Music In The 15Th Century Essay, Research Paper
The strongest composers of the fifteenth century were primarily located in the north. So the best musicians tended to come from countries like France, England, and Germany. Since Florence was an “international headquarters” it had strong commercial links with the north. This made it very easy to trade ideas and because of this a new musical expression made its way to Italy.
The frottola was a popular form of music that was primarily developed in Florence. It was a setting of an entertaining or sentimental poem for three or four parts. These parts were handed out to a singer and either three or four musicians. The frottola was written to perform in upper-class groups and had a folk-like quality to it. The gradual diffusion of frottole gave Italy a good reputation for simple melody and clear dynamic expression.
The canto carnascialesco (carnival song) was a distinctively Florentine form of the frottola. These songs were written to sing during the carnival season before Lent and were very popular. When Savonarola came to power, the carnivals were banished because of their suspected recklessness. With this the songs disappeared too. After the passing of Savonarola, the songs were brought back, but didn’t survive in the sixteenth century.
Guillaume Dufay was the most famous composer of the fifteenth century. He is a perfect example of musical tendencies to cross national borders. Dufay started out in Italy singing in the papal choir in Rome and studying music. At one point he served as music teacher in the French court of Charles the Good. His worldly works include many likeable songs that are free in form in expressive in nature.
Dufay brought about a secularization of the motet, a choral work that was originally used for a religious text. They were now written for a special occasion such as noble marriages and conclusions of peace treaties. He also introduced a folk tune into the music of the mass; it was called “L’homme arme” (“The Man in Armor”). The mass is now named for it. “L’homme arme” was used in more than thirty masses, and this began the mixing of secular with religious elements.