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Country And Western Music Definition Essay

My favorite music would have to be Country, Rap, Acoustic rock, Christian music, and all other types of music. The only reason I listen to all these types are rap is to pump me up, acoustic rock is when I’m in a mellow mood, country is when I feel a little sad . But one of my favorite bands right now would be Rocket to the Moon and A Day to Remember. From country it would have to be Jason Aldean and other country singers. Rap it would be Wiz Kalifha, a little of Mac Miller.

Lulu Gutierrez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

The genre of my favorite music is a lot. It’s a rapper who took it to the top, but this year he didn’t win a Grammy award in the music awards. He is a trip for real no lie, but then he’s a good singer. He was in the singing group for like two years and has made over a million songs already and like 4 albums and he is a flow master I think who ever reads this should check him out a YouTube and its young money boy.

Christopher Garcia, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I don’t really have a favorite type of music. If a song comes out on the radio and it catches my attention, I find out the name and the artist or group who sings it and I then download it off of iTunes and put it in my iPod. Eventually these songs of different genres become what I listen to on my spare time.

Stephanie Villarreal, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is rock because it fits me and when I listen to it I feel good and relaxed; it’s just my type of music. Don’t get me wrong other types of music are good as well but, I like rock a lot more then any other type. It chills me out and I can jam to it!

Elias Urbina, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre in music is country music, because the singers express their feelings. Country music is different because the entire singer’s relate to their child hood. They also relate to their family members. They also relate to Iraq and how family members react when they’ve been told that their love ones aren’t coming back home. They express their love life’s and make you think about “falling in love” at such a young age. They make you realize that life can be too short so why waste it on being tied down to just one person.

Ruby Garcia, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I value music and friends most in life, because with music, it helps a lot of us through things in life and it gives us something to relate to. And with friends, they are there for you when you need something or someone to talk to. True friends never leave your side.

Stephanie Bautista, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre in music is country music, because the singer’s express their feeling’s. Country music is different because the entire singer’s relate to their child hood. They also relate to their family member’s. They also relate to Iraq and how family member’s react when they’ve been told that their love one’s aren’t coming back home. They express their love life’s and make you think about “falling in love” at such a young age. They make you realize that life can be to short so why waste it on being tied down to just one person.

Ruby Garcia, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is mainly rap. I love to listen to rap music because it makes me feel like I can face any challenges that I have. But I also listen to sad love songs when I’m feeling down because it makes me see what the artist wrote the song about and why. Rap music is okay to listen to it’s just all the bad word’s that makes kid’s parents hate it. To me it don’t matter what type of music I listen to as long as I’m satisfied with the artist and the song that’s all that matters to me. I mainly listen to rap and my friends that know what I listen to think I’m ghetto but I’m not; it don’t matter what type of music you listen to.

Katherine Cottongim, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite music is all kinds. I love music and its got to be in us because I use it so we can relax. When we’re mad I hear music and it calms me down. Or if you just want to listen to music for the fun its all good. Many people relax just listening to music once in a while because they just want to chill. When you are frustrated sometimes music changes your mood. That’s why I think music is a big roll in my life.

Jesus Martinez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite type of music to listen to is Spanish music. I like to listen to this music because this is the music I listened to when I grew up. Some types of Spanish music that I like are Banda and Bachata. I also like this music because this is the type of music you can dance to. You also have fun hearing it. I like Spanish music better than English music because for me it’s more enjoyable and danceable. Another reason I like it is because I can actually sing along to it unlike other genres that say the words too fast. Don’t get me wrong, I also like English music; it’s just I’d rather listen to Spanish music.

Maria Rubio, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I hear all types of music, country, corridos, rock, rap, reggaeton, and a lot more. Sometimes I hear them when I’m going to sleep. I like hearing music that makes me happy. The music makes me cool down. I don’t really care what the genre is as long as its good music to my ears. Music that I can dance to and enjoy dancing to it.

Javier Torres, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

Reggaeton music is my favorite because I like the music that is joyful and that is not sad. I love Wisin y Yandel

Diana Villegas, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre in music would have to be Tejano. I like Tejano because when I hear it, I always feel like I am listening to the stories of a real hard working Mexican-American. My step father brought Tejano Music into my life and for that I thank him, because Tejano is not just Spanish music. Just like everyone else who listens to their "music" Tejano is a way of life. To many it's just a bunch of Mexicans singing about useless things, but to me Tejano is the heart and soul of the Valley. Sure we hear about many new artists that come and try to bring their hip-hop and rap music, when their music is the type that has no meaning to it. I'm not one to speak and disrespect their hard work, because I listen to some of it also. But I do not forget my heritage and where I come from. You may think that I am just a kid that does not know what I am saying, but I do. If I am born Tejano, and I am raised Tejano. Then consider me Tejano.

