms of this struggle of artistic principles. fall with great regularity on text passages of intense emotion. Lasso. cit. he started out stylistically almost as a Netherlands composer. note 43 above. his beginnings as a composer were under the predominating influence of the Italians. as the outstanding musical genius of his age. received his musical education for the most part in Italy.61 An outgrowth of musica ficta-the system of rules by which singers were taught when to flatten or sharpen certain notes in certain melodic and harmonic situations-the secret chromatic art extended this technique systematically to a whole chain of notes in the circle of fifths. Palestrina. LOWINSKY poraries. The sixteenth century saw a process of interpenetration between the harmonious euphony of the South and the contrapuntal dynamism of the North which found its culmination in the Italian madrigal and the Netherlands motet. Perhaps the strangest fruit of the encounter between Flanders and Italy was the secret chromatic art in the Netherlands motet described in this writer's book of the same title. A dual embodiment of this open meeting of North and South and its climax may be seen in the twin stars of Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594) and Pierluigi da Palestrina (1526-1594).
135-175. it found a balance in the late polyphony of the three Viennese classical masters.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 535 Reformed artists living in those same Netherlands which. It concerns the relation between music and text. IV It is difficult to imagine that the musician of the Renaissance would break out from the safety of the formes fixes and the cantus firmus technique into a freedom of musical expression in which all guidance and direction was lacking. take the words of the motet and Cf. it broke out afresh in the contrast between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. who speaks for the fourteenth century. that the Viennese masters-but especially Mozart-created the most singular integration of the two in their late works. whereas the nineteenth century emphasized the material and the twentieth the intellectual side of music. literary and artistic expression of the epoch in a chapter on the meaning of double meaning in the sixteenth century. It has not left the European scene since. The secret chromatic art led me to investigate the basic ambiguity in the philosophical. . after having duly described the successive process of composition writes: Postquam cantus est factus et ordinatus. Since then I have collected much additional and supporting material which I hope to submit in systematic form before long.62 The antithesis between the magic of rich and variegated sound and the severity of linear counterpoint was experienced in its fullness for the first time by the musicians of the Renaissance. How complete that reversal was may be illustrated by two statements. Magister Aegidius of Murino. were the scene of a violent religious war. The question arises: what took the place of cantus firmus and formal schemes? In answering it we come to another fundamental innovation of Renaissance music. It need not be stressed that this constitutes a rough appraisal from one point of view only. tune accipe verba que debent 62 After the composition is finished. The first presents the attitude of the medieval motet composer. If the love for sensuous sound and the delight in linear counterpoint may be regarded as the material and the spiritual faces of music. then it may be said that Renaissance and Baroque developed both the body and the spirit of music to its fullest. It is only fair to state that my book was received with high praise and with vehement criticism at the time of its publication. It is a source of satisfaction that such great experts in 15th and 16th century music as Charles van den Borren and the late Alfred Einstein accepted my findings without reservation. twenty years later. The struggle between these two attitudes characterized the evolution of Baroque polyphony. Secret Chromatic Art.
see also Marius Schneider.: pervenientur. ch. et sic divide cantum in quatuor partes. come cosa principale.. and rhythm.64 divide them into four sections. 200. harmony.. devoted disciple of Willaert. . and the two re- 63 Orig. until they are all used up. secular music in the Middle Ages uses identical music for changing text. sic ut melius potest. he (Plato) puts the text as the principal element ahead of the others. But never do we find consistent application of short notes to short syllables and vice versa. Cf.536 EDWARD E. Jahrhunderts in Frankreich und Italien (Wolfenbiittel. composer and poet. For the loose connection between word and tone in the music of the Middle Ages cannot be denied. Archiv fur Musikwissenschaft VIII (1926). . 1930). Admittedly. In his Istituzioni harmoniche of 1558 (book IV. To be sure. however. . It is not unusual for the music of a medieval virelai or ballata to tear apart the different stanzas of a poem. The new relationship between word and tone was stated by no one more clearly than by Zarlino. 64Coussemaker. Scriptores de musica.. et le altre due parti. Heinrich Besseler. 125. pari che in tal compositione 'una di queste cose non sia prima dell'altra. Even to separate the syllables of a single word is common enough. Die Ars Nova des XIV. Even Guillaume de Machaut. in the polyphonic conductus of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries we meet at times with syllabic declamation of the same text simultaneously enunciated in all voices. this is an extreme procedure even in medieval practice. et prima pars verborum compone super primam partem cantus. Here the Renaissance caused a veritable revolution. did not concern himself with bringing about a correspondence between the rhythmic groupings of his composition and the groups of verses in his poem. Yet it is characteristic of the prevailing lack of consonance between music and text. et aliquando est necesse extendere multas notas super pauca verba . and he writes: . Besides. . LOWINSKY esse in moteto et divide ea in quatuor partes. come . . quousque perveniant 63 ad complementum. and set the first part of the text to the first part of the music as best you can and thus proceed to the end. except in a very general way. III. In this wonderful formula music is the Procrustean bed into which the text has to fit itself as best it can. Then divide the music into four sections too. it may seem as if in such a composition all elements were of equal weight. the illustrious theorist of Venice. 40.. it did not aspire to express it. And sometimes it is necessary to extend many notes over few words . tuttavia avanti le altre parti pone La Oratione. 32) he refers significantly to Plato's definition of music which distinguishes between text. et sic procede in finem. Studien zur Musik des Mittelalters.
