The Renaissance was all about rediscovery. The term itself “renaissance” actually means rebirth. The period represented a time that was rich in personal expression and innovation. As society transcended with the times, so did many aspects of daily life, including music and arts. In fact many of the popular hymns of today came from the Renaissance period. One such masterpiece is “Ave Maria”, composed by Josquin Desprez (Fuller). “Ave Maria” reflected many social traits of the time it was composed. It also reflected the type of music that was developed during the Renaissance.
It is no wonder why Josquin Desprez is recognized as the most successful composer of his time. Through the music he created, he was able to showcase the real essence of his time. During the Renaissance period a number of different types of music emerged. Aside from the popular Mass music played in churches, the period introduced Motets, and also saw the beginnings of secular music. Since the Renaissance was all about personal expression, it was natural that many different forms of music were created.
At the same time because it was about this time that printing was first invented, the spread of music became much easier. Copies of different compositions were easily produced allowing for more people to hear them in different parts and stages. One of the most popular music innovations of the Renaissance period is the Motet. It is a type of music that uses pervasive imitation that simply means the blending of different vocal ranges into one harmonious combination. The Motet highlights vocals more than instruments, a distinct trait of Renaissance music.
The Renaissance was essentially a time when composers began putting focus on the emotions that were derived from the lyrics of the songs. Vocals were emphasized more than the instruments. People began relating more to music because of the meaning and message different compositions relayed. The Motet can also be considered a musical revolution at that time because most of the Motets presented new complexities unknown to music prior to the Renaissance. They also attract a personal connection between the composer, the performers, and the listener.
“Ave Maria” by Josquin Desprez is one of the most popular Motets that were composed during the Renaissance period. This Desprez masterpiece remains one of the most played hymns in churches today. This Motet is comprised of four distinct voices, a very rare choral work even today. In fact “Ave Maria” is considered one of the most outstanding Motets of all time because of this characteristic. Interesting enough this musical trait essentially depicts the culture of that time. It showed how people were starting to truly celebrate their individuality without completely losing their connection with the rest of society.
While the Renaissance period ushered in many new ideas, people during that time remained traditional when it came to things concerning religion. “Ave Maria” is essentially a prayer set to music. In fact many of the popular music that rose during this period were church music. This spoke of how people gave high regard to religious practices and the church. Josquin Desprez wrote the quintessential Renaissance music in “Ave Maria”. From its deliberate and serene sound to its harmonious weaving of voices, and a theme that celebrated the times, it is one of the most important pieces of music of the period.
It reflected the culture change that was going on with its groundbreaking style of music. It was also very loyal to the things people held in high regard during those times. And while it was a product of musical mastery, “Ave Maria” became one of the most influential music of the Renaissance period because of its enduring message and meaning that connected well with the people. Work Cited Fuller, Richard. Renaissance Music (1450-1600). 2010 January 14. Retrieved June 7, 2010 from http://www. rpfuller. com/gcse/music/renaissance. html
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