Dossier: The Renaissance in music occurred between 1450 and 1600. (Some historians place the beginning of the Renaissance as early as 1400.) As in the other arts, the horizons of music were greatly expanded. The invention of printing widened the circulation of music, too, and the number of composers and performers increased.
In keeping with the Renaissance ideal of the “universal man,” every educated person was expected to be trained in music. “I am not pleased with the courtier if he be not also a musician,” Castiglione wrote in The Book of the Courtier (1528). Shakespeare’s stage directions call for music more than 300 times, and his plays are full of beautiful tributes to music:
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.
(The Merchant of Venice)
You can download a full dossier about renaissance choral music written by me and by some of my colleagues for the ICB: