Renaissance Unit Study - Music

Week 13: We sang Ode to Joy.

During the late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance a system of written music similar to what is used today was developed. This revelation enabled people in different parts of Europe to enjoy the same music. Music from the south, Italy, was lyrically based, where as music from the north, Germany and England, was more focused on instruments and harmony.

This lesson introduced lots of vocabulary:

Madrigal - secular song, lyrically based on popular poetry
A cappella - singing without instrumental accompaniment
Word Painting - Musical technique of matching musical pitch with lyrics
Chromaticism - Musical technique of using shocking pitches to draw emotion
Polyphony - Music with two or more independent lines of melody

The Education Portal is a free internet educational resource which happens to offer several videos on the subject of Renaissance Music.

In addition to the above videos, the Sacred Music Series below weaves the history of music with examples of current performers - The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers - singing the music of the past.

Sacred Music Series: Episode 1 - The Gothic Revolution
Sacred Music Series: Episode 2 - Palestrina
Sacred Music Series: Episode 3 - Byrd and Tallis
Sacred Music Series: Episode 4 - Bach and the Lutheran Legacy

After learning a little about Renaissance Music, the kids were separated into two groups and given sheet music for a portion of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

First they practiced their parts and learned musical lyrics are written with the verses above each other.

The first group sang Part I, then the first group paused while the second group sang part II, then both groups sang their lyrics together.

Here's the video. The best part is at the end when the two groups sing together.

Not bad for only 20 minutes of practice!

To see the other activities from our Renaissance Unit Study please visit our History Page.

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