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Instrumental Music in the Sixteenth Century

Instrumental Music in the Sixteenth Century

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Instrumental Music in the Sixteenth Century

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  1. Instrumental Music in the Sixteenth Century

  2. Consort or chest — homogeneous groupings • Recorders (bas) • Double reeds • shawms, racketts (haut) • crumhorns, dulcians (bas) — capped reeds • Cornett and sackbut • Viol or viola da gamba (bas)

  3. Instruments

  4. “Broken consort” • Combines various families • Standard broken consort included recorder and plucked and bowed strings

  5. Keyboard instruments in the sixteenth century • Clavichord — strings activated by tangents attached to opposite ends of keys • Harpsichord — strings plucked by quills set in jacks • Organ — portative, positive, and church types

  6. Plucked string instruments • Lute • Archlutes at lower pitches • theorbo • chitarrone • Vihuela

  7. Tablature • Special notation for plucked strings • shows placement of fingers on fingerboard rather than pitch • rhythm indicated by stems and flags above • Sometimes also used for keyboard music

  8. Instrumental genres

  9. Instruments with voices • Incidental doublings or substitutions • informally in secular music • church music with brass • Independent instrumental parts • lute song • consort song • songs with keyboard

  10. Instrumental music derived from vocal genres • Transcriptions or ornamented version of vocal pieces • Ricercar — polyphonic texture of motet • sometimes called fantasia • tiento — Spanish equivalent of ricercar • Canzona — from chanson type, features familiar style and clearly marked rhythm • England — “In nomine” based on c.f. from Benedictus of Taverner Missa Gloria tibi trinitas • Variations on vocal melodies

  11. Dance music — real or stylized • Often in pairs • basse danse, branle — French • pavane and gaillarde — French (English pavan and galliard) • passamezzo and saltarello — Italian • Use of variation principle

  12. Improvisatory types • Intonazione, prelude, preambulum — to tune and introduce more formal pieces • Fantasia — free improvisational style (term also used for ricercar type) • Toccata — virtuosic

  13. Questions for discussion • What elements of instrumental practice in the sixteenth century are closest to those of the preceding centuries? Which anticipated later instrumental usage in the periods of common practice? • What are the advantages and disadvantages of tablature notation compared to staff notation? • How would humanist thought and sound ideals have changed the practice of instrumental music in the church compared to previous centuries? • What ideas did vocal music contribute to instrumental musical structures and processes in the sixteenth century? What did dance contribute?