Church Music, Etc. Music in Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Refining and redesigning the great "systematic" collections such as Palestrina's would have proved an impossible task. As a result the seventeenth century saw the almost total disappearance of collections of offertories such as Palestrina's and antiphones such as Anerio's.

While there was great debate about the use of human voice because the voices of the celebrant of the Mass had to carry the entire burden of the rite, there was none where the organ was concerned. Indeed, the Church prescribed the playing of the organ.

However, music for the Mass was not so rigidly thought of outside of Rome. In Northern Italy, in particular, the organ made way for a trio of two violins and bass. Eventually, entire musical Masses are created.

In particular, Venice desired to affirm is autonomy from Rome, and levels of tolerance for music in the liturgy were very expansive.

One of the results of the various edicts and responses to the Church fathers attempting to retain a hold on the entire liturgy and its music, or lack thereof, was that composers became more and more complex in handling the demands for fewer voices, or more voices, or instruments and so on. The result was sometimes "florid polyphony" which seems certainly to be the opposite of what the Visitation attempted to ensure.

What was being sought in all of this was 'musico-liturgical coherence.' Monteverdi is thought to have solved the problems inherent in this search through use of musical conditions that seem at first to contaminate the liturgy but which, in the end, "provide that very stylistic seal' the liturgy requires.

The liturgical music of Monteverdi is solemn and destined for only the highest order of musical religious services. Palestrina, of course, is exemplary of a more fluid and arguably lasting tradition. However, even these two were not alone at the top of the seventeenth century music ladder; each locality in Italy developed traditions of its owner, with local liturgical traditions in basilicas and churches in Bologna and Naples as well.

-- Music in the Catholic Liturgy (outline)

I. Seventeenth century church music: debate

A. Exuberance, joyful noise

B. Decorum and tradition

II. Palestrina

A. Embrace the 'secular' music conventions of the day

B. Extend them through works such as Missa Papae Marcelli

C. Others in the same mold

1. Soriano

2. Anerio

III. Desire for control by the Pope

IV. St. Peter's Basilica completed

A. Demands a large sound

B. Even so, Palestrina often not sung in favor of simpler composers

V. Music debate symbolic of doctrinal debates in the Church

A. Reformation ideas

B. Roman ideas

VI. Holy Apostolic Visitation enforces reactionary Papal bulls

A. Demanded music be "grave, ecclesiastical and devout"

B. Demanded music directors swear to uphold those standards

C. Micromanaged music, down to the number of voice that could sing at any particular point in the Mass; demanded singers not be visible.

VII. Two "realities"

A. Demand for modern compositions of a secular nature

B. The acknowledgment of the 'problem' followed its actuality; secularization present before Council of Trent, but not identified per se

C. Search for coherence between liturgy and music

VIII. Coherence demanded fine-tuning motets, etc., for each Mass

A. Impossible task

B. Easier to do with "occasional music"

C. Great 'collections' such as Palestrina almost disappeared from the repertory

IX. Voice bad, organs good

X. Beyond Rome

A. Local traditions, especially in Northern Italy, Venice

B. Venice wants to prove autonomy from Rome, very tolerant and expansive regarding music

C. Composers get 'tricky' in order to comply with insane numbers of demands, both liturgically and musically

D. Palestrina and Monteverdi represent different paths

E. Bologna, Naples also develop own…

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