Jp Chris, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite type of music is rock. I love rock. Even my family loves rock. That is all we ever listen too. I was pretty much raised on rock. I love the way the guitars sound and bass sound. My favorite band is My Chemical Romance. I also love Green Day and Para Amor.

Linsey Delarosa, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite music is hip hop; that is one of the best kinds of genre you can hear here in the Valley. The other kind of music I like to hear is country because I just like to hear country; it sounds cool and it makes me want go to sleep at night. So when I’m about to go to sleep I hear those kind of songs and go to sleep.

Randy De Los Santos, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I think my favorite genre in music is R&B and RAP. The reason I like that is because I love the music, well it also depends what artist it is because I am really picky at that. The reason I love rap is because it sings about the daily things they have to go through every minute of their life. I think it’s sad to hear what they went through so many painful and bad times.

Elizabeth Sandoval, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite kind of music is country, hip-hop, R +B, pop and rock, I love listening to music because it helps me calm down and fall asleep. I also like it because it somewhat relates to what you’re going through. Music is a beautiful thing people value. I like that we have music; it really shows who we really are and what kind of personality we have.

Dallas Sepulveda, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is all types of music except country. I like metal, hip-hop, R&B, pop, and techno. I like all types of music because it’s all fascinating. I love the way metal has its own beat and lyrics that speak to you. With hip-hop you just feel like dancing with the beat; you can lose yourself in the music. With techno, I love the way it just makes you forget everything that is going on and just lose yourself in the music.

Viannay Vasquez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre in music is Rap, Chopped & Screwed, because that kind of music calms me down and actually lets me work.

Araceli Jimenez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music would have to be rock and alternative rock because some of my favorite bands are Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and my favorite band Blue October. There is no reason for this being my favorite genre other than that’s just who I am and that’s just what I like.

Raissa Vasquez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is techno. I like it because it cools you down and makes you want to dance and you lose yourself. And it is cool to listen to. Everybody has fun listening and dancing to it. In the songs that are coming out, you just hear techno and how the remixes of the songs include techno. Techno makes mostly everything sound better. Without it, I wouldn't like music and I wouldn't be happy.

Alejandro Garcia,

Weslaco East High School, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

Well the type of music that I like to hear is rap and hip-hop. I like that kind of music because the songs sound cool; and because of what they say. Lil Wayne sings cool, I like all the songs that he has made, they rock. I like hip-hop because there are some singers that sing cool and have made some cool songs like Drake; he sings cool and he kind of raps too. That’s the kind of music that I like to hear.

Ricardo De La Rosa Jr., Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

Some of my favorite songs are all the songs in the world, not the whole world. I pretty much listen to everything not everything. I listen to the music I like, her are examples R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock and more music. Music is just to calm you down when you are mad; that’s what I think of music.

Diego Rodriguez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I like rock music because it keeps me pumped up all the time. Before I do something that’s really nervous to me, I like to listen to my music to calm me down, but not too much. I can’t stand slow music because it makes me really sleepy and it gets annoying. I would listen to anything, but country is the most annoying of all for me. I just want to get their cowboy hats and stomp all over them.

Aaron Ybarra, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is classic rock and alternative rock. I like this genre because some of the songs and bands inspire me and I can relate to some songs. My favorite bands are the Beatles and Breaking Benjamin. Every time I feel down I get my iPod and start listening to their music to get right back up. You can stereotype some people by music. If you see a person with a cowboy hat, cowboy shirt, and cowboy boots you can tell that he listens to country music. Music is the best thing in America.

Jesse James Castillo, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is hip hop and R&B music. I love listening to my two favorite singers Chris Brown and Lil Wayne. I love dancing to party music. I love hearing music everyday. I don’t know what I would do if music didn’t exist. I listen to music when I’m bored or when I’m having a bad day. I like to sing to my favorite songs and to my favorite artists. Music is my LIFE!!!!   

Amanda Trevino, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music would be R&B, Hip Hop, Country, slow rock. Well, I would have to say anything that would describe my feelings and makes me want to dance and sing along. I’m a music lover. I like any type of music; but the singer I can’t live a day without hearing would be Chris Brown. I love him and his songs. I just have to hear music to be happy and to keep going on with my day. If I’m not hearing music I’m singing. I think every song inspires someone, has a little truth in it, and can grow to success in life.

