Music JournalNo outside resources
Listen to a half-hour of music on the LIVE radio. (No Pandora/Spotify for this assignment, please! However, online streaming radio is permitted.) You will be
writing about what you hear during this time-frame, and you are more than welcome to divide up your listening session into more than one chunk, such as 15 minutes one
day and 15 minutes on another day. Make sure you’re listening to 30 minutes worth of music, not including commercial breaks.
For this first entry, listen to a station of your choice. Any genre or style of music is OK!
In your journal, first list:
the radio station name
the radio station’s website (where I can find/verify playlist information)
Then, write your journal in the following format. List the name/artist of each song you heard, along with the EXACT time you heard this. Write a paragraph describing
what you heard in the song (in prose, NOT in incomplete sentences or in a list). Focus on specific, concrete, and objective musical characteristics, centering on:
Do NOT write about the emotional response to the music. It’s great if you love a song, but I’m looking for your observations on how the music is constructed, rather
than a “review” of what you like or dislike. Please do not resort to using metaphoric descriptions (i.e. “this song sounded like a beautiful sunset or a Disney
In a concluding paragraph, compare/contrast one of the songs you heard to something from assigned listening from weeks
DO NOT use outside research for this assignment. This is a listening exercise about using your ears!
I did upload the lecture materials as well.
Week 2 lecture material, part 2 the late Middle Ages and Renaissance The Middle Ages and the development of polyphony Polyphony first developed as early as the 9th
century. Maybe plainchant (a monophonic genre) started getting boring���who knows! The first types of polyphonic music were not necessarily that exciting by today���s
standards, and the earliest polyphony was sacred, not secular. A line of plainchant would be sung, and underneath that, another single note would be drawn out. By the
12th century, sacred polyphony began to be written with much more frequency, and would have been performed on high feast days, such as Christmas, Easter, or Pentecost.
At the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, two composers emerged: Leonin and Perotin. By this time, polyphony had become much more intricate; now we would hear different
independent melodies being sung at the same time! Polyphonic music for the church became a new genre of music: organum. Listen to an example by the 12th century
composer Leonin in your listening examples folder titled ���Viderunt Omnes.��� There are two melodies present during much of the piece – a faster one on top, and a slower
one (originally based on a plainchant melody) on the bottom. Not terribly exciting, is it Church music and the genre of organum evolved a great deal throughout the
13th and 14th centuries. More composers began to write polyphonic music for church services, eventually setting the texts of the mass (the central ritual of the
Catholic Church service) to music. Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) is remembered today for being the first composer to write a polyphonic setting of the complete
mass; listen to the example of the Agnus Dei movement in the listening examples folder for this week. Does it sound strange to you Why Are the harmonies dissonant
or consonant Does the harmony sound like something you would hear today Probably not. The Renaissance
The word ���Renaissance��� literally means rebirth, and during this period in European history, usually listed as running from about 1400-1600, culture went through a
period of revitalization. The arts and music, influenced by the Classical models of ancient Greece and Rome, began to flourish outside of the church, and the general
philosophy of the time was very different than that of the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages, we observed how the Catholic Church held a great deal of political and
social power. People were very influenced by the church, in focusing on the divine rather than the earthly in their personal lives. During the Renaissance, the
philosophy of humanism ��� meaning that humans are ultimately in control of their own personal destinies and choices ��� became prevalent in society. The humanist
philosophy manifested itself in the arts and music in a number of ways; no longer was music limited to sacred topics, and composers began to notate music for many new
types of settings. New genres were invented and developed, and more people began to perform music outside of the church, even as amateurs in the home. There were a
number of major developments that helped to strengthen the humanist movement in Europe. One was the invention of the printing press and moveable type. During the
Middle Ages, books and musical manuscripts were copied by hand, often by scribe-clerics in the church. Once the printing press was invented, books and music could be
mass-produced and distributed to everyone. Education was then no longer limited to churches, but could take place
in secular society as well. This led to more education for the general public; while there was still a large number of illiterate people in the Renaissance, more and
more people began to learn to read and write (both words and music). People may also have been led to a more humanist view of life because of the inner turmoil of
the church. Beginning in the early 16th century, a number of religious sects broke off from the main Catholic Church. These sects demanded reform on a number of
levels, from political to theological reasons. Three of these break-off movements were Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Calvinism, and this trend was termed the
Reformation. Another major development in European culture was the ���discovery��� and conquest of the New World in North America. Remember that Columbus��� first voyage