Therefore it would not be fitting to use a sad harmony and a slow rhythm with a gay text or a gay harmony and quick and lightfooted rhythms to a tragic matter full of tears. to set each word to music in such a way that where it denotes harshness. & non la Oratione il Numero. that is somewhat hard and harsh. heartbreak. fuori di proposito.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 537 quelle. Zarlino becomes more specific and advises the composer . And now Zarlino actually defines sad harmony as one which combines slow movement with the use of syncopated dissonances and minor chords. however.. ne dove si tratta materie funebri. ne l'Harmonia. amaritudine. & altre cose simili. cost non sara lecito al Musico di accompagnare queste due cose. o veloci .. cordoglio. che in una materia allegra usiamo l'Harmonia mesta. Zarlino continues: . Simigliantemente quando alcuna delle parole dimonstrara pianto. dolore. maining parts are subservient to it: for after he has revealed the whole by means of the parts he says that harmony and rhythm must follow the text and not vice versa. Et cio e il dovere. che l'harmonia sia piena di mestitia. Non sara adunque conveniente. cioe l'Harmonia. cruelty. crudelta. l'harmonia sia simile a lei. & i Numeri gravi.. et le Parole insieme. and techniques changed vastly. whereas gay harmony prefers major chords in light and fast rhythms. che l'Harmonia. without offending. & Numeri leggieri. e lecito usare un'Harmonia allegra. che dove ella dinoti asprezza. di maniera pero. hardness. lagrime.. pain. si come non e lecito tra i Poeti comporre una Comedia con versi Tragici. As poets are not supposed to compose a comedy in tragic verse so musicians are not supposed to combine harmony and text in an unsuitable manner. when one of the words expresses weeping. In his theory of the relation between word and tone Zarlino stresses in particular the new theory of text declamation: . We have here nothing less than the foundation of a theory of tonal expression that determined in principle the music from the sixteenth century onward. che serveno a lei: Percioche dopo che ha manifestato il tutto col mezo delle parti dice. durezza. bitterness and other similar things the music be similar to it. di accompagnare in tal maniera ogni parola. sospiri. forms. though musical means. che non offendi. cioe alquanto dura. tears and other similar things. Similarly. And this is as it should be. let the harmony be full of sadness.. & aspra. Then referring to Horace's warning in his Ars poetica: Versibus exponi Tragicis res Comica non vult.. & altre cose simili. sighs. et piene di lagrime. & il Numero debbeno seguitare la Oratione.
Angelus. dessen Melodien ihnen doch bekannt waren?" Molitor quotes gegen from chapter 33 of Book 4.. di accommodare in tal maniera le parole della Oratione alle figure cantabili. Filius. Raphael Molitor.538 EDWARD E. come in infinite cantilene si ode ogni giorno. a truly shameful thing. Zarlino lived to see this suggestion for reform incorporated in the brief of Gregory XIII of 1577 through which Palestrina and Zoilo. quando sarebbe sofficiente una sola figura. che si pongono sotto le dette sillabe brevi. that no barbarism be heard. o note.. che senza alcun proposito le fanno lunghe. such as happens when a long syllable is set to a short note or a short syllable to a long note. die in dieser Hinsicht mit ihm iibereinstimmen. I. writes: "Doch warum aussert weder er [Zarlino] noch einen Tadel Vanneo noch Lago.65 Nothing illustrates better the change in aesthetic feeling than the imposition of Renaissance principles on the Plain 65Strangely enough. den Choral. che non si oda alcun Barbarismo. . it would be a very praiseworthy thing and the correction would be so easy to make that one could accommodate the chant by gradual changes. con tali Numeri. both members of the Papal Choir. were charged with revising the Gregorian Chant.. 1901). che mutandoli poco poco. si come quando si fa proferire nel canto una sillaba longa che si doverebbe far proferir breve: per il contrario una breve. but we must also observe to set the words of the text in such manner to the notes. et tanto facile da corregere. since it is only through the binding together of many notes put under short syllables that they become long without any good purpose when it would be sufficient to give one note only. si accommodarebbe la cantilena. P. ne per questo mutarebbe la sua prima forma: essendo che consiste solamente nella Legatura di molte figure. Zarlino goes further and demands an actual revision of the chant based on the humanistic principles of text declamation. LOWINSKY . and through this it would not lose its original form.. and in such rhythms. as one hears nowadays in infinite compositions. Angelus.. che si doverebbe far proferir longa. . though quoting Zarlinoat length. ma etiandio dovemo osservare. on the ground of its faulty and barbaric declamation of the text where we hear instead of Dominus. il che veramente e cosa vergognosa. Filius: Dominus. And finally Zarlino proceeds to criticize what no medieval musician would ever have dared to criticize: the sacred tradition of the Gregorian Chant. 133. In recommending such a revision he writes: . Zarlino'scriticism of the chant occurs in chapter 32 of the same book.. il che sarebbe cosa molto lodevole. the great historian of this reform of the Chant. Die Nach-TridentinischeChoral-Reform zu Rom (Leipzig.
