During the music period of the Renaissance (1400-1600), musicians were required to create erratic melodies day by day. This was a time of exploration and rebirth of human creativity. Instrumentalists were expected to improvise the melodies and create final products that were powerful and expressive. The instruments used were typically wind, keyboard, and strings. Above all, one of the most represented instruments of this time was the human voice.
In the Renaissance music changed over time. In the beginning it was A Capella in churches and then converted to entertainment purposes for the court and dancing. Musicians were added and the instrumental music was used for dancing.
The instruments used were the clavichord and harpsichord, which were string piano-like instruments. Also, the recorder was a very versatile instrument. This hollowed out flute was used to assist ensembles with other wind instruments such as, coronets or reed flutes known as cromorn that created a buzzing nasal sound.
One of the most famous composers of the renaissance was Josquin Desprez. His repertoires are still praised among folk musicians and composers today.
Vocabulary from Renaissance Music:
prelude: a piece of music designed to be played as an introduction; also used for operatic overtures
counterpoint: music consisting of two or melodic lines played simultaneously
cantus firmus: a pre-existing melody which is made the basis of a polyphonic composition, contrapuntal voices being added to it
plainsong: common designation for Gregorian chant