Essay Sample on Word Painting in Renaissance Vocal Music

Published: 2019-11-11
Essay Sample on Word Painting in Renaissance Vocal Music
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Music History Culture
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 581 words
5 min read

In the context of Renaissance vocal music, word painting refers to a device often utilized in events and is usually created to reflect or illustrate the text. It is affiliated with the program music and tone-painting concepts, with which the music tells the story without the need for text; such as it is the case with madrigals. The practice is applicable today although in a different manner (Weiss et al. 32).

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Erasmus and Council of Trent Complaints on Church Music

Even though discussions surrounding church music comprised only of a segment of the Council of Trents work, the notion that it revolved around music reflects its importance in the life of the church. In this sense, the several complaints that Erasmus and Council of Trent raised against church music comprised of the disrespectful attitude the singers portrayed, neglecting text, secular spirit overabundance, and overutilization of musical instruments during church service (Weiss et al. 76).

How Palestrina met the Challenge

To meet the challenge, Palestrina focused on addressing the issue of evaluating whether it was possible to purify music sufficiently, thus made significant investments with authority to institute relevant findings. The facts were not clear, while the music ban under threat did not take place. Rather, Palestrina required Church composers to adopt a conservative style immediately. He reacted to the cultural gatekeepers dictate, while requiring the music composers to do the same (Weiss at al. 110).

Renaissance madrigal Characteristics

A madrigal refers to a vocal music composed in a secular way, normally as a Baroque and Renaissance eras part-song. Conventionally, madrigals that were polyphonic in nature were not accompanied, while the voice numbers vary between two and eight, while the most frequent ones range between three and six. Italy serves as the origin of madrigals. As opposed to other strophic types during the time, composers aimed at expressing the emotions that every line presented, while at times targeting single words gathered from a popular poem. The madrigal emerged partly from frottola, interest in the recovery Italian poetry, motets polyphonic style, and French chanson influence (Weiss et al. 87).

Madrigal and Motel Similarities and Differences

The significant similarities between a madrigal and a motet revolve around homophonic textures, polyphonic textures, and imitation strategies. Regarding homophonic textures, it describes two or additional parts of an individual melodic line, which move together in a harmonious manner. In the case of such a song, it usually comprises of an individual melody, which the chords provide support. For polyphonic textures, it describes the composition of music, which utilizes two or more concurrent but autonomous melodic lines, voices, or parts. It becomes apparent in instances where a woman sings one melodic part while a man sings a separate one during the same time. As for the imitation technique, it is a process or echoing a melody instantaneously at a different point or part to cause overlap. Here, the motet and madrigal portray similarities in those areas (Weiss et al. 27). Regarding the differences, a motel emphasizes on sacred topics. It utilizes the Latin language whereas it is also smooth and predictable in nature. In the case of a madrigal, it targets issues that surround stories and social themes and utilizes vernacular languages. Moreover, it is unpredictable in that, it might comprise of dissonance, word paintings to facilitate emphasis, and sudden cadences (Weiss et al. 41).

Work Cited

Weiss, Susan Forscher, Russell E Murray and Cynthia J Cyrus. Music Education in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011. Print.

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