" The Musical 68 Cf." Papers of the American Musicological Society (Annual meeting. rhythm. The text becomes now the principal source of musical inspiration. In old miniatures the Pope can be seen writing in the presence of the white dove which presumably inspires the melodies he puts on paper. and not without reason. In imitation of the ancient Greek chromatic genus the Renaissance musician introduced and utilized systematically the half tone steps of the chromatic scale. the bass range of keyboard instruments was extended and chromatic trumpets 67 and the trombone 68 were created to facilitate instrumental performance of the newly added bass region. he discovered and exploited for the first time the bass region. We have quoted Zarlino at length. Curt Sachs. 67 Cf. H. he discovered new harmonic continents. Lowinsky. "Chromatic Trumpets in the Renaissance. 62-66. It is of symbolic significance that in the same year 1519 o6 See for the following: E. .MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 539 Chant which was held by medieval writers to have been dictated to Pope Gregory I by the Holy Ghost. of 4. the Renaissance composer adopts the human word as his new guide. "The Concept of Physical and Musical Space in the Renaissance. and even 8 different ranges. der Posaune. In his quest for expression the musician of the Renaissance created entirely new tonal phenomena: 66 he expanded the medieval tonal space of not quite three octaves to almost five octaves. The consequences that flow forth from this new principle are innumerable: musical rhythm is now shaped by the rhythm of the word. The composer regards it as his most noble task to express in tones the meaning of the text and its pictorial and emotional content. The madrigalist of the sixteenth century broke with the old custom of setting different verses to the same music. E. For we are here at the very core of the new musical concept of the Renaissance. instead of in families of three." Acta Musicologica (1950). clear declamation of the text becomes a universal demand. 8-35. The modern relationship between music and text as we know it in all dramatic music has its origin in the new attitude of the Renaissance composer. 5. he accompanies each stanza with the music appropriate to it. in families. consistent with the expansion of the tonal space string and wind instruments were made. 6. 57-84. dissonance. Besseler's admirable study "Die Entstehung Quarterly (1950). In giving up the security and guiding power accorded by the cantus firmus technique and the preexisting patterns. 1941). to the degree that the composer is absorbed in the desire to translate the text into music he loses interest in contrapuntal abstractions and becomes preoccupied with questions of harmonic color. 7.
Einstein.Clement Janequin. the Mass La Bataille has been edited by Henry Expert in the AnthologieChorale (Paris. trumpet calls. as it were. glorified not modern poetry in the first place but Petrarch. as it were. and the most sublime impulses of his soul. By stretching. oiseaux.and frustrationsof the human soul. he created the vast battle scenes of La bataille de Marignan. Le chant des scenes in La chasse au cerf. sacredor secular. A. desires. 70La Bataille de Marignanis availablein Henri Expert's Maitres Musiciensde la Renaissance Francaise (Paris. . an acoustical mirror to the world to catch and to render musical what was audible in it. especially in the rich literature of the Italian madrigal which. "the first modernpoet. and the delightful gossip of women in Le caquet des femmes. the trecentist. vol.70 This was in accordance with another innovation of musical technique in the Renaissance: the cantus firmusas a basis for a Mass was replacedby a complete composition with all voices.I. street scenes of Paris with the characteristic calls of the vendors in Les cries de Paris. The Italian Madrigal. 1894-1908). around the whole tonal space by going step by step through the circle of fifths until he reached after 12 steps the point of departure. and its artillery cannonadesand used it as a model for a Mass.540 EDWARD E. Adrianus Willaert. it was a Frenchman. La prinse et reduction de Boulogne. the most delicate. Thus he composed the bird concerts."69 While the Italians excelled in the development of a refined harmonic and chromaticstyle surchargedwith emotion. 7. and in Hans Engel's Das mehrstimmigeLied des 16.repeating. Janequin took his battle music with its drum rolls. hunt- Unbelievablethough it may seem. strangely enough. able to give expressionto the most intimate. created to reflect the tensions. 1947). LOWINSKY in which Magellan started his circumnavigationof the globe. the first to put in perfect form the discordanceof his own feelings. for the first time in the history of music navigated. Le rossignol. To exploit these new harmonicroutes the Pythagoreantuning system preserved throughout the Middle Ages had to be given up and it was in the Renaissancethat the first attempts at a well-temperedtuning system were made. later choir-masterof San Marco in Venice. Each one of these program chansons gave rise to a whole literature of works in the same vein. 190. L'alouette.no date). Jahrhunderts in the recent series Das Musikwerk (Cologne. The conquestof these novel means of chromaticismand modulation provided the musician with a wealth of new expressive shadings in harmonic color and melodic inflection that were to be exploited throughout the sixteenth century.and varying it the composerextendedit to the length necessaryfor the text of 69 Cf.who held up.
As was mentioned before. Curt Sachs. commentaries. the Te Deum. Thus it is that the chief attention of the composer shifts from the Mass in the fifteenth to the motet in the sixteenth century. borrowed not infrequently from secular art melodies or from folk-song. the Magnificat. And so he helped himself by using music set to more interesting texts. the composer gradually gave up the cantus firmus technique in motet composition too.71 Throughout the Renaissance. and instead strove for a polyphonic organism in which all parts were singable. and in their selection the composer had a vast choice between the books of the Old Testament. alike in rhythm. thematic material. the organist 71Cf. But vocal pieces constituted the chief repertory of purely instrumental ensembles and of the keyboard player or the lute virtuoso. they alternated with the choir in the performance of the Mass. one can interpret the evolution of instrumental music in the Renaissance as a slow process of emancipation from the domination of vocal music. 297-8. they substituted for missing voices. though enjoying a certain measure of independence. the Sentences and Aristotle. the contrapuntal elaborations. This procedure known as parody technique seems to indicate that the religious experience embodied in the Mass was no longer strong enough to compensate for the lack of drama and variety in its text. The History of Musical Instruments (New York. The texts of the motets change according to the time of the day and the season. those of the New Testament.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 541 the Mass. from preexistent patterns of form and rhythm. Just as the beginnings of independent thought on the part of the medieval theologian and philosopher are to be found in the commentaries on the accepted authorities of the Bible. the ornamentations and the variations on liturgical and secular tunes. In fact. from the cantus firmus. both spiritual and secular. i. they accompanied the solo voice. True. the Renaissance composer must have felt bored by the task of setting the invariable text of the Ordinary of the Mass to music. and the hymn.. . the Spanish called these variations glosas. One can view the evolution of vocal music in the Renaissance as one great process of emancipation: emancipation from the Gregorian chant. Dance music. 1940). Obviously. instruments were called upon to reinforce the parts sung by the choir.e. Similarly. The rise of the fugal technique of composition gave great momentum to the development of instrumental music. and later texts in Latin prose or poetry. and in their adaptability to the text. from the technique of successive composition. so we find the beginnings of an independent instrumental style in the "commentaries" on vocal models.
