Broadly speaking, the Renaissance era – which took place between the 1400s, and the 1600s – was marked by the revival of humanism, and the creation of compositions made not for a specific purpose, but simply for their own sake. Tunde Folawiyo, and other fans of this genre, may know that the music of the Renaissance involved the use of richer textures, music based on modes, and harmonic sections in which chord progression and flow were prioritised.
Throughout this period of time, innovations in classical music spread rapidly; this dissemination was helped by the introduction of new printing methods, which allowed the revolutionary theoretical practices of composers to be read and understood by a much larger audience.
During the early years of this era, musicians chose to discard the unnecessarily complex devices of excessive syncopation and iso-rhythms which were favoured in Medieval times, and although they still used religious motifs in many of their compositions, they began to explore musical secularity, with forms like the madrigal and the chanson gaining popularity in many parts of central Europe.
Choral music, developed during the previous era, remained popular, but it was used alongside acapella vocals, to perform psalms, anthems and most notably, motets. Composers became bolder, and started to exhibit unique styles, as the idea of personal expression and individuality in classical music became more acceptable. Freed from the constraints of medieval musical rules, they experimented with notation, form, harmony and rhythm.
As a fan of classical music, Tunde Folawiyo may be aware that two of this era’s most important composers were Claudio Monteverdi and Orlando De Lassus. The former was at the height of his career just as the Renaissance was coming to an end, and the Baroque was taking its place. He created the first opera, and over the course of his lifetime, wrote nine books of madrigals; these pieces marked the development of an entirely new way of composing, and helped to link the two eras in which he worked.
De Lassus played an equally important role in developing the music of the Renaissance; he became famous for the beautiful polyphonic style he used in his motets, which expertly combined the expressiveness of Italian melody, with the brilliance of French compositional techniques. In total, he created over 2,000 works, including ones with German, English, French and Latin vocals.