Alondra Coronado, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre is techno because it has certain beats and it makes any song sound good. It makes you want to dance or gets you pumped up. Without techno music it won’t be good. And you can have a lot of fun with friends.

Danny Tamez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music would be rock because rock music tells you live stories when you listen to the lyrics and you can really relate to them. That’s why I like rock; its interesting to listen to other peoples stories and listening to what they have to say.

Janeth Salazar, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is rock. It's my favorite genre because there are many different types of rock, and each type is different.

Javi Cabello, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite music is all types really. I listen to Rap, Rock, Spanish, Country, and Crunkcore. It all really depends on the mood I’m in, but all this music really entertains me and I like to sing along and dance to it, but yeah all this music really makes me happy when I listen to it. Some of it makes me laugh, but as long as I like the beat to the song or lyrics then it’s all good. Sorry I can’t really say what my favorite music genre is but I have a lot. I can’t just choose one; it’s to hard.

Maxine Cantu, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite music to listen to for some reason is R&B, although I do listen to all types of music. R&B helps me concentrate and relax when I need to and as well helps me think things out

Mary Reyes, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre is rock. It soothes me when I listen to it. I also like the ones where they scream and you can’t understand what they’re saying. Some people don’t like it because they think its crazy, but I like it. I like listening to the guitar. I’ve always wanted to learn how because I like to listen to my dad playing the guitar, but he never showed me. I like the sound of the drums too since I know how to play the drums. The bass, especially the bass, I love to listen to. My favorite grandpa in this whole entire world played the bass and I loved the sound of it and loved how he played it. He passed away and I wish he showed me how. I love music, but this would be my favorite genre.

Shannon Leah Valdez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I love all kinds of music except Spanish, only because I don’t understand a word they are saying. My favorite kind of music though, is country. I love country because you can just relate to all the songs. About, I think 95% of it is depressing, but it is really good and they sing about real life problems. I relate to country music a lot. All the country stars are the best singers ever!

Samantha Flores, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

To me music is my passion; it’s just my way of life. It determines my mood and my emotions. Whenever I am feeling down I usually listen to soft music than goes with my feelings. Usually when I am excited I put on something that will really get me in the mood for just getting up and start moving.

Jonathon Hernandez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I don’t really have a favorite type of music. If a song comes out on the radio and it catches my attention, I find out the name and the artist or group who sings it and I then download it off of iTunes and put it in my iPod. Eventually these songs of different genres become what I listen to on my spare time.

Stephanie Villarreal, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is rock because, it fits me. And when I listen to it I feel good and relaxed; it’s just my type of music. Don’t get me wrong other types of music are good as well but, I like rock a lot more then any other type. It chills me out and I can jam to it!

Elias Urbina, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I listen to all kinds of music except rock. I can’t stand that music; that’s for crazy people. The most I listen to would be Spanish and country. There is nothing like that music better then anything else. That music just makes me feel better. When I’m sad I listen to country and makes me feel better and when I’m happy I listen to Spanish.

Primo Gurrusquieta, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is Alternative Indie rock. Those bands that may sound like they were from the 90's always get my attention, or bands that sound psychedelic and make me feel like my room is spinning always make me feel great even bands that are slow and mellow grab my attention. Bands like Woods, Broken Social Scene, Phoenix, and Pedro The lion most of all. Songs that make me feel what the lyrics are saying or songs that make me just want to go for a car ride into the middle of nowhere until I run out of gas are the songs I love to listen to.

Esteban Sanchez, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

Personally, I don't have a favorite genre. It just depends on the mood I'm in and how my day went. This may sound weird, but heavy rock is very soothing. At the same time it can pump me up as well as pop or hip hop. Country and Indie are good when I feel pretty chill. Classical is good thinking music and is proven to make one smarter. Whether its country, rock, Indie, hip hop, Tejano, or rap I'll hear it all.

Jovani Orta, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I don't know whether you’ve heard the saying “lyrics say the things you’ll never have the guts to” but I have, and I most definitely believe it. I think music is such an escape as well as a way to express your self. With that being said, I absolutely love the Tejano, Norteno genre. My dad loves listening to Corridos and what not and strangely enough I’ve adapted and grown to love it. The lyrics to the music that come from the Mexican/ Latino heritage are always so meaningful and definitely speak wonders to my ears and heart.