in later periods. to sound the pitch for the choir in a manner both effective and artful. The two principal ideas from which music has since the sixteenth century drawn its inspiration. After the arrival of a harmonic conception the medieval procedure of successive composition of voices was gone. Matthew Passion the two streams flow together into one mighty river. Matthew Passion introduced the cantus firmus of the chorale sung by the bright voices of the boys above the dramatic dialogue of two choruses. and they all contributed to the evolution of one of the most condensed. the music drama. logical and dynamic structures that music knows: the fugue. symbolic. intonazione. Aside from such rare moments of synthesis. as the last name suggests. Harmonic and polyphonic simultaneous conception as evolved by the Renaissance musician have brought about a complete change in the process of composition. and other external relationships." an autonomous musical structure performed by instruments independent of voice. harmonic. created the most passionate form of music. LOWINSKY was entirely free in those small improvisatory pieces called prelude. Italy. ricercar. In a work like Bach's St. as painting in tones. accompanied by two orchestras and continuo. music as expression. prooemium. the cantus firmus was no longer the point of departure for the successive alignment of parts. The . France. it had a merely modifying influence on the conception of a gigantic whole governed by overall dramatic. created an almost pictorial style of instrumental music that extends from the French lutenists and the clavecin music of Couperin and Rameau to the suggestive atmospheric tone poems of Debussy. both originated in the Renaissance. which specialized early in tone painting. At the end of the sixteenth century when vocal music abandons contrapuntal construction. Ultimately. which pioneered the idea of music as expression. use is made of cantus firmus.542 EDWARD E. different nations took different roads in a surprisingly logical manner. toccata. unified. he did not return to the successive manner of composition. These new forms received various names: canzona. the rise of the motivic and fugal technique of composition forms the origin of the idea of thematic work on which all instrumental music has been based ever since. preambulum. fantasia. But it was only when the new fugal style of the motet emerged that a technique was found that enabled the composer of instrumental music to evolve what we call "absolute music. and contrapuntal considerations. Even where. When Bach in the opening chorus of the St. its meaning and technique have changed fundamentally. and music as structure based on thematic work. word. counterpoint has found a new home in instrumental music. used originally.
created the greatest autonomous structures of music and led in the composition of the fugue. whom Moritz Cantor 72 calls in fact "Erfinder der Potenzgrossen mit gebrochenen Exponenten. It is interesting to observe that the theory of the continued multiplication of integers and fractional numbers by themselves found its first systematic expression in the treatise Algorismus proportionum of the greatest French mathematician of the fourteenth century. whereas the mensural notation of the Ars Nova required working with the fourth power. was described for the first time by a mathematician. Nicholas of Oresme (c. Heretofore the composer could draw only on the simple patterns of five rhythmic modes. but a notation of rhythm was introduced based on the principle of the repeated mathematical multiplication of 2 or of 3 by itself. II.. the basis of the notation of rhythm ever since. 72 . which is responsible for the emergence of fugal polyphony. The theorists of the Ars Nova emphasize more than anything else the revolution in the conception and notation of rhythm. 125. and Arabian sources (ibid. Indian. This is confirmed Johannes Tropfke. Johannes de Muris. (Berlin & by Leipzig. The latter gives also a detailed account of the beginnings of power development in Greek. 4 vols. quartet. all in ternary meter. sonata. 13231382).MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 543 Germanic North. Thus it was the mathematicians who opened the way and created the notational means for the whole vast development of rhythmic and poly-rythmic figurations in Western music. This simple yet ingenious mathematical mensuration of rhythm. 6 vols. V From the vantage-point of the criteria elaborated we can now look back at the Ars Nova of the fourteenth century to examine briefly its position." the inventor of power development with fractional exponents. and symphony. 121. 104-108). Geschichte der Mathematik. We must remember that music was part of the quadrivium and that a number of prominent theorists of music of the Middle Ages were mathematicians. It is interesting that power development in Greek mathematics was so tied to geometry and the constructions of a square and a cube that it did not exceed the third power. Nicholas of Oresme was probably the man who summarized and brought to a conclusion the mathematical thought of a whole generation. The fact that Johannes de Muris evolved his notational method before Nicholas of Oresme presented a consistently elaborated theory and mathematical notation of power development suggests that this topic had occupied French mathematicians for some time. II. 1921). in his treatise Ars novae musicae of 1319. of the University of Paris. (1890-1908). Now not only was duple meter admitted. Geschichte der Elementar-Mathematik.
An entirely arbitrary sequence of rhythms would return again and again throughout the composition. the French canon (chace) has three Guillaumede Machaut. by F. Not before the first third of the fifteenth century was isorhythmic organization slowly replaced by entirely free rhythmic invention. The differentiationand isolation of one voice from the other clarifiedby the rhythmic gradation is completed by the provision of a special text for each voice. The process of polyphonic composition was. III. In time the upper voices receivedeven texts in the French vernacular. LOWINSKY The invention of a rhythmical notation strictly proportionally mensurableallowed suddenly a whole array of smaller note values and an entirely unprecedented variety and contrast of rhythmic figures. Although an unsuspectedrichnessof rhythmicmotions was made possible. accompaniedby a free instrumental lower voice. 25. Now the other voices tell the actual story. In such a work the relation between cantus firmus and the other voices is reversed. next came the somewhat more lively middle voice (motetus). Ludwig. and last the fast moving upper voice (triplum). etc.the other voices commentedon it. no. Thus Guillaume de Machaut wrote a motet in which the cantus firmus carriesthe Latin text Et gaudebit cor vestrum73 while the two upper voices describethe joyous rewardsof faithful love in French verses. in general.. This is quite clear in the case of the Ars Nova motet. The Italian Trecento canon (caccia) is limited to two voices. The canon found its first systematic exploitation in the fourteenth century. especially the larger ones.while the cantus firmusremainedin Latin as if to lend a modicumof decorumto the invasion of the liturgical sphere by strong secular forces. First the cantus firmustaken from the GregorianChant was laid out in the lowest voice in slow motion. MusikalischeWerke.the cantus firmus with its liturgical text and melody formed the spiritual center of the composition. not abandoned. the successive one. As if bewilderedand frightened by the onrush of so many novel rhythmic possibilities. which is of secular origin.ed. Originally.the musician of the Ars Nova immediately imposed severe restrictions on them. and the cantus firmus comments on it with a well-chosenmotto of biblical or post-biblicalorigin. He subjected the whole structure of a composition. the medieval idea of the rhythmic pattern was only expanded. to a strict scheme of periodizationknown under the modernname of isorhythm and under the old Latin term of talea. 44. also availablein HistoricalAnthologyof Music. The Ars Nova made certain beginnings in simultaneous conception with the creation of new forms. All voices were subjectedto the intellectual discipline of isorhythmicprocedure.544 EDWARD E. 73 .
