Vocal Music Essay

1353 Words 6 Pages
The development of vocal music in the musical world has been one of the most significant developments in musical history. Without the considerable developments in vocal music that happened between the medieval period of music to the Baroque, music would not be the same concept we have come to know today. The medieval world was drastically different than the world we know today. Lacking simplicity and harmony, the environment was filled with war, disease, and famine. Having to cope with such difficulties, the people of this time period resorted to faith and the church. This brought about many changes within artistic environment of the medieval society. Paintings, architecture, and music began to flourish. Since faith was the magnet brining …show more content…
A prominent vocal style of music was the Renaissance Motet. The Renaissance Motet contained polyphony, word painting, sacred Latin text, and often an imitative chorus. The Renaissance Mass was also an important genre of the era. With the addition of more lines to music, composers began creating pieces that were more complex that before but still emphasized the text and vocal components of the piece. An eminent composer of this genre is Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina. His piece “Missa Papae Marcelli” musically illustrates the Renaissance Mass. The vocals are emphasized and easily understood and imitative polyphony is heard throughout this piece. Differing from vocal genres that still utilized Latin text, psalm tunes were written vernacular. The chorale was another form of music that came about in the Renaissance era. Some chorales were completely new while some were taken from religious poems. They had strophic form and the stanzas reflected the music. “Ei’ feste Burg” by Martin Luther is a Lutheran Chorale that has strophic form, quadruple meter, and some instrumentation.
With the rise of secular music came new genres. The madrigal was a new form of music that (vocally) combined homophonic and polyphonic textures. Madrigals utilized vernacular rather than text. Word painting was also a common feature of madrigals. Being secular, madrigals were often performed in social gatherings instead of in a church setting.
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Many operas focused on stories of great length that were beautifully and dramatically presented by vocalists. The dramatic vocals had to match a dramatic text, so they often sang Greek mythological stories. “Tu se’ morta” from LOrfeo by Claudio Monteverdi is an example of an early opera in the Baroque era. This opera features a tenor voice, few instruments such as organ and bass flute, expressive dissonance and word painting. The music is homophonic in texture and the singing is in the rhythm of speaking. Unlike operas, arias placed more importance on the music itself rather than the text. An aria has a specific form known as ABA. The first two sections usually differ and contrast each other, while the last section is where the vocalist repeats the first section but this time adds vocal embellishments. “When I am laid in earth” from Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell is a perfect example of the aria style of vocal music. This piece illustrates the triple meter and the word repetition of the

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