Natasha M. Guerrero, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

My favorite genre of music is country music, because every song depicts a story for any situation that life might throw at you. Country music is in my opinion the heart and soul of our great country, because no matter what mood you’re in, it can always make you feel better and never worse.

Haley Hernandez, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I really enjoy listening to country music. I've lived on a ranch all my life and that's what you play in a big truck. I don't care for all this rap music. I can't even understand what their saying. With country you can and it's a story in a song.

Victor Voyce, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

Now-a-days there are more genres of music out there than what we really know about. I don’t have a specific genre of music that I would call my favorite because I listen to all kinds of music. I love country music, although it’s depressing sometimes. Pop, because it's so up beat and just makes me want to dance. Tejano, every now and then when I want to dance. Last would be alternative, it varies from soothing music to upbeat or screamo.

Olivia Garza, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

My favorite genre of music is alternative rock and reggae. This type of music is great because I can listen to it no matter where I am or how I feel. It can be calming and uplifting all at the same time. My favorite reggae artist is Matisyahu and my favorite alternative rock band is Phoenix.

Kassey Ann Herrera, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I honestly don't really have a favorite genre of music. I usually listen to the music that matches the mood that I'm in. If I feel energetic I will listen to fast paced music, like rock. If I feel calm, sad, or relaxed I will listen to slow or steady paced music, like rap or country. To me, music is just an extension of a person's emotions. And I just listen to what I feel.

Johnny Ayala, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

My favorite kind of music is country because it soothes the soul and speaks to whoever listens to it. It's a type of music that comes from the heart.

Cody Casares, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I like every type of genre, but the one that stands on top is country. If I ever find a girl who loves country as much as I do, I would marry her right on the spot. Country talks about almost everything from people overcoming adversity, to simply learning to enjoy the little things in life. One artist who really fascinates me is Kenny Chesney, he is the best there is. I like him because he likes to party even though he is old.

Miguel Torres, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

My favorite music genre would, without a doubt, be country. I’ve grown up surrounded by country music because of my parents and the rest of my family listen to it a lot. I’ve also been to a lot of concerts and I think country artists and bands put on the best shows of any genre of music. One thing I love about country music is that there are country songs for every emotion and every occasion. Country music relates to a never ending list of people and that’s why I love it so much.

R.J. Berrones, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

“Singing sad songs often have a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness.” I like music that usually tells stories with situations similar to real life stories. My favorite genre of music is country music, because it isn’t just about getting money, degrading women, and using drugs. Country music tells stories that soothe the soul and relaxes the mind.

Kassandra De La Rosa, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

Music is an influence of the society we live in today. It is an expression that exudes in each citizen, and it identifies the persona that we all hold. My favorite genre is pop, because it not only represents life being lived in the moment, but it represents the generation we are today.

Kassi Pena, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I come from a family of metalheads so listening and loving rock and roll comes naturally to me. I can listen to every type of rock music from a head banging Avenged Sevenfold song to a slow foot tapping song by The Police. If the band has a guitarist, bassist, a drummer, a singer, and a good rhythm I most likely listen to and like their music. Don’t get me wrong, I've been in the mood for some Eminem and Taylor Swift from time to time, but if I had to chose only one, rock music would definitely be the music choice for me.

Sara Marble, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

Music and I have gone a long way back and my taste truly differs now since the time we became friends. The first song I ever heard, not just some vague memory; I remember it clearly: "Strawberry Fields Forever." At age three, the Beatles filled my life with music. But now, a multitude of various artists has that job. I love all types of music. I love listening to the bands that I've grown to love and I love to discover new bands and artists that I never knew of.

Noe Rodriguez, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

"But darling, I still catch a grenade for you!" blared the radio. I don't know what I would do without the catchy tunes of the year's greatest musicians. It gives you a way to act calm or release steam. If you could think of any song in the world, what would you listen to? So many choices. So little time.

Taylor Gray, W.B. Green Jr. High

Teacher: Terrie Gracia

Music means the world to me. Without it, life would hold no meaning. Music is what colors the world. If there was no music, there would be no way to keep people entertained, or happy. Life would be gray and flavorless. Everyone has their own type of music that hypes them, calms them or helps them. Pop, rock, classical, rap, reggae techno are just a few types of music that fill the world. Music is what I value most because it's what makes the world go around.

Nicky Castillo, W.B. Green Jr. High

Teacher: Terrie Gracia

I find that all music is slowly infusing with Pop. Most of the songs are now directed to a wider age range and can be set to similar life experiences. Therefore, Pop is my favorite genre of music.