ScriptoresDe Musica Medii Aevi. but only by relating the canon voice constantly to the first voice. and. like the later term musica ficta. all of them canonic. were now being used prominently in the new sound texture. When simultaneous polyphonic composition was taken up by the Netherlanders we find again the use of the canon as a principal means of construction." Rivista Musicale Italiana 48 (1946).74 Obviously. in English. Pirrotta quite reasonably concludes from the fact that the French chace has three voices the priority of the simpler Italian caccia. The rules evolved by which singers were taught to apply chromatic alterations not specified in the notation. Moreover. 1300) went even so far as to justify the major and minor third as consonances even though they cannot be so reckoned on mathematical grounds. refers to the introduction of chromatic notes into modal music. in the hoquetus too there is a certain simultaneity at work in the projection of the single voices. They cultivated the double canon where two pairs of voices were canonically written. I. which explains the origin of the terms chace. were based chiefly on considerations of consonance. The term. Evidently. It is a type of simultaneous rhythmic planning.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 545 parts.75 The canon. thirds and sixths. heretofore considered dissonances for mathematical reasons. That the beginnings of simultaneous planning extended even to "harmony" may be deduced from the spectacular use of musica falsa in the Ars Nova. This proves the growing awareness of and sensitivity to the harmonic effect on the part of the Trecento composer. They used mensuration canons in which two voices start simultaneously and sing the same melody. and four voices. Canonic writing was the cradle of simultaneous polyphonic conception. 74 75Coussemaker. In other words. A realistic Englishman. but in rhythms of a different proportion. Nino Pirrotta. the canon constitutes strict imitation and thus the beginning of the polyphonic technique of simultaneous conception. 305-323. three. as used in the French chace and the Italian caccia. They developed canons for two. Series of syncopations in small note values are frequently results of this technique. 199. The Netherlanders perfected the art of canonic writing. one cannot compose a canon by successive projection of voices. catch. " Per l'origine e la storia della ' caccia' e del ' madrigale' trecentesco. was originally based on poems depicting a hunt. in which each voice is led in short tone groups that are constantly interrupted by pauses filled in by the other voices. Not only Cf. caccia. . Walter Odington (c. Another form much in use by the composers of the Ars Nova is the hoquetus.
Apel (Cambridge. 60. Palestrina. again with Josquin des Prez around 1480.546 EDWARD E. 88-105. This practice of imitating nature's sounds with tones as well as with specifically invented syllables reappeared on an enlarged scale in Janequin's program chansons. Musik des Mittelalters. II. 76 Cf. the small note values introduced through the Ars Nova as well as the hoquetus afforded splendid means to illustrate the excitement of the hunt. to flight and pursuit in battle. Vaillant. It is available in Denkmdler der Tonkunst in Osterreich IX. Historical movements rarely develop in a straightforward direction. A gradual transfer of symbolism changed the hunt to the pursuit of lovers. ex. a new upward curve (in the sense of the musical Renaissance defined before) sets in with Dufay around 1430. Davison and W. H. van den Borren. while the culminating point is reached around 1580 with the work of such composers as Lasso. without as yet achieving either the conception of perspective or the closeness of the imitation of nature that is the mark of the High Renaissance.. they are full of retrograde motions that point more to a spiral form of evolution in which the upward curve is followed by one downward. 94. The process itself cannot be denied and constitutes evidence that the Ars Nova created not only new musical techniques but a new idea of symbolism and naturalism. Andrea Gabrieli. This is another Renaissance element in the Ars Nova which carried in it the seeds of untold future possibilities. Besseler. Bericht iiber den Musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress in Basel (1924). . . It is a matter of speculation to what degree the technical innovations of the Ars Nova sprang from the desire to create musical means for a naturalistic representation of reality. T. La Musique pittoresque dans le manuscrit 222C22 de Strasbourg (XVe Siecle).. no. Mass. 1946). and Marenzio. a marvellous example is Oswald von Wolkenstein's (1377-1445) Der May modelled after a piece of the French composer J. It is clear from these brief comments that the Ars Nova takes a position midway between medieval and Renaissance principles of composition not unlike the place that Giotto holds in the art of painting. I and in the Historical Anthology of Music by A. . LOWINSKY was the canon technique a perfect symbol of the hunter chasing his prey. He combines a new feeling for nature and for movement with a new sense of space. In the Ars Nova proper we have an upward curve followed by a strong relaxation after the death of Machaut (1377). 141-142. Composers of the Trecento were also the first to conceive the idea of polyphonic bird concerts76 in which not only the music but also the text was designed to imitate bird calls by the invention of onomatopoetic syllables. Jachet Wert. and to all kinds of worldly scenes involving motion and excitement. See also Ch. then with the Italian madrigal and Willaert around 1530.
