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The Renaissance Period of Music

The "Renaissance Period" of music is the first earliest formal style period of music. It took place mostly in Europe, from the years 1450-1600. Here is a picture of the kind of clothing people wore during the Renaissance:

The word renaissance means "rebirth" in French. During this time, artists and musicians studied the art and music of the ancient Greeks and Romans and used these ancient ideas to compose their music. One man named Grout descibed the Renaissance period as a “rebirth of the human spirit, a revival of standards of culture.”

During the Renaisannce Period, songs were often sung without instruments to accompany them. This singing style was called "a capella." One famous kind of a capella music from this period is called "Gregorian Chant" music. Gregorian Chant music was music sung by a choir of men. They usually sung this kind of song in Latin and in churches at that time.

Click Here to Hear Some Gregorian Chant Music!

Infact, many musicians made a living by writing music for the church and for rich patrons.

A very popular instrument that was used during the Renaissance period was called a lute. Musicians would travel from town to town and play the lute and sings songs called "madrigals." These madrigal songs were often about being in love or having their heart broken. Look at this picture of a lute. What family of instruments do you think it belongs to?

Here is a picture of what a person singing a madrigal would look like:

Click Here to Hear a Madrigal Sang and Played on a Lute!

The most important scientific invention to music, the invention of the printing press in 1450, was made during the Renaissance. The man who invented the press was a German man named Johannes Gutenburg. Before the printing press had been invented all musicians had to write out thier music by hand! When music was written by hand was very decorated and fancy. It took a long time for a person to write out a piece of music! It looked like these:

The printing press allowed musicans to easily make more copies of their music to sell and use. The printing press looked like this:

Important Composers of the Renaissance:

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Click here to hear more music from the Renaissance Period!