Erich Kitten, Coakley Middle School

I don’t know what kind of music I like. It really depends on the song and really what sort of mood I happen to be in. If I am feeling sad, I will listen to sad songs, if I am happy I will listen to happy upbeat tunes. I enjoy songs by Justin Bieber. They make me feel loved and songs by Paula Deanda make me sad. It is just too difficult to choose!

Kayla Gutierrez, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

My favorite genre of music is definitely pop. If someone looks at the genre list on my iPod, it’s pretty diverse, but more than half of the songs are pop. I like listening to pop because it’s upbeat and catchy. The songs get stuck in your head even when all you know is the beat. Pop is a mix of multiple genres. If you listen closely you can hear little bits of hip-hop, blues, jazz and even rock. My favorite pop artist is Justin Bieber. There’s no question about it. He, along with other pop artists, mixes a bunch of different musical styles and blends it together. The best part is it sounds good too. Pop is all about mixing music to set your self apart from the others, and that’s why I love it.

Shelby Aceto, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

ROCK!  This is because it has a lot of hard-core sound and rhythm and cool instruments that make the great sounds.

Christian Perez, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

My favorite genre of music is classical music. It is very calming and scientifically proven that it is related with your education. People who listen to classical music often are proven to have higher test scores than others who don’t. That is why many people play the piano, where they can interact with many types of classical music. Some people even believe that listening to Mozart while you study helps your concentrate more and make you smarter. Some of my favorite composers are Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Clementi, Debussy, Listz, and Scarlotti. But my favorite of all is Chopin. Chopin is an intelligent composer who created phenomenal music through his feelings. His pieces are simply the best. Classical music is my favorite genre of music. It always has been and always will be.

Ayane Ito, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

My favorite genre, in music, is hip-hop and country. Hip-hop makes you want to dance, move, sing, and have a good time. Country, on the other hand, has meaning either inspirational, funny or just a good time. Singers that I prefer are Drake, Nelly, 50 Cent and Eminem as well as Josh Turner, Rascal Flatts, George Strait, and Jack Nichols.

Smiley Ramirez, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

My favorite genre of music is jazz because I think it sounds cool and kind of edgy. I started to enjoy jazz when I was about eight, and when I was eleven I asked my parents if I could play a jazz instrument. I now play alto saxophone and I’m doing well. I am also planning to join jazz band next year. Jazz is a really neat music genre, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Alec Macmanus, Gutierrez Middle School

Teacher: Stacey Hill

I only like one genre of music and one genre only, rock music. I just love to listen to the electric guitar and the drum set play. Even though some songs are about five to ten minutes long, I don't care, I enjoy it! And I know there are some people that don't "like" rock music, honestly I don't care. I just love to listen to rock music.

Richard Hernandez, Gutierrez Middle School

Teacher: Stacey Hill

I really like all sorts of music but the ones I really like and enjoy the most is the Mexican music, like for example, I love Cumbias a lot specially when it comes to dancing them at a party. Another genre of the Mexican music that I like is the bands. I think the sound that the instruments make in a band sound really cool and the way the singers sing the songs it’s really nice.

Rocio G., Gutierrez Middle School

Teacher: Stacey Hill

My favorite genre of music is jazz because it has so many fantastic sounds and a marvelous choice of instruments. All of the sounds and instruments come together to form one glorious and extravagant piece of music. I think jazz music contains numerous amounts of excitement because the instruments are always high pitched and played quickly to create cheerful noises. Jazz music reminds me of merry times in the past of my life. This kind of music pleases my liking more than other types of music because of the pleasant feeling you receive by listening to it. When I listen to jazz music, I get glorious flashbacks of times when I was a young child and also listening to the fine art of music. Although there are many composers who form fabulous pieces of jazz, my favorite composer is Louis Armstrong. I think he is superb, and the type of jazz he composes is sensational.

Nick Peters, Gutierrez Middle School

The term Renaissance, in spite of its various connotations, is difficult to apply to music. Borrowed from the visual arts and literature, the term is meaningful primarily as a chronological designation. Some historians date the beginning of the musical Renaissance to about 1400, some to the rise of imitative counterpoint about 1450. Others relate it to the musical association with humanistic poetry at the beginning of the 16th century, and still others reserve the term for the conscious attempt to recreate and imitate supposedly classical models that took place about 1600.

