An Introduction to Renaissance Music

The period of music between 1450 and 1600 is rich in choral masterpieces. Key figures include Palestrina, the great Italian composer of Catholic church music, and the English composers Tallis and Byrd, who had to adapt their music to the prevailing Protestant religion in Elizabethan England during The Reformation. There is also a wealth of secular music for voices (madrigals) and all kinds of weird and wonderful instruments to discover, including sackbutts, racketts and crumhorns as well as lutes and viols.


Commencing: Tuesday 3 July, 2018 (6 weeks:3/7, 17/7, 24/7, 14/8, 21/8, 28/8 )

Cost: £48

1. Renaissance music in its historical context

2. Sacred music in the 15th century

John Dunstable (c.1390-1435): Mass (‘Kyrie’ and ‘Agnus Dei’); Motet ‘Quam pulchra es’
Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1420-1497): Mass ‘Missa L’homme armé’

3. Secular music in the 15th century

Guillaume Dufay (c.1397-1474) and others
Motets, chansons, ballades, rondeaux,  and instrumental music

4.  Sacred music during the Reformation (early 16th Century) 

The advent of hymn writing: Luther (chorales); Calvin (metrical psalms), Tallis and Byrd: Anthems and Evensong settings.

5. The Counter Reformation (mid-16th century)

Film: Palestrina and the popes
Palestrina (1525/6-1594) – Pope Marcellus Mass

6. The Madrigal in the 16th century. John Dowland (1563-1626): Lute songs (1597)