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Galliard, by Pierre Francisque Caroubel, from Terpsichore (1612), by Michael Praetorius - 1:11 

The passamezzo is a stately dance in duple meter and the galliard is a quick dance in triple meter. The dance-pair studied here is written for five unspecified instrumental parts. In our recording the two dances are performed by a Renaissance string ensemble including violins, violas, and bass violins (ancestors of the cello), lutes, and harpsichord. Both of them are made up of three brief sections.

Passamezzo, by Pierre Francisque Caroubel, from Terpsichore (1612), by Michael Praetorius - 2:39 

The passamezzo is a stately dance in duple meter and the galliard is a quick dance in triple meter. The dance-pair studied here is written for five unspecified instrumental parts. In our recording the two dances are performed by a Renaissance string ensemble including violins, violas, and bass violins (ancestors of the cello), lutes, and harpsichord. Both of them are made up of three brief sections.

DOWLAND, Flow My Tears; 1600 - 4:00 

Flow My Tears consists of three brief musical sections (A, B, C) that are each immediately repeated: AA (stanzas 1 and 2), BB (stanzas 3 and 4), CC (stanza 5 repeated to the same melody). Dowland’s music heightens the mood of grief through its slow tempo, minor key, and descending four-note melodic pattern that represents falling tears. This descending pattern appears throughout the song with variations of pitch and rhythm.

WEELKES, As Vesta Was Descending; 1601 - 3:10 

As Vesta Was Descending has the light mood typical of English madrigals. Word painting is plentiful. For example, the word descending is sung to downward scales, and ascending to upward ones.

Listen for the word painting in this madrigal. The word descending is sung to downward scales, and ascending to upward scales.

PALESTRINA, Kyrie; 1562–1563 - 4:42 

The Kyrie has a rich polyphonic texture. Its six voice parts constantly imitate each other, yet blend beautifully. This music sounds fuller than Josquin’s Ave Maria, in part because six voices are used rather than four. The elegantly curved melodies summon the spirit of Gregorian chant. They flow smoothly and can be sung easily. Upward leaps are balanced at once by downward steps, as in the opening melody.

Listen for polyphonic imitation among six voice parts.

JOSQUIN, Ave Maria ... virgo serena (Hail, Mary ... serene virgin; c. 1475) - 4:43 

Josquin’s four-voice motet Ave Maria ... virgo serena is an outstanding Renaissance choral work. This Latin prayer to the Virgin is set to delicate and serene music. The opening uses polyphonic imitation, a technique typical of the period.

Listen for the polyphonic imitation among four voice parts and for the change from duple to triple meter at Ave, vera virginitas.

MACHAUT, Agnus Dei from Notre Dame Mass; mid-fourteenth century - 3:24 

Machaut’s music for the Agnus Dei—a prayer for mercy and peace—is solemn and elaborate. It is in triple meter. Complex rhythmic patterns contribute to its intensity. The two upper parts are rhythmically active and contain syncopation, a characteristic of fourteenth-century music. The two lower parts move in longer notes and play a supporting role.

Listen for syncopations in the melody and for the ABA form.

MACHAUT, Puis qu’en oubli - 1:46 

Puis qu’en oubli sui de vous is a rondeau, one of the main poetic and musical forms in 14th- and 15th-century France. The poem has eight lines, each ending with either the syllable mis or the syllable mant. Lines 1–2 constitute the poetic refrain, which returns as lines 7–8; line 1 appears again as line 4.

The music consists of two phrases, a and b. Listen for the incomplete cadence ending melodic phrase a and the complete cadence ending melodic phrase b.

LANDINI, Ecco la primavera - 1:18 

Ecco la primavera is a carefree song for two voice parts about the joys of springtime. The song is in triple meter and has a strong, fast beat. Its rhythmic vitality comes from syncopation, a characteristic feature of fourteenth-century music.