The court of Burgundy

No one line of demarcation is completely satisfactory, but, adhering to commonly accepted usage, one may conveniently accept as the beginning of the musical Renaissance the flourishing and secularization of music at the beginning of the 15th century, particularly at the court of Burgundy. Certainly, many manifestations of a cultural renaissance were evident at the time: interest in preserving artifacts and literature of classical antiquity, the waning authority and influence of the church, the waxing humanism, the burgeoning of urban centres and universities, and the growing economic affluence of the states of western Europe.

As one manifestation of their cultivation of elegant living, the aristocracy of both church and state vied with one another in maintaining resident musicians who could serve both chapel and banqueting hall. The frequent interchange of these musicians accounts for the rapid dissemination of new musical techniques and tastes. Partly because of economic advantages, Burgundy and its capital, Dijon, became the centre of European activity in music as well as the intellectual and artistic focus of northern Europe during the first half of the 15th century. Comprising most of eastern France and the Low Countries, the courts of Philip the Good and Charles the Bold attracted the leading musicians of western Europe. Prime among them was Guillaume Dufay, who had spent some time in Rome and Florence before settling in Cambrai about 1440. An important contemporary of Dufay was Gilles Binchois, who served at Dijon from about 1430 until 1460. The alliance of Burgundy with England accounted for the presence on the Continent of the English composer John Dunstable, who had a profound influence on Dufay. While the contributions of the English to the mainstream of Continental music are sparsely documented, the differences in style between Dufay and his predecessor Machaut are partially accounted for by the new techniques and, especially, the richer harmonies adopted by the Burgundian composers from their English allies.

New religious musical forms

The social circumstances of the age determined that composers would devote their efforts to the mass, the motet, and the chanson (secular French song). During the first half of the 15th century, the mass became established as a unified polyphonic setting of the five main parts of the Ordinary of the mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei), with each movement based on either the relevant portion of plainsong or, reflecting the dawning Renaissance, a secular song such as the popular “L’Homme armé” (“The Armed Man”) and “Se la face ay pale” (“If my face seems pale”). Still reflecting medieval practices, the preexisting melody (cantus firmus) was usually in the tenor (lowest) part and in long, sustained tones, while the upper parts provided free elaboration. Dufay’s nine complete settings of the mass, compared with Machaut’s single setting, give a clear indication of the growing importance of the mass as a musical form. The motet became simply a setting of a Latin text from Scriptures or the liturgy in the prevailing polyphonic style of the time. It was no longer necessarily anchored to a plainsong tenor; the composer could give free reign to his invention, although some did, of course, resort to older techniques.

Secular music

It was in secular music that giant strides took place. While their chansons continued the tradition of rondeaux, virelais, and ballades, Dufay and his contemporaries added free forms divorced from the ordered patterns of the Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova periods.

Among the distinctive features of Burgundian musical style was the prevailing three-part texture, with melodic and rhythmic interest centred in the top part. Because it was so typical of secular songs, this texture is commonly referred to as “ballade style” whether it appears in mass, motet, or chanson. Its possible stylistic implication is that a solo voice sang the upper melody, accompanied by instruments playing the lower parts, although no documents remain to establish exactly how the music was performed. There was probably no standard performing medium: all parts may have been sung; some or all may have been doubled by instruments; or there may have been one vocal part supported by instrumental accompaniment.

The Franco-Flemish school

A watershed in the history of music occurred about the middle of the 15th century. The fall of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453 and the end of the Hundred Years’ War at about the same time increased commerce from the East and affluence in the West. Most significant musically was the pervasive influence of musicians from the Low Countries, whose domination of the musical scene during the last half of the 15th century is reflected in the period designations the Netherlands school and the Franco-Flemish school. These musicians traveled and resided throughout Europe in response to their great demand at princely courts, including those of the Medici family in Florence and the Sforzas in Milan. Further dissemination of knowledge resulted from the invention and development of printing.

The leading composers, whose patrons were now members of the civil aristocracy as well as princes of the church, were Jean de Ockeghem, Jakob Obrecht, and, especially, Josquin des Prez. Ockeghem, born and trained in Flanders, spent most of his life in the service of the kings of France and was recognized by his contemporaries as the “Prince of Music.” Obrecht remained near his birthplace in the Netherlands, going occasionally to Italy in the retinue of Duke Ercole I of Ferrara. More typical of the peripatetic Netherlanders was the career of Josquin, the most-influential composer of the period. After training at Saint-Quentin, he served the Sforza family in Milan, the papal choir in Rome, Ercole I, and King Louis XII of France before returning to his native Flanders in 1516. These three composers and several contemporaries hastened the development of the musical techniques that became the basis of 16th-century practice and influenced succeeding developments.

