compositions of the Renaissance|Essay pro

Posted: February 12th, 2023

Being a good listener is important no matter what path in life you take.  One of the best ways to “study” music is by repeated listening.  You probably have a favorite book, movie, or song you like to listen to over and over again. When you repeat that activity you are able to pick up on something you might have missed the first time.  It is through repeated encounters that we gain familiarity and appreciation.

How to listen

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1st time: Actively listen to the piece. Be Still and Be Quiet, No distractions!

2nd time: Listen and follow along with the provided listening guide from the module.

Next: Think about questions in your journal entry from what you have just heard

3rd time: Listen and fill out the entry form below while listening and reflecting.

Rules and Requirements for Journal

1. You will need to fill out 5 separate journal entries from the list below. (Blank Journal Entry Form)

  1. Focus Compositions of the Renaissance  5 must be from the Focus compositions or listening guides in this module. 2 pieces must be from the sacred music list and 2 from the secular music list,

B. Journal Entry: In each Journal entry fill out the following information

  • Composer:
  • Composition:
  • Time Period:
  • Genre:
  • Purpose of the piece or what is the piece about:
  • Reflection: Answer 3 reflection prompts from “C” below.

C.  Answer at least 3 of the reflection prompts. Back up your reflection using musical terms and examples. Reflect. Points will be taken off if you just answer the question in a bullet point without explaining or examples of what led you to your answer. This will be at least 3 sentences per prompt.

  • What is the main message or mood of this music, based on your listening experience?
  • Which music aspects work together to provide the message you heard?
  • What changes seem to happen as the music moves forward? In these changes, what things do you notice about the message of the music?
  • Do any of the changing music elements add to the emotion you feel in this music or the message, mood, idea, or storyline?
  • Does the music remind you of anything? Back up with examples

2. Click Terms to use Download Terms to usefor more examples of using terms when reflecting on the music. Also see Modules 1-3 for more terms to use when reflecting on the music.

3. You will have up to 2 attempts and can resubmit. See rubric for grading.

Example:  Use for each Journal entry

Composer: Haydn

Composition: String Quartet in D major, Op. 20, no. 4 (I: Allegro di molto)

Time Period:  Classical

Genre: string quartet

Purpose of the piece or what is the piece about: (Is there a purpose, was it written for something or about something?):

The string quartet was written for entertainment.  It is designed for a small more intimate feel between musicians and the audience.

Reflections:  At least 3 full sentences. Use musical terms (See below) and back up your thoughts with details of the music.

**Student reflections examples:  Use musical terms (See below) and back up your thoughts with details of the music. 

Which music aspects work together to provide the message you heard? (a piece from Middle Ages)
“The a capella in this piece is mostly monophonic, bringing a sense of togetherness and adding an almost angelic sound to the singing. The conjunct melody makes it very easy to listen to making everything flow very smoothly. It is a very pleasing song to listen to that is easy on the ear.”

Does the music remind you of anything? Give examples and links if possible.
This piece reminded me of “Vuelie” by Frode Fjellheim because of the way there are different parts that at times slowly come together to create harmony across all the different voices. The voices then separate into their own parts again until they come into harmony together again. “Vuelie” does feature percussion unlike “Angus Dei” but the usage of the voices I believe can be compared in a number of ways. Both also sound perfect for a church setting.

Terms to use for Listening Journal


 Genre/Style: Students should be as specific as possible

1. What category does this piece best fit into? What genre ? (It may fit more than one.)

2. Genre is a classification system that places different instructional materials into neat categories that help choose what to use and when. (Classical, jazz, Rock, Opera, etc.)

Timbre/Tone Color: Refers to the “what” or “who” in music making

1. What kind of instruments do you hear?

2. What types of voices are there, if any?

3. What type of group or ensemble or orchestra is playing

 Melody:  Main the theme

1. Is it Stately, ascending lines with leaps, smooth lines?

2. an interesting melody, hard to hear?

3. Who had the melody?

Tempo/Rhythm: The pace of the music

1. How fast is the music moving? Does it change during the piece? (speed up or slow down?)

2. Students can say fast/ slow etc. , but eventually using music terms like Allegro (fast) Moderato (medium)  Andante (walking pace) Largo (very slow), Vivace (very fast) would be expected.

Dynamics: The intensity of the volume

1. What is the Dynamics/intensity of the volume /Dynamics (softness/loudness)?

2. Does the intensity ever change? (pianissimo, piano, mezzo piano, mezzo forte, forte, fortissimo)

3. Does it change often or infrequently? Does dynamics become softer or louder, or change back and forth? Crescendo / Decrescendo

Tempo/Rhythm: The pace of the music

1. How fast is the music moving? Does it change during the piece? (speed up or slow down?)

2. Can say fast/ slow etc. , but eventually use music terms like Allegro (fast) Moderato (medium)  Andante (walking pace) Largo (very slow), Vivace (very fast) would be expected.



Music Vocabulary Words for Listening Journal

 Beat – the regular rhythmic pattern of a piece of music or a dance.

Chord – a combination of three or more tones played together at the same time.

Composer – a person who writes a piece of music.

contour – the melody of a piece of music as it turns upward or downward.

duration – the length of time that a note is sounded.

dynamics – an element of music – the loudness or softness of a piece of music (piano, mezzo piano, mezzo forte, forte)

elements – one of the simple, basic parts of something.

form – an element of music – the way the song is put together (AB, ABA, ABC, etc.)

forte – loud

harmony – an element of music – the simultaneous sounds or notes that result in a pleasing musical sound – more than one note played at a time.

measure – a unit of notes and rests in a piece of music, marked by a bar line on either side.

melody – an element of music – the shape, direction, and pitch (high vs. low notes) of a piece of music;  also a tune or a song.

meter – the rhythmic pattern made by grouping together strong and weak beats.

mezzo forte – medium loud

mezzo piano – medium soft

notation – visual symbols for sound such as the treble and bass clefs

Performer– the person/group actually playing/singing the music

piano – soft (the piano is also a musical instrument)

pitch – the measure of how high or low a note, is, relative to other notes; pitch is determined by the frequency of vibrations per second.

range- A measure of the highest and lowest sounds used in a piece of music.

rhythm – an element of music – the meter, time signature, and rhythmic duration in a piece of music;  also the regular beat in music, poetry, or dance.  (eighth notes, quarter notes, half notes, dotted-half notes, whole notes)

signature – signs at the beginning of a musical work indicating its key and tempo (key signature and time signature)

style – a particular type of music or dance (examples: blues, rock, pop, folk, spirituals, etc.)

tempo – an element of music – the speed of a piece of music.

timbre – an element of music – the way a particular instrument sounds.

unison – when people say, sing or do something at the same time. One single part in music.


Exactly! Listening to music repeatedly is one of the best ways to study and understand it. It helps you develop a deeper appreciation for the art form and the skill of the musicians involved. By paying close attention to the different elements of the music such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre, you can start to identify patterns and make connections between different pieces. This can also help you develop your own musical tastes and preferences.

Additionally, repeated listening can also improve your ability to identify and remember musical elements. This can be especially helpful if you are learning an instrument or trying to compose your own music. The more you listen, the more you’ll be able to internalize the structure and patterns of music, which can inform and influence your own creations.

In short, being a good listener is an important aspect of musical study and appreciation, and repeating your listening can help you gain a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the music you love.


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