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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2020
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Book description

This engaging study introduces Renaissance polyphony to a modern audience. It helps readers of all ages and levels of experience make sense of what they are hearing. How does Renaissance music work? How is a piece typical of its style and type; or, if it is exceptional, what makes it so? The makers of polyphony were keenly aware of the specialized nature of their craft. How is this reflected in the music they wrote, and how were they regarded by their patrons and audiences? Through a combination of detailed, nuanced appreciation of musical style and a lucid overview of current debates, this book offers a glimpse of meanings behind and beyond the notes, be they playful or profound. It will enhance the listening experience of students, performers and music lovers alike.


'In Renaissance Polyphony Fabrice Fitch has produced a refreshingly different book from the usual survey. With a composer’s eye he offers a new approach to understanding the world of Renaissance music: its composers and performers, its sources, and its genres, but above all lucid descriptions of how the music is put together. It will appeal to many kinds of readers.'

Bonnie J. Blackburn - Wolfson College, Oxford

‘By combining solid musicology with an engaging sense of history as detective process, this book earns its place in a crowded field.’

N. L. Gilbert Source: Choice

‘This book is sure to become a classic text in Renaissance music pedagogy.’

Melinda Latour Source: Revue de musicologie

‘Renaissance Polyphony is a true joy and could also be profitably read by those with a prior knowledge of the music discussed who wish to gain a clearer overview of its principal stylistic features … this is a book I wish I had read as a student; I am glad to have had the chance to read it now’.

Antonio Chemotti Source: Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken

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