Walker. History and Technique of Old Master Drawings (New York. only a reference to ") "the concept of musica reservata. P. "Idea. or convenienza 77in the art theory of the Renaissance.78 The most important point. who abstained from melodic embellishments and preferred to set one note to each syllable of the text. between the new word-tone relationship and the concept of decorum. 276ff. springs from the humanistic movement. 55. I wrote in my review: " Strangely.79 Unlike the painter or sculptor." Cf. giving one tone to each syllable. 1924). II. Thus the Renaissance musician made bold to resurrect and surpass ancient music: resurrect it by setting Horatian odes to music in faithful observation of the ancient meters. which is the hub of the stylistic revolution in Renaissance music. the musician of the Renaissance had no actual models for his art from Greek or Roman antiquity. or the relations between the Renaissance critique of Gregorian Chant and the humanist's criticism of the Latin of the Church Fathers. de Tolnay. 1945). 23-38: Die Renaissance. omitting vocal ornamentations. which so clearly forms part of musical humanism. also the chapter on " Musica Reservata" in Secret Chromatic Art. There are other parallels: as the Renaissance composer broke loose from the confining grip of medieval patterns. Jahrhundert (1949). Der musikalische Humanismus im 16. 1943). He knew that Greek music had been closely patterned after the meter of the verse. esp. however. 78See Ch. He studied the ancient meters. 77 Cf. surpassing it by setting them in four parts.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 547 VI Within the limits of the unavoidably sketchy outline presented here it has not been possible to illuminate the manifold connections between music and the general culture of the Renaissance except in an occasional side-glance. concinnitas. ch. well aware-and proud-of the fact that harmony and polyphony were "modern " innovations enriching music beyond anything the ancients ever dreamed of. We cannot here explore the highly interesting connections between the emergence of harmonic thinking and perspective in painting. ." Ein Beitrag zur Begriffsgeschichte der ilteren Kunsttheorie (Leipzig. But he had the verses of Horace and Vergil. und friihen 17. so the Renaissance artist replaced the medieval patternbook by the sketchbook destined to hold his free inventions and observations. Erwin Panofsky. that distinct recitation was all-important to the Greek musician. 79 This is doubted by D. I should like to take this opportunity to make a slight correction. See also Panofsky's chapter on " Diirer as a Theorist of Art" in Albrecht Diirer (Princeton. and affirmed by my review of the study in the Musical Quarterly (1951). the essay contains no reference of" (instead of " no discussion of. is that the new attitude of the composer to the word.
however. 1926). Aus Liederbichern der Humanistenzeit (Leipzig. 1910). 300-13. Music historians in general have tended to belittle their value and significance. Moser. Liliencron. Bernoulli. 85 This is the formula used by Erwin Panofsky to distinguish the Italian Renaissance from the Carolingian revival on the one hand and the " proto-Renaissance" and " proto-humanism " of the 12th and 13th centuries on the other. Tritonius' odes published by his humanistic adviser Konrad Celtes in 1507 were reissued in that same year and again in 1532 and 1551. J. 201-236. In 1533 Nicolaus Faber published the Melodiae Prudentianae et in Virgilium now available in a reprint by J. "The Goddess Fortuna in Music. Lowinsky. " Die geistlichen Oden des Georg Tranozius und die Odenkompositionen des Human81 Some hymns appeared in ismus. LOWINSKY Compared to the towering contrapuntal constructions of the time the Latin odes appear naive and simple today.80 A similar technique was used for the composition of hymns. Geschichte der deutschen Musik (Stuttgart-Berlin. 80 . Furthermore. Tritonius' collection.84we must concede that a revision of our notions of the humanistic influence on music is in order. 82 E." 85 That in the R.548 EDWARD E. see his article "Renaissance and Renascences. C. v. the governing principle of Fortuna. 83 See above.. VI." in Die Musikforschung. E. text to note 30. the same: Paul Hofhaimer (Stuttgart-Berlin. There are many other ancient gods and goddesses besides Venus and Fortuna to be found in musical compositions of the Renaissance." the term used at the time to signify something akin to our modern change of key or modulation. 379-398." The Musical Quarterly (1943). was expressed by the Renaissance composer through musical "mutation. In the "humanistic " compositions a conscious attempt was made "to reintegrate classical form with classical content. H. see Beilage XVI a-c. preserved the essence of the humanistic requirement: faithful and sensitive declamation of the text. Wolff. 4 (1953). the French composers of the later chanson mesuree a l'antique applied precisely the same principles to French verse in a musically more sophisticated manner. 84E. H. the verses of the abandoned Dido from Vergil's Aeneid were set to music throughout the century in a free and expressive style which.81 the simple and syllabic settings of German chorales-some of which can be found in one manuscript together with humanistic odes82were certainly not unaffected by this new style. 162-167 and musical appendix 112-128." The Kenyon Review (1944). 1952)." Vierteljahrsschrift fur Musikwissenschaft (1887). In this study it was demonstrated how the idea of mutation. 1929). Jh. If we note furthermore that such ancient goddesses as Venus 83 and Fortuna appear in sixteenth century music and that important stylistic innovations are introduced for "iconological" reasons. " Die Horazischen Metren in deutschen Kompositionen des 16. But we cannot fail to note the impression they made on contemporary minds. Vecchi (Bologna.