Rather than the three parts typical of most Burgundian music, four parts became standard for vocal polyphony in the late 15th century. The fourth part was added below the tenor, increasing the total range and resulting in greater breadth of sound. The presence of the four parts also allowed for contrasts of texture such as the “duet style” so characteristic of Josquin, when the two upper parts might sing a passage alone and be echoed by the two lower parts alone. The emergence of the technique of imitation (one voice repeating recognizably a figure heard first in another voice) as the chief form-generating principle brought about more equality of parts. At the same time, “familiar style,” in which all parts move together in chords, provided a means of textural contrast. The great variety of rhythmic techniques that evolved during the 14th and early 15th centuries made possible a wide range of expression—from quiet tranquillity for sacred music to lively and spirited secular music. Knowledge of the musical practices comes not only from the thousands of surviving compositions but from informative treatises such as the 12 by the composer Johannes Tinctoris (1436–1511), one of which, Terminorum musicae diffinitorium (c. 1475), is the earliest printed dictionary of musical terms.

The chief forms of vocal music continued to be the mass, the motet, and the chanson, to which must be added other national types that developed during the 15th century—the villancico (secular poetry set for voice and lute or for three or four voices) in Spain and the frottola (a simple, chordal setting in three or four parts of an Italian text) in Italy. The emergence of the frottola in northern Italy led to the development of the Renaissance madrigal, which impelled that country to musical supremacy in Europe.

Instrumental music

At the same time, an independent instrumental idiom was evolving. While instruments had been in common usage throughout the Middle Ages, their function was primarily to double or to substitute for voices in vocal polyphonic music or to provide music for dancing. Techniques unsuitable for voices were doubtless part of an instrumentalist’s musical vocabulary, but most such music was improvised rather than being written. Although there are a few sources of instrumental music dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, the earliest relatively extensive documentation comes from the 15th century, particularly from German sources, such as the Buxheimer Orgelbuch and Conrad Paumann’s Fundamentum organisandi (Fundamentals of Organ Playing). The compositions in both collections are of two basic types, arrangements of vocal works and keyboard pieces entitled Praeambulum (Prelude).

During the course of the 16th century, instrumental music burgeoned rapidly, along with the continually developing idiomatically instrumental techniques, such as strongly accented rhythms, rapid repeated tones and figures, angular melodic lines involving wide intervallic skips, wide ranges, long, sustained tones and phrases, and much melodic ornamentation.

Musical forms

Dance forms, a continuation of a tradition unbroken since the beginnings of recorded music history, were most characteristically composed in pairs, although single dances as well as embryonic suites of three or more dances appeared. The pairs usually consisted of pieces in contrasting tempo and metre that often were unified by sharing a common melody. Common dance pairs included the pavane and galliard, the allemande and courante, and the basse danse and tourdion.

Preludes continued as a major form of organ music and were joined by the fantasia, the intonazione, and the toccata in a category frequently referred to as “free forms” because of the inconsistency and unpredictability of their structure and musical content—sections in imitative counterpoint, sections of sustained chords, sections in virtuoso figuration. If a distinction must be made, it might be said in very general terms that the fantasia tended to be more contrapuntal while the toccata (“touch piece”) featured passages designed to demonstrate the performer’s agility, although the designations were freely interchangeable. To the same category belong the descriptive pieces such as The King’s Hunt, which featured naive musical representations of natural sounds.

The ricercare and the canzona, generally referred to as fugal forms because of their relationship to the principle of the fugue (that of melodic imitation), arose out of the growing understanding of and dependence on imitation as a unifying structural technique. Although these designations were applied to a great variety of pieces—some identical in style to the fantasia or prelude—the classic ricercare of the 16th century was virtually an instrumental motet, slow and churchlike in character and consisting of a number of sections, each utilizing imitation. The canzona followed the same structural principle but was a lively counterpart to the chanson, with the sections sometimes in contrasting tempo and metre. Cantus firmus compositions were based upon preexisting melody. During the 16th century most were designed for liturgical usage but were based upon both secular melodies and plainsong. In most cases the cantus firmus was sounded in long, sustained tones while the other part or parts added decorative contrapuntal lines. The organ mass, in which the choir and the organ alternated lines of the liturgical text, was a popular practice.

