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The Rise of Instrumental Music

After 1450, more instrumental works were written down.


Prior to 1450, instrumental music was largely improvised.
Distinct styles, genres, and forms emerged after 1450.
Publications of instrumental works began to proliferate after 1550.
Vocal music remained the most prestigious type of music.
Relationship to vocal music
Vocal music was often performed instrumentally.
Instruments frequently doubled or replaced accompanying voices in vocal music.
Tendencies in the Renaissance
The emergence of independent compositional styles and genres for instruments
The reliance on preexistent vocal genres
Types of Instrumental Music
Dance music
Arrangements of vocal music
Settings of existing melodies
Variations
Abstract instrumental works

nce Music
Renaissance dance music
Social dancing was regarded highly (see In Context, p. 143 and Figure 8.3).
Performers generally improvised or played dances from memory.
With the advent of printing, dances began to appear in published collections.

Types of published dances


Dances for an ensemble of instruments
Dances for solo lute or keyboard

Characteristics
Each dance has a particular meter, tempo, rhythmic pattern, and form.
Dances feature distinct sections, usually repeated.
The phrase structure is usually clear and predictable.
Tielman Susatos Danserye (NAWM 66), La morisque (The Moor, NAWM 66a)

Instrumentation
Composers often did not specify instruments in his dances; the choice was up to the
performers.
Idiomatic instrumental writing began in the seventeenth century.
Most wind and string instruments were built in sets that covered the range from bass
to soprano.
English terms for ensembles: Consorts and Broken Consorts
Pairing of dances
Dances were often grouped in twos or threes.
Typical pair: slow dance in duple meter and a fast dance in triple
The second dance was often a variation on the first.
The pavane and galliard were often combined (see NAWM 66b and c and Figures 8.6
and 8.7).
The passamezzo and saltarello were popular in Italy.
Arrangements of Vocal Music
Vocal music provided a major source for instrumental music.
Instrumental ensembles played from vocal parts, often adding embellishments.
A significant number of vocal works were labeled: for singing and playing.
Intabulations
Lutenists and keyboard players made arrangements of vocal pieces.
Often written in tablature; became known as intabulations
Since plucked instruments cannot sustain like voices, arrangers added idiomatic
figurations and ornaments to sustain sound.
Luis de Narvez (fl. 152649) Mille regretz, 1538 (NAWM 68a)

Settings of Existing Melodies


Types of melodies incorporated into instrumental works
Chanson melodiesmost important
Gregorian chant
Catholic churches
Chants sung antiphonally could alternate choir and organ.
Organ would play cantus-firmus or paraphrase settings, which are called organ
verses or versets.

Lutheran churches
Verses of hymns could alternate between the congregation singing in unison and a
polyphonic setting for choir or organ.
Collections of hymn settings for organ appeared in the 1570s.

Variations
Early variations
The variation form was a sixteenth-century invention.
Variations became independent instrumental works.
The lute
Many dances and variations were written for the lute, the most popular household
instrument in the sixteenth century.
Characteristics
The lute was introduced in Spain by Arabs, who called the instrument al-ud.
Lute composers created sets of variations on standard airs.
Closely related: the Spanish vihuela, which has a flat back and a guitar-shaped body.
Los seys libros del Delphin (The Six Books of the Dauphin, 1538)
English keyboard variations
The variation was popular in the late sixteenth and early
seventeenth centuries.
The preferred instrument was the virginal, a member of the
harpsichord family.
Characteristics
Parthenia (1613) is the first published collection of virginal
music.
Pavana Lachrymae by William Byrd (NAWM 69)

ract Instrumental Works


ome instrumental works were created independent of dance rhythms or borrowed tunes.
Most developed from improvisation on lute or keyboard
Others drew on imitative textures derived from vocal music

Reasons to improvise
Introduce a song
Fill time during a church service
Establish the mode of a subsequent chant or hymn
Test the tuning of a lute
Entertain the performer or audience

Common titles

Canzona
Contrapuntal instrumental genre
Originally was a transcription of a chanson, which gave the genre its name
Newly composed canzonas adopted the style of the imitative French chanson by 1580.
Characteristics

nsemble Canzonas
Giovanni Gabrieli (ca. 15551612)
Canzon septimi toni a 8 (Canzona in Mode 7 in Eight Parts, NAWM 70)