and the theory of musical ethos than did preceding generations. di che a mesi passati n'hebbi copia. and he entitled his treatise accordingly L'antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica. It has apparently not been noticed by modern writers that Galilei on p. 1947]. and a much better student of Greek writers than Vicentino ever aspired to be. of the intimate union between poetry and music. in which he introduced the use of chromatic and enharmonic music with its half and even quarter tones. 1949). the great musician and theorist. the nature of Greek music was a sealed book to the Camerata. That all this had a decisive influence on the creation of dramatic monody was shown sufficiently by D. Yet Galilei and his contemporaries knew so many writings on Greek music that the above statement cannot be upheld in this radical form. Vincenzo Galilei.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 549 absence of Greek models this attempt was doomed to failure from the start is obvious. P. since its notation could not be deciphered" (see M. he scorned counterpoint and demanded that the text be set to music for one voice only. Walker in his study on " The Musical Humanism.86 In this bold and It has been said that " In spite of Galilei's discovery of the hymn of Mesomedes. Nicola Vicentino based his treatise of 1555. father of Galileo the physicist. of the primacy of the poetic text and the subordinate role of music. 91 of his Dialogo della Musica Antica e Moderna speaks of the famous tables of Alypios which contain the key to the Greek letter notation. wrote a book entitled Dialogo della Musica antica e moderna. the first original of Greek music known at the time. that he prints on pp. on the Greek use of the chromatic and enharmonic genus. a member of the Florentine camerata. 92-95 an extensive part of the tables of Alypios with the letters for vocal and for instrumental notation and their modern equivalents. that he then proceeds to print the three hymns of Mesomedes without claiming to have discovered them himself (lequali furono trouate in Roma da un Gentil86 . they had a much clearer grasp of Greek modes. The men of the Camerata were quite aware of the monodic character of Greek music. is today the generally accepted view. But is it correct to say that the notation of the hymns of Mesomedes " could not be deciphered"? This. drew the decisive conclusions. genders. It was published in 1581. 7). and genders with certain emotions. Greek writings on music were studied by Renaissance musicians with the same awe and reverence as the philosophers studied Plato. that the vocal part be entirely subservient to the recitation and dramatic expression of the text and that harmonic support be left to an instrumental accompaniment. What matters is the fact that it wrought a profound and lasting change in the musical thought and practice of the Renaissance by which all subsequent epochs were inescapably affected. con non poca difficolta). Bukofzer. the sculptors ancient statues. Galilei. and the architects the remaining ancient buildings. indeed." The Music Review (1941-1942). They knew that the ancients coordinated carefully certain rhythms. German translation (Kassel-Basel. Music in the Baroque Era [New York. He postulated complete abandonment of the polyphonic style in music. that he refers to Alypios's tract (si trova particularmente in Roma nella libreria Vaticana. modes.
It is impossible to say that they " could not be deciphered. . . oratorio. what precisely it means. and even parts of Eastern Europe. opera. and if so. Thus the study of Greek ideas on music was used as a catalyst to bring about those radical changes in the aims and means of music that introduced a new epoch. Galilei puts all this into the mouth of Count Bardi. usually at the end of a line. a mere examination of the reprint of the ancient notation was sufficient to demonstrate to the readers of Galilei that these hymns were not contrapuntal. Now Strozzi answers that he is overjoyed finally to have real Greek music in his hands. indeed. Just those things that mattered to the humanistic musician were perfectly evident from the original Greek notation even though the actual melody was not presented in modern notes. and that. but monodic. The initial impulse came from the prosperous and music loving Netherlands and developed such force that it reached into all corners of Western. it consisted of two. are to be found in the original notation.) and that he finally advises those who would like to transcribe these hymns in modern notation of the omissions and errors that. in conclusion. I believe that a justification for so doing may be established on the foundation of the following ten theses: 1. that if a melisma occurred. The constant migration of Netherlands musicians to Italy and the interaction between Italian harmony and Northern counterpoint were essential factors in the direction of huomo nostro Fiorentino. at the first opportunity he will transcribe the hymns into modern notation. that mostly there was only one note to a syllable of the text. 1552) for a Greek notation very similar to Galilei's Segni del Lydio.550 EDWARD E. (1st ed. Le Second Solitaire (1555). rarely of three notes. Cf. The authority of ancient Greece was invoked to unseat the universal rule of counterpoint that had been reigning uncontested for half a millenium. 25-27." Besides. All that can be said therefore is that Galilei did not actually offer a transcription of the Greek hymns. The reason why Galilei did not transcribe the hymns himself may be sought in the imperfect form in which he found the hymns notated. but also perhaps in the indisputable fact that the Greek melodies are so far removed from the ideal of Italian 16th century melody that he must have feared to deter rather than to encourage his contemporaries to study and love Greek music. Pontus de Tyard. through the long passage of time and the fault of copyists. 93. LOWINSKY highly controversial treatise principles were enunciated that were to govern the music of the future: cantata. VII We return. In the fifteenth century a reorganization of musical institutions was begun which created the material foundation for an unsurpassed flowering of music. In spite of the considerable reluctance on the part of eminent musical scholars to use the term "Renaissance " in music. before it was spent. . to our initial question: can the study of music make a relevant contribution to the problem so hotly debated among historians of culture whether or not there was a " Renaissance " and if so.
