The Renaissance was a time of a new revival of humanism and individualism, allowing people to express their opinions and ideas more freely than ever before. This revival caused a growth in the amount of secular music being produced, and with this new music came new and controversial styles of dancing. In this paper I will examine, in great detail, the music, composers, and numerous styles of dancing that came about during the Renaissance.
The Renaissance Era, spanning from 1450 to 1600 AD, experienced a growth in humanism and individualism among various forms of art, including music. In fact, the word “Renaissance” means “reconstruction” or “rebirth”. The increase in creativity and freedom gave artists the chance to stray away from the extremely controlled ideas of the Medieval Era. Much of the art produced during this time was rooted in ancient Greek ideas. Artists of the Renaissance were often recognized and praised during their lifetimes, rather than years after their deaths. As new printing methods were developed, music was more easily distributed to the people and could be preserved.
Much of the most important music of the Renaissance era is polyphonic, meaning the music was created by multiple melodies played simultaneously. As in the Medieval Era, sacred music was of great importance, however, secular music was becoming more and more common. Because of this, both sacred music and secular madrigals began to claim a polyphonic style.
As the style of music was evolving, instruments were also improved and refined, and many new instruments were invented to create new sounds that were never heard before in the musical community. A few of these new instruments included the virginal and the clavichord, which were both keyboard instruments. The lute became a very popular instrument during the era and was the most common instrument for household use and family music making.
During the Medieval Era, sacred music was the most common and important music of the time. Sacred music was able to maintain its importance during the Renaissance, but the style of this music took on a more polyphonic style. Most sacred music came in the forms of masses and motets, and did not require instrumental accompaniment. However, sacred music was often still accompanied by a small instrumental group or by the lute.
Secular music during the Medieval Era was very uncommon, as the culture of the time only found music acceptable within the church. However, as humanism and individualism came and the Renaissance began, secular music became much more common to the everyday household. Vocal forms of secular music included madrigals, motets, and songs. Instrumental music was normally a short polyphonic piece for dancing.
The polyphonic sound of the Renaissance was rather harmonious, as opposed to the monophonic sounds of medieval style. Many composers began to use the method of imitation, making music more elaborate and coherent, giving listeners a greater appreciation...