CHARACTERISTICS OF RENAISSANCE MUSIC
WORDS AND MUSIC
During Renaissance, vocal music was more important than instrumental music and composers during that period wrote music to enhance the meaning and emotion of the text. Renaissance composers often used word painting, a musical representation of specific poetic images. For example, the words descending from heaven might be set to a descending melodic line, and running might be heard with a series of rapid notes. There was this emphasis on capturing the emotion and imagery of a text. Although there was a wide range of emotion in Renaissance music, it was usually expressed in a moderate, balanced way, with no extreme contrasts of dynamics, tone colour, or rhythm.
Renaissance music is mostly polyphonic, and imitation among the voices is common, with each voice presenting the same melodic idea. Homophonic texture was used in light music such as dances, but the texture may vary within a piece to enhance the meaning of the text. Renaissance music sounds fuller than medieval music with the bass register being used for the first time. With the new emphasis on the bass line came richer harmony. During the period of the "rebirth", the music sounds mild and relaxed, due to the fact that stable, consonant chords are favoured and triads occur often. Moreover, Renaissance choral music did not need instrumental accompaniment and was thus also known as the "golden age" of a capella choral music.
RHYTHM AND MELODY
Each melodic line has great rhythmic independence and moves more with a gentle flow than a sharply defined beat. Pitch patterns in Renaissance melodies are easy to sing because the melody usually moves along a scale wih few large leaps.