The territory of remote tones in the circle of fifths. 3. the intensive development of musica ficta. the development of harmony.. The result is a completely unified musical organism. 5. 4. Emancipation is impossible without criticism. with regard to cantus'firmus composition -their nature was essentially changed. Aeolian. But this criticism was only a symptomatic manifestation of the rejection of the whole code of medieval musical aesthetics and the procedures of composition. and later from the shackle of isorhythmic construction. 6. The introduction of new modes. from the dominion of rhythmic modes. also.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 551 musical development during the Renaissance. inaccessible before because of the monopoly held by Pythagorean tuning laws. Ionian that of our major scale). 2. The emancipation from the Gregorian chant went hand in hand with the gradual emancipation from the old system of modes. brought about a crisis in the modal system which was to lead gradually to modern tonality. was newly discovered." in the case of simultaneous polyphonic conception it is the projection of each part in connection with every other part. Unprecedented was the enlargement of the tonal world: the tone space was extended in both directions. the introduction of chromaticism and of harmonic modulation. . Ionian and their plagal companions (Aeolian is the predecessor of our minor. The most radical innovation in the process of composition in the Renaissance is the transition from a successive to a simultaneous conception of parts: in the case of simultaneous harmonic conception it is the newly acquired capacity to "think in harmonies. instruments were being built in lower and higher registers than ever before. above all. and emancipation.g. to which the English made an early but decisive contribution through their insistence on the consonant character of thirds and sixths in spite of mathematical evidence adduced by Puritanic Pythagoreans. emancipation. chromaticism was introduced. e. from the hold of Pythagorean tuning. Zarlino's criticism of the Gregorian chant and its ensuing reform were as typical for the humanistic attitude as they would have been unthinkable on the part of medieval composers. The outstanding characteristic of the musical innovations of the Renaissance was a movement of emancipation carried on along the whole front of creative activity: emancipation from the formes fixes. Even where medieval techniques remained in force side by side with the new-as. the use of quartertones was considered and tried experimentally. from the cantus firmus and cantus prius factus principle. harmonic modulation was discovered.
The vehicle of virtuoso exhibitionism was the art of improvisingembellishmentsand coloraturas. This humanistic spirit. Though instrumentalmusic learnedto walk hand in hand with its older sister. they could also be played entirely by instruments. The endless warningsagainst excess and improperapplication. It was sufficient for him to read Plato to discoverthat the intimate relationship with poetry was at the root of Greek musical thought and practice. the virtuoso precedes virtuoso music. or instruments. as it were. for the Renaissancemusician to know actual Greekmusic. "visible throughtones.an art assiduously cultivated by singers and players. coupled with all the instructions on how to improvise embellishments. too. fugue and ostinato forms. harpsichord. had its source in the Greek chromaticand enharmonic genders. so that the subject matter becomes. "Homo sum nil humani mihi alienum puto" was a sentiment that the Renais- sance composer could utter with full justification. was responsiblefor the vocalization of polyphony and for the emergenceof the new choral art. 9." this is the deepest motivation of the stylistic revolution in Renaissancemusic. It was not necessary. equally with the progressive " " harmonization of music. The expansion of the text repertoryof the Renaissancecomto poser corresponded the enlargementof tonal means. It is safe to make two statements in this connection: the virtuosois a Renaissance phenomenon. 8. toccata. it may be said that this is the contributionof humanism to music. To sing the text in each part so that it can be understood and felt. The great freedom with regard to the performanceof music for voices. The wealth of new musical means was born from the overwhelmingdesire to express and paint in tones the outer world of nature and the inner reality of man. Polyphonicpieces could be sung by one voice accompanied or by lute.as has been claimed. Though this can still be demonstratedin much greater detail. organ.the developmentof the vocal and instrumental virtuoso. it was in the Renaissance that instrumental music becameindependentand developeda numberof autonomous forms from which could develop prelude. The emancipation of instrumental music was furthered by the vast expansion of the instrumentarium. vocal music. and genders to different texts was at the bottom of the Greek theory of musical ethos. facilitated also.show what sins against style and taste were committedout of the desirefor individualdistinction. None of this was used for its own sake.or a combinationof both. while the idea of adapting different modes. for better or for worse. Thus the real heart of Renaissance music is the new relation to the word and to language. LOWINSKY 7. rhythms.by the tre- .552 EDWARD E. But the preoccupationwith chromatic and with quartertone composition.
it is more surprising to hear Vicentino give among the reasons for inventing this instrument the following (book IV. This instrument had no fewer than six manuals. . I should like to conclude with one last illustration that shows these traits in a rare combination. ch. harmonic. or formal designs-every musical enterprise of the Renaissance is characterized by an endless curiosity. and by the keen sense for timbre and color developed during the Renaissance and leading to the art of orchestration in the Baroque. an intrepid pioneering spirit and an inexhaustible joy in theoretical speculation. constructed a marvelously complicated harpsichord which he named archicembalo (described in the fifth book of his treatise). the acoustical mathematical imagination and the technical ingenuity spent on it may be impressive. personal and literary controversy and debate. The octave thus had not 12. French. but into five intermediary tones. The archicembalo became the delight of the connoisseurs. for it divided every whole tone not into two. Surely. so that with the division of our harpsichord we can accommodate all the nations of the world. Nicola Vicentino of Ferrara. Whether it be improvements of old or invention of new instruments. Queens College (Currently: The Institute for Advanced Study). whether it is a matter of resurrecting ancient music or of probing into unexplored tonal regions. new modal theories. and practical experimentation. Hungarian. Through this musical instrument Vicentino erected a symbolic bridge which stretches from ancient Greece to the new West.MUSIC IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE 553 mendous changes undergone by every type of instrument. in his enthusiasm for resurrecting the half and quarter tone music of the Greeks. it would not have occurred to a medieval musician to build an instrument not only to facilitate the reconstruction of Greek music but to allow the infidel Turk and the erring Jew to intone their chants as well as the orthodox Christian. a firm-if at times concealed-refusal to abide by authority for authority's sake. and Jewish music. Spanish. new melodic." And now Vicentino mentions specifically German. new calculations of intervals. and a confusing multitude of strings and tones. rhythmic. whether it concerns new tuning systems. Turkish. but 31 tones. imitations and variations of it were constructed throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 10. 29): "The inflections and intervals that all nations of the world use in their native speech do not proceed only in whole and half tones. from the Renaissance to the era of the Enlightenment and right down to the century of the United Nations. but also in quarter tones and even smaller intervals. But while the artistic daring. It also became the headache of tuners.
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