Renaissance Music

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Renaissance Music

The ideal Renaissance man was skillfully trained in music. Musicians played an integral role in worship; although women were not allowed to play in the church, they were widely known publicly. Choirs doubled in size since the Middle Ages and sacred music soon grew and created secular music. Musicians played in festivals, spectacles, in the royal court and studied in renown schools. They were more highly valued and therefore paid than ever before. Without such musical influence, the Renaissance would not have the melodious sounds of harmony and expression it is most notably known for.

The Franco-Flemish School

-Mikolaj Gomolka lived from 1535 to 1610. He was a composer, flautist and trumpeter. His most famous melodies include "Melodies of the Polish Psalter". -Jan of Lubin has ambigiuous birth and death dates; however, we do know he was a composer and organist in the first half of the 14th century. He is credited with creating the earliest organ tablature in the world, with both secular and sacred music.

This school of music served as the muscial heart of the Renaissance in modern day Belgium and France. Their style was preeminent from 1450 - 1520. It was characterized by vocal music composition in various octaves. The students traveled extensively throughout Europe, helping to unify the continent's music for the first time since the Gregorian chant. The shift in musical concentration later shifted to Italy after this school sparked the movement.

Castilian Schools

This school of polyphony was located on the Iberian peninsula. The most popular secular music came from the vilacico in Portugal, although sacred music was produced as well. Medieval dance forms continues to be popular throughout these 1700s. Strings were used extensively in this style with a significant Spanish influence, leading to the modern day Flamenco.


Juan del Enzina was a Spanish composer known for his simple yet beautiful villancicos with memorable melodies. -Francisco de Penalosa was one of the most prolific composers of the Renaissance. He wrote secular villancicos and sacred works in Latin. -Francisco Guerrero wrote both secular and holy music as well, and lived in Portugal and Italy in addition to Spain. -Josquin des Perez was one of the first composer to master the high Renaissance style. He was imitated, revered and a former chapel singer. He wrote for masses, motets, chansons and frottole. -Tomas Luis de Victoria was a composer of the late Renaissance and a part of the Counter Reformation movement, writing only sacred music.

Music in the Renaissance

An Era of Change

Polish Composers

Renaissance Video


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