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Chapter 11 - Scoring, texture, scale

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 August 2020

Fabrice Fitch
Affiliation:
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
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Summary

This chapter rejoins the methodology of normative approaches to voice-ranges and functions sketched in Chapter 5. Renaissance polyphony is considered in terms of the related compositional determinants of scoring, texture, and scale. The principal topics are: fifteenth-century pieces that lie outside the normative parameters seen in Chapter 5; the rise of imitation, viewed as a sub-category of texture, through to its paradigmatic status in the sixteenth century; the polyphony of the English Renaissance, much of whose earlier history develops along very different lines to continental music; and finally, the changes of approach to scale in Renaissance polyphony, from the ‘out-sized’ cyclic Masses at the turn of the sixteenth century to the growing emphasis on the number of voices, culminating in the ‘sonic blockbusters’ fashionable in European courts at the end of the century, whose most enduring manifestation is Tallis’ forty-part motet ‘Spem in alium’.

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Renaissance Polyphony , pp. 141 - 167
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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