The Renaissance was a period of exploration and adventure where art and learning were revived. People referred it as the "rebirth" of creativity. The music of the Renaissance had a new depth and richness. It often consisted of several melodic lines, or tunes, played or sung at the same time, called polyphony. Some splendid choral polyphonic music was written by composers from northern France and Flanders such as Guillaume Dufay and Josquin Desprez. Religious music was deeply affected by the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s. Wishing to give the people a more active part in worship, the reformers provided simple hymns for them to sing. In response, the Roman Catholic Church provided new and easier-to-follow music for its worshippers.
Many developments took place in non-religious music. Gentlefolk enjoyed courtly dancing as well as playing and singing music for their own entertainment. A favourite form of song was the , which was arranged to be sung by several people. These songs, usually about love, capture the self-confidence of this new age.
Renaissance music occurred between 1450 and 1600. As with te other arts, musical horizons were expanded: printing widened the circulation of music, and the number of composers and performers increased. Every educated person was expected to be trained in music. In the past, musicians worked in churches, courts, and towns; but though the church remained an important patron (and church choirs increased in size), musical activity gradually shifted to the courts.