Essay on Development of Western Classical Music

947 Words 4 Pages
Current western classical music did not occur overnight. It was a long process that had its beginnings in the sacred music of the Middle Ages. War, disease, famine, political unrest and advancements in science brought changes, to not only how music was perceived, but also in how it was presented, giving modern western classical music its rich history today.
In medieval times the Catholic Church controlled every aspect of life. The church educated the nobles, advised the rulers, presided over judgments and was the spiritual guide for the people. The church itself was usually the only stone building in the village and it was central to the lifestyles of the time as it was where festivals, baptisms, marriages and death rites were held. While
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The opening chant “Alleluia” repeats and then continues during the organum while the three higher voices sing another melody on top of it. At the end of the organum the plainchant repeats ending the song. From this piece a clear understanding of scared polyphony can be had. From the sacred polyphony a new secular music came about, the motet. As new text was added to older music using this method, sacred music found new uses in secular music. Motets became complex as they were written in isorhythm, which was where the same rhythm was used but with different melodies. The words were used to show the emotion rather than the music itself.
The Renaissance era saw a resurgence of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, which influenced the mental concepts, sciences and arts of the time. With the changes to the arts; architects, painters, musicians and sculptors sought have their creations be simpler, more practicable and relevant to the people’s everyday lives. Josquin Desprez’s Pange lingua, a five section Mass, showcases this. Desprez utilizes paraphrasing to change awkward passages in the chants to ensure smooth delivery of the four voice organum. “Kyri eleison’ is a point of imitation and paired imitation as a paired duet, such as tenor-bass, begins and then is answered by the soprano-alto pair. A key point of this mass is it how contains polyphony and homophony, the voices sing different lines at…

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