The principles of Renaissance Music

The principles of Renaissance Music.


I am quite sure that as piano students, you certainly know who Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn or Liszt were. Their music reached the highest artistic peak and inspired musicians and piano teachers throughout the world to make this music carry on living through concerts and performances along the years. 

All these composers have something in common: they all lived after the Renaissance period. We can ask ourselves now: how many music pieces were produced from 1400 hundred until the 1640s? 

We clearly have 200 hundred years of music that they are almost forgotten by musicians and teachers.


The Renaissance period was quite different from the Baroque and later periods in many ways: 

Firstly, the concept that we know as the “beat” in the music was unknown in the way we use it. The mensural notation was used instead.

Another principle that reigned during the Renaissance period was that the music was entirely connected with the text, not only the natural accents but the word itself was connected with the music. The clearest example is a technique called “Word painting” technique that, in fact, it is still used in modern music.

Renaissance music cemented the foundation upon which Baroque, Classical music, Romantic and Modern music was composed.

Everything we know about music today started to take shape in this period: the scales, the rhythm, the modes, and most importantly, the so-called “Polyphony” by the hands of talented composers such as Joaquin Des Prez, Orlando di Lasso or Palestrina that pathed the way for composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, who took the techniques used in the Renaissance and achieved a level of perfection that no one in the history of music could match.

As a piece of humble advice, Renaissance music has to be a must to listen to every musicians or music lover. It is magical and captivating about this music that deserves to be kept alive. 


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