Thursday, September 15, 2011

Renaissance Music

This week our study in A Young Scholar's Guide to the Composers focused on music during the Renaissance period.  Musical notation was still very limited, so even though we have some written music from this period, sometimes all we have is the words and the melody.  The earliest forms of harmony and counterpoint were developed, both in church music and in madrigals and other secular music.

We listened to two selections of church music by the composer Palestrina -

Jesu, rex admirabilis and Sicut Cervus

The harmonies are absolutely beautiful - go have a listen!  (The links will take you to YouTube - if ever I figure out how to post the actual YouTube video on my blog, I will!)  One thing I really liked about these was that the video is actually panning the musical notation for each of these two pieces, so you can follow along! Maybe try singing along!  I couldn't help myself, I did hum along.

We also listened to a secular piece, a traditional English round (counterpoint) called "Sumer is icumen in."  It is probably the oldest example of this type of counterpoint in existence.  The original written manuscript dates from 1225!

"Sumer is icumen in" - English madrigal

This was fun to listen to and try to follow the words, as it is in an old form of English so there were many words we could recognize or guess at.  I found a translation here, and had Landon read it aloud to us.  It definitely got a few laughs. ;-)    Kennady also observed that it reminded her of a music box I have that features a choir singing a spirited version of "I Saw Three Ships" and I had to agree with her.  So we looked up some information on the history of "I Saw Three Ships" and found that it was a variant of the parent tune "Greensleeves", which dates back to the late 1500s, which would still have fallen within the Renaissance time period.  That was encouraging to me, to realize that Kennady could make a quick observation of music and make such an apt comparison.

Next week we will move on the Baroque period and a favorite piece that I know the kids will recognize will be featured - Pachelbel's Canon in D Major.  I can even play that on the piano for them!

Speaking of piano, we did get in a piano lesson at the beginning of the week, although Kennady hasn't practiced a lot the last couple days.  She had an eye injury on Tuesday evening, so I think she's finding reading a bit of a challenge with one eye being rather swollen.

This post is linked at ~a teaching heart~ where we are keeping each other accountable for making time for music in our homeschooling!

a teaching heart


Dawn @ Guiding Light said...

PS ~ hope her eye is ok!

Dawn @ Guiding Light said...

Glad you joined in! Love your post!

Julie Coney said...

sounds like your kids are really enjoying the study. I hope Kennady's eye feels better soon! I really like the Cannon in D Minor as well. My kids can play it on the chimes ( handbells )

» Reading Aloud Challenge: September 16 Homeschool Coffee Break said...

[...] Our music study is A Young Scholar’s Guide to the Composers, so we read each week’s lesson aloud.  This week was on Renaissance Music. [...]

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