took place during the Renaissance, in 1492! The fact that traveling long distances had become possible opened up new careers and trade opportunities for Europeans,
often at the expense of native cultures. A new merchant class developed in Europe, unconnected with the nobility, and here we see the beginnings of a ���middle class���
society. This new ���middle class��� had more money, some access to education, and more leisure time to pursue the arts. Sacred Music in the Renaissance Sacred music
(music of the church) in the Renaissance took a decidedly more conservative turn in comparison to composers such as Machaut from the late Middle Ages. Rhythms became
simpler, dissonances were less frequent, and specific ���rules��� began to be applied in composition. Most of the sacred music of the Renaissance continued to have a
polyphonic texture, and imitation became a common unifying characteristic. Imitation refers to polyphonic music where one melodic line begins, and then is followed by
another independent melodic line that begins in a very similar (if not identical) manner. Two common genres of sacred music during the Renaissance were the motet and
the mass. The motet used sacred words, often from the Bible. The mass had five movements (or five independent sections): the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus
Dei. The texts for the mass never changed, no matter whom composed the music. Both the motet and the mass used Latin texts and were predominantly polyphonic. Both
used imitation as well, and were sung a cappella. Music from the Catholic Church before the Reformation and following the Reformation was very different. Prior to the
Reformation, secular songs would have been used as a basis for the imitation; you might hear something similar to a popular secular song as the opening of a melodic
line, sung to the words of ���Kyrie��� or ���Gloria.��� Furthermore, most music prior to the Reformation had very complicated polyphony, or many very independent melodies.
Often, this sophisticated texture would obscure the words being sung. Some of Martin Luther���s gripes with the Catholic Church included the influence of secular music
on liturgical music, as well as the fact that text could not be understood! The Catholic Church responded to the Protestant Reformation spearheaded by Luther with new
rules designed at the Council of Trent during the ���Counter-Reformation.��� No longer could secular influences be present in sacred masses or motets, the words had to be
understood, and strict rules were developed governing the use of consonance and dissonance. Imitation was still used, but often imitation was based on plainchant
rather than secular songs. An example of pre Counter-Reformation sacred music is the motet by Josquin des Prez, Ave Maria, found in your listening examples folder.
Listen for the alternation of polyphonic texture with some instances of homophony, and see if you can identify imitative entrances of independent melodic lines.
Secular Music in the Renaissance Because of the influence of humanism, the spread of education, and the invention of the printing press, secular music began to flower
during the Renaissance. We will look at two types of secular music, vocal and instrumental. One important aspect of the Renaissance was that it was the beginning of
careers for professional musicians. People could make a living teaching and performing music, usually at the courts of the wealthy or the nobility. While this career
was lucrative, it did not place musicians well into society; professional musicians were often thought of as ���low class��� servants and female professional musicians
were very rare. Women who became musicians were often equated with prostitutes! It was not until the 19th century that being a professional musician lost this type
of stigma. Vocal Music The madrigal was the genre of choice for most Renaissance vocal music. Madrigals were secular, polyphonic, a cappella pieces of music that
would have been likely performed in courts as entertainment. Madrigals from different countries had different qualities. In Italy, madrigals were based often on
lofty, intellectual poetry that contained many sophisticated metaphors. In England, madrigals were not as sophisticated and often contained refrains that used
nonsense syllables, such as ���fa la la.��� English madrigals often were not as highly polyphonic as Italian madrigals. Both types of madrigals, however, had many
characteristics in common. They all tended to alternate between homophony and polyphony, usually had texts about love in the vernacular language, and used word
painting (or illustrating the text through the sound of the music) frequently. There is an example of an English madrigal in the listening examples folder, Fair
Phyllis by John Farmer. Listen for imitation within the polyphonic texture, and see if you can identify any instances of word painting! One hint – what happens with
the words ���up and down ��� Instrumental music Much more instrumental music is preserved from the Renaissance in comparison to the Middle Ages. This is undoubtedly due
to the changes in culture we have examined earlier. Dance music became an increasingly popular genre of instrumental music during the Renaissance. Because of the
printing press, instrumental music was finally being notated and circulated, unlike during the Middle Ages! Listen to the examples of the dances from Terpsichore by
Michael Praetorius in the listening examples folder. These are excellent examples of Renaissance dance music. These dances would have been danced to at courts; court
dances were very popular and often involved intricate steps. Do these dances sound a little more ���accessible��� to your ears If so, it���s likely because they use a
homophonic texture, rather than a polyphonic texture. Dance music tended to be in homophonic texture, relying on a simple melody and driving rhythm (which we will
discuss next week) in order to provide interest!
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