Musicology: Church Music

The outline that you find below has been a very helpful study guide to assist students using the book A History of Western Music. I strongly recommend this book. With its contents, art work, and media, it's just gorgeous!

The Music of the Reformation in Germany

  1. The Protestant Reformation
    1. Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg in 1517.
    2. Lutheran Church and Music
      1. Luther admired Franco-Flemish polyphony, particularly works by Josquin
      2. He wished to retain music in Lutheran services
    3. Deutsche Mass
      1. Published as early as 1526: a German Mass (in the vernacular) for use in smaller congregations
        1. The Gloria is omitted
        2. German hymns were substituted for most of the Ordinary
  2. The Lutheran Chorale
    1. Stophic congregational hymn
    2. Also known as a Kirchelied
    3. Primary elements of the chorale
      1. Text
      2. Tune
    4. As much Catholic church music of the 16th c. was an outgrowth of plainsong, so too was Lutheran church music of the 17th and 18th c. an outgrowth of the chorale
    5. First collections of chorales published in 1524
      1. Originally publ. with a single melody
      2. Intended for unison singing without accompaniment or harmonization
      3. Original notation was similar to chant notation
    6. Ein' feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress)
      1. Text by Luther, music possibly by Luther
      2. First printed in 1529
  3. Contrafacta
    1. 'Parodies' of secular songs in which the given melody was retained but the text was either replaced by completely new words or altered.
      1. Adaptation of secular songs and secular polyphonic compositions for church purposes was common in the 16th c.
    2. Ex: O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (adapted from Isaac's Lied: Inssbruch, ich muss dich lassen)
  4. Polyphonic Chorale Settings
    1. Johann Walter (1496-1570)
      1. Luther's principle musical collaborator
      2. Published a volume of 38 German chorale settings together with 5 Latin motets
    2. Georg Rhaw (1488-1548)
      1. Published important collection of 123 polyphonic chorale arrangements and motets in Wittenberg in 1544
      2. This collection was a compilation of pieces by leading German and Swiss composers, including:
        1. Ludwig Senfl
        2. Thomas Stoltzer (1475-1526)
        3. Benedictus Ducis (1490-1544)
        4. Sixtus Dietrich (1490-1548)
        5. Arnold von Bruck (1470-1554)
        6. Lupus Hellinck (1495-1541)
    3. Polyphonic settings intended for a choir not for the congregation
    4. Performance
      1. Alternation of stanzas by the choir and congregation (congregation sings in unison)
      2. Sometimes inst. doubled voice parts
      3. 16th c. congregational singing was most likely unaccompanied
      4. 17th c. it gradually became the custom for the organ to play all parts
    5. Cantional style
      1. Plainly chordal, rhythmically straightforward settings
      2. Tune in topmost voice
      3. Fünfzig Lieder und Psalmen (50 Chorales and Psalms)
        1. First collection publ. in cantional style in 1586
        2. By Lucas Osiander (1534-1604)
      4. Chief composers of cantional settings in the early 17th c.
        1. Hans Leo Hassler
        2. Michael Praetorius (1571-1621)
        3. Johann Hermann Schein
  5. Chorale Motet
    1. Musical development towards the end of the 17th c.
    2. Lutheran composers began to do what Catholic comp. had done in the 15th c., use traditional melodies as the basic material for free artistic creation
      1. Such settings are called chorale motets
    3. Leading composers of motets
      1. Hans Leo Hassler
      2. Johannes Eccard (1553-1611)
      3. Leonhard Lechner (1553-1606)
      4. Michael Praetorius

Reformation Church Music Outside Germany

  1. The Psalter
    1. Calvinist Reformation
      1. Jean Calvin (1509-1564)
      2. French Psalter (1562)
        1. Melodies composed by Loys Bourgeois (1510-1561)
    2. French composers of Psalm settings
      1. Claude Goudimel (1505-1572)
      2. Claude Le Jeune
    3. Netherland composers of Psalm settings
      1. J.P. Sweelinck

