Missa Pange Lingua

Topics: Catholic Church, Renaissance music, Music, Musical notation, Counterpoint, Eucharist / Pages: 6 (1299 words) / Published: Mar 5th, 2014
Missa Pange Lingua is Josquin's greatest achievement in the art of paraphrase in polyphonic music. Set in the ridged structure of a Catholic Mass, Josquin uses the numerous short passages to highlight his variation on a folk theme. This piece took polyphonic music to its limits, and harmony soon evolved among his countrymen as the only option to continue western music's evolution.

Josquin was born in the Netherlands. He received early musical training in the Church, and as soon as it was possible headed for Italy. There he was singer, teacher and composer until his death. Though his music must have been influenced by the culture of Italy, "Josquin, the greatest of the singer-composers of the Milanese register of 1474aCulturally and in every other sense that really matters, he was a Frenchman."

The early 16th century marked the end of the Early Renaissance and the transition into the late Renaissance. Josquin was considered the master of the polyphonic form in which a melody is sung against that same melody four scale steps above or below the original. Polyphonic music was also transitioning into the melody and harmony which we are most familiar with today. The "Netherlands School", which was comprised of Josquin and his cultural countrymen who worked in Italy, were a critical force in this transition.

Missa Pange Lingua is an ordinary Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. The Mass is the central form of worship for Catholic Christians. Mass is nearly always celebrated with music, for music is believed to enhance prayer. The congregation is expected to recite traditional prayers and responses at various time during the ritual. Composers set these responses, as well as the appropriate psalm reading and other hymns, to music when they compose a Mass.

Though the context of the music is sacred religious music, the environment that commissioned it was anything but sacred. By the sixteenth century, political power and material wealth had corrupted the Roman

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