Ecco la primavera is a ballata, an Italian poetic and musical form that originated as a song to accompany dancing. The text is sung to two musically similar units, A (longer) and B (shorter), arranged as follows: A BB AA.

Alleluia: Nativitas (The Birth; 1200?), by Perotin - 1:29 

Perotin (late twelfth to early thirteenth century) was the first known composer to write music with more than two voices. Alleluia: Nativitas, an organum in three voices, is based on a Gregorian alleluia melody—for the nativity of the Virgin Mary—that Perotin placed in the lowest voice part. In this recording, the three voice parts are sung by a group of male voices reinforced by instruments.

Estampie (Thirteenth Century) - 1:16 

The estampie, a medieval dance, is one of the earliest surviving forms of instrumental music. In the manuscript for this estampie, a single melodic line is notated and no instrument is specified. In our recording, the melody is played on a rebec and a pipe. Since medieval minstrels probably improvised modest accompaniments to dance tunes, the performers have added a drone at the interval of a fifth, played on a psaltery. The estampie is in triple meter.

HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, O successores (You Successors); twelfth century - 2:06 

Listen for the climactic highest tone of the melody on the word officio, in the service, and the long melodic descent on the word agni.

Alleluia: Vidimus stellam (We Have Seen His Star) - 2:19 

Listen for the monophonic texture of the Gregorian chant, and the difference in tone color between a solo voice and a choir singing in unison.

Unsquare Dance (1961), by Dave Brubeck - 2:02 

Unsquare Dance is in septuple meter, with 7 quick beats to the measure. The composer, Dave Brubeck (1920–2012), wrote that this unusual meter makes Unsquare Dance “a challenge to the foot-tappers, finger-snappers, and hand-clappers.” The piece is performed by a small jazz group consisting of piano, double bass, and percussion. The meter is established by pizzicato bass tones on beats 1, 3, and 5, and by hand claps on beats 2, 4, 6, and 7.

I Got Rhythm (1930), by George Gershwin - 0:39 

Pervasive syncopations give a jazzy feeling to the song I Got Rhythm, which was written by George Gershwin (1898–1937) for the musical comedy Girl Crazy. The song is in duple meter, with two quick beats to the measure. In our recording, it is performed by a soprano, with orchestral accompaniment. In the opening rhythmic pattern to the words I got rhy-thm, a syncopation occurs when the accented tone I comes on the “offbeat,” between beats 1 and 2.

WAGNER, Lohengrin, Prelude to Act III (1848) - 2:57 

3 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons, 4 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass tuba, timpani, triangle, cymbals, tambourine, 1st violins, 2d violins, violas, cellos, double basses

Listen for contrast of dynamics and tone color between the full orchestra (in 1.a.) and the oboe melody (in 2).

BACH, Bourrée from Suite in E Minor for Lute - 1:32 

Two-part (binary) form: A A B B
Duple meter, E minor Acoustic guitar

Listen for the two-part form (A A B B) and how a short-short-long rhythm pervades the entire piece. Also notice the downward sequence in the melody near the end of part B.

ARLEN, Over the Rainbow (1938) - 2:13 

The classic ballad Over the Rainbow, with music by Harold Arlen and words by E. Y. Harburg, was voted the best movie song of all time by the American Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. This song was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz (1939), starring the seventeen-year-old Judy Garland as the Kansas farm girl Dorothy Gale.

BRITTEN, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra - 17:23 

Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, tambourine, triangle, Chinese block, xylophone, castanets, gong, whip, harp, 1st violins, 2d violins, violas, cellos, double basses

Listen for the characteristic tone colors of the woodwind, brass, string, and percussion sections and the individual instruments from these sections (Variations 1–13).

SOUSA, The Stars and Stripes Forever - 3:08 

Listen for the distinctive tone colors of a band, which consists mainly of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Also notice the main melody played softly by saxophones and clarinets set against a different melody played by a high piccolo (5).

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