The Counter-Reformation

  1. Background
    1. 1527: Rome is captured and sacked by Spanish and German mercenaries of Charles V
    2. Advocates of reform come to power in the Catholic church
  2. The Council of Trent (1545-1563)
    1. Attempt to rectify church abuses and practices
    2. Musical reforms
      1. Criticism of secular tunes
      2. Complicated polyphony which obscured the text
      3. Use of noisy instruments
    3. No formal ban of polyphony or imitation of secular models
  3. Giovanni da Palestrina (1525-1594)
    1. Personal history
      1. Born near Rome, served as choirboy in Rome
      2. 1544: appointed organist and choirmaster in Palestrina
      3. 1551: choirmaster of the Cappella Giulia at St. Peter's
      4. 1555: singer in the Sistine Chapel
      5. 1565-1571: taught at a Jesuit Seminary
      6. 1571: recalled to St. Peter's
    2. Compositional output
      1. 104 masses
      2. 250 motets
      3. 50 spiritual madrigals
      4. 100 secular madrigals
    3. 'Palestrina Style'
      1. Johann Joseph Fux codifies the style in his Gradus ad Parnassum (1725)
      2. Smooth dissonance handling, consonances
      3. Diatonic harmony, little chromaticism
      4. Vocal melodies are often plainsonglike, with predominant stepwise motion and short leaps (ex: Missa Pope Marcellus)
      5. Later referred to as the stile antico in the 17th c.
    4. Masses
      1. 53 masses based on polyphonic models
      2. A few cantus firmus masses including:
        1. The first of two L'homme arme masses
        2. Generally preferred to paraphrase the chant in all the parts rather than confine it to the tenor
      3. Remiscent of the older Flemish tradition:
        1. Missa ad fugam: written throughout in double cannon
        2. Missa Repleatur os meum (1570): introduces canons systematically through the various movements at every interval from 8ve to unison ending with a double canon in the last Agnus Dei
      4. Other conservative traits
        1. Palestrina composed mostly for 4-voices at a time when composers were writing for 5 or more voices
    5. Contrapuntal practice
      1. Consistent with that of Willaert's school as explicated and refined by Zarlino in his Le Institutioni harmoniche of 1558
      2. Vertically, the independent lines are expected to meet on the downbeat and upbeat of the measure
      3. Cambiata figure
    6. Contemporaries of Palestrina
      1. Giovanni Maria Nanino (1545-1607)
        1. Palestrina's pupil
        2. Successor at Santa Maria Maggiore and later director of the papal chapel
      2. Felice Anerio (1560-1614)
        1. Pupil of Nanino
      3. Giovanni Animuccia (1500-1571)
        1. Palestrina's predecessor at St.Peter's
  4. Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)
    1. Second in importance to Palestrina of the Roman school
    2. Victoria was born in Spain, studied music in Rome and returned to Spain in 1587
    3. Musical style: similar to Palestrina
    4. Important works
      1. Motet: O vos omnes
      2. 1603 Requiem Mass
  5. Orlando di Lasso
    1. Ranks with Palestrina as the greatest composer of 16th c. sacred music
    2. Very large compositional output: over 2000 pieces
    3. Principal works
      1. Penitential Psalm settings of 1560
      2. Magnum opus musicum: 1604 collection of motets published posthumously
  6. William Byrd (1543-1623)
    1. Last great Catholic church composer of the 16th c.
    2. Personal history:
      1. Born in England
      2. Studied under Thomas Tallis
      3. Organist of Lincoln Cathedral in 1563
    3. Compositional output:
      1. English polyphonic songs
      2. Keyboard pieces
      3. Music for the Anglican Church
      4. Latin Masses (3) and motets

The Venetian School

  1. Social Conditions in Venice
    1. Venice the second most important city in 16th c. Italy
      1. Venice was an independent city-state
      2. Had reached the summit of its power in 15th c.
      3. St.Mark's was the center of Venetian musical life
    2. 16th c. Choirmasters of St.Mark's
      1. Willaert
      2. Rore
      3. Zarlino
      4. Baldassare Donati
      5. Organists: A.Gabrieli and G.Gabrieli
  2. Venetian Polychoral Motets
    1. From the time of Willaert, composers wrote for double chorus
      1. Technique used particularly for psalms which lent themselves to antiphonal performances
    2. Giovanni Gabrieli
      1. Often wrote for 2,3,4, even 5 choruses
      2. Motet: In ecclesiis
  3. Venetian influence
    1. Important pupils of Gabrieli
      1. Heinrich Schütz
      2. Hans Leo Hassler

Summary 1450-1600

  1. Texture
    1. Contrapuntal voice parts
    2. Growing homophony towards the end of the 16th c.
  2. Rhythm
    1. Alla breve duple measure became the basic rhythmic medium
  3. Musica reservata
    1. Pictorial and expressive touches in the madrigal, Gesualdo's chromatic aberratiions and the sonorities of the Venetian massed choruses

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