Music as Expression - Bedford/St. Martin`s

Chapter 6
The Renaissance
Music as
Key Terms
Word painting
Italian madrigal
English madrigal
Music as Expression
Composers inspired by descriptions of
ancient Greek music
• The power of music to arouse deep emotions
• Orpheus and his lyre (or David and his harp?)
Unlike earlier music, Josquin’s music
began to “illustrate” words and phrases
Two important developments
• Accurate declamation
• Word painting
Declamation is the manner in which words
are set to music
Accurate declamation uses rhythms that
closely match natural speech rhythms
Starting with Josquin, composers began to
use more accurate declamation
Late Renaissance reliance on homophonic
texture reflects increasing use of good
Word Painting
Musical illustration of the meaning of a word or
Rapid notes for “fly” or “glitter”
High notes or upward leaps for “up” or “heaven”
Descending motive or a rest for “sigh”
Dissonances or chromatic harmonies for “grief,” “cruel,”
“torment,” “harsh,” or “alas”
The Madrigal
Originated in Italy around 1530
Short composition set to one-stanza poem
Most often a love poem
Rapid change of ideas and images echoed
by changing motives and textures of
musical setting
• Alternation between imitation and homophony
(similar to Mass and motet)
One singer to a part, meant for intimate
The Madrigal
But unlike Mass or motet:
Points of imitation were shorter
Imitation was less strict
Often much more homophony
Words were much more important
Declamation and word painting used with great
variety and subtlety
No genre realized Renaissance ideal of
music as expression as fully as the
Weelkes, “As Vesta Was from
Latmos Hill Descending”
Madrigal also proved enormously popular
in late Renaissance England
Words for Weelkes’s madrigal written to
honor Queen Elizabeth (Oriana!)
Bright, exuberant musical setting
Simple rhythms
Clear harmonies
Crisp, engaging melodic motives
Accurate declamation and frequent word
Word Painting in
Weelkes’s Madrigal
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