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Music 1711F/G Lecture Notes - Carlo Gesualdo, Lied, Nicola Vicentino

Course Code
Music 1711F/G
Kate Helsen

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Mar 13 – Music of the 16th Century: Mannerism
Term from Art History. Use of exaggeration and distortion for
emotional/dramatic effect. eg. Extending a neck in a picture of the
In music: dissonance, chromaticism, unusual chord progressions, rhythmic
and tempo changes, word-painting. Similar to ars subtilior in the Medieval
era. Pushing the aesthetics at the end of the era – seeing how far one can
go with a certain style. The style of an era going further and further,
transitioning into a new musical era.
Mannerism in Music
Chromatic, harmonically unusual, even to our ears.
Composers write out the accidentals and don't leave it up to singers (musica
Composers now using chromaticism and dissonance for an emotional effect
on the listener.
Orlande de Lassus: Prophetiae sibyllarun (1550-1552)
Idea: Ancient Greek prophetesses (sibyls) foretold the birth of Christ
de Lassus uses chromatics in the tenor to depict the sibyls song.
Revival of Greek 'genera'
Idea: ancient Greek music was said to have had a strong emotional impact
on the Greeks.
Nicola Vicentino – book about ancient music in the 'modern practice' in
1555. Key is chromatics.
Greek genera are the three versions of the tetrachord which are diatonic,
chromatic, and enharmonic – interval of the fourth divided into three
different ways.
Vicentino creates two keyboard instruments capable of playing in these
genera. They wanted to get the right relationships between pitches to
emotionally effect people.
Musica Reservata
Reserved” music – reserved for those who can understand and appreciate
the chromatics and dissonances (like the ars subtilior).
Not published, but kept in beautiful manuscripts dedicated to particular
Prophetiae Sibyllarum – example of musica reservata
Singing as Oratory
- People begin to consider music as an emotional art – emotions transferred from
the performer to the listener – no longer the idea that music is math.
In order to create emotion in the listener, treat practice of singing like a
dramatic text
16th-century audiences very keen on good rhetorical skills and oratory
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