Variations also often used a preexisting melody but differed from cantus firmus compositions in that the melody was much shorter and was repeated a number of times, each time with different accompanying parts. The two basic types during the Renaissance were the plain, or melodic, variations and the ground. In the former, the chosen melody usually appeared in the top part and was varied in each repetition with ornamentation and melodic figuration or with changing accompaniments. The ground, or ground bass, was a simple melodic pattern sounded in the lowest part, which served as a foundation for imaginative figuration in the upper parts.

Solo and ensemble instruments

The four major vehicles for instrumental music of the period were the lute, the organ, stringed keyboard instruments, and instrumental ensembles. Most popular by far was the lute, which could produce the major elements of instrumental style except for long, sustained tones. Noteworthy composers of lute music included Luis Milán in Spain, Arnold Schlick in Germany, and John Dowland in England. The organ, because of its close association with liturgical music, continued to be an important instrument, and its literature includes all of the formal types except dances. Among the leading organ composers were the Germans Paumann, Schlick, and Paul Hofhaimer, the Italians Claudio Merulo and Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, the Spaniard Antonio de Cabezón, and the Englishman John Bull.

The two basic classes of stringed keyboard instruments were the harpsichord (virginal, spinet, clavecin, clavicembalo), with quill-plucked strings, and the clavichord, with strings struck by thin metal tongues. Keyboard instruments were highly capable of idiomatically instrumental effects and flourished, particularly in England, from the last half of the 16th century onward, thanks to the composers William Byrd, Bull, and Orlando Gibbons. A major manuscript source of the keyboard works of these masters is the famous Fitzwilliam Virginal Book of the 17th century.

Instrumental ensembles of the Renaissance were not standardized, although consorts (groups) of viols, of woodwind instruments such as recorders and shawms (loud oboes), or of brass instruments such as the cornet and sackbut (early trombone) were common. More common, however, were mixed consorts of various types of instruments, depending on the players available. All types of instrumental forms were performed by ensembles except for the prelude and the toccata, which were essentially keyboard works. Representative composers included the Gabrielis and Gibbons.

Vocal music in the 16th century

At the beginning of the 16th century the style of vocal music was generally uniform because of the pervading influence of Netherlanders during the preceding half century. That uniformity persisted well into the late Renaissance but was gradually superseded by emerging national differences, new forms, and the increasing importance of Italy as a musical centre during the last half of the 16th century.

The rapid accumulation of new musical techniques and resources produced a wide vocabulary of artistic expression, and the invention of music printing helped the rapid dispersal of new techniques. In an age in which music was an essential social grace, composers wrote more secular music, in which fewer technical restrictions were in force and experimentation and novelty were applauded. Advances were particularly apparent in venturesome harmonies as chromaticism (the use of notes not belonging to the mode of the composition) sounded the death knell of the modal system.

Liturgical practice dictated that the mass and the motet remain the chief forms of sacred vocal music. Compared with secular music, their style was conservative, but inevitably some of the newer secular techniques crept in and figured effectively in the music of the Counter-Reformation within the Roman Catholic Church.

Four distinct types of mass settings were established during the century. Two types were continuations of earlier practice: the tenor mass, in which the same cantus firmus served for all five portions of the Ordinary of the mass, and the plainsong mass, in which the cantus firmus (usually a corresponding section of plainsong) differed for each portion. Reflecting the more liberal attitudes of the Renaissance were the free mass, with no borrowed materials, and the parody mass, in which the entire polyphonic web was freely adapted from a motet or a secular composition. In all cases when a cantus firmus was used, the preexistent melody might appear in its original form or in paraphrased version, with tones added, omitted, or altered. As a result of the upheaval in the church caused by the Reformation, new forms derived from established models appeared in Protestant worship: the German Lutheran chorale (hymn tune, arranged from plainsong or a secular melody), the chorale motet, English anthems (Anglican form of motet) and services, and the psalm tunes in Calvinist areas.

Italy

While not young in a chronological sense, the musical life of Italy was reborn at the beginning of the 16th century after a century of relative dormancy. The frottola remained the prevailing secular form in northern Italy for the first three decades of the century.

When the humanistic poets, seeking a more-refined expression, and the Netherlanders and composers trained by them, applying a more-sophisticated musical technique, turned their efforts to the frottola, the result was the madrigal. The name was borrowed from the 14th-century form, but there was no resemblance in poetic or musical structure. Compared with the frottola, the earliest Renaissance madrigals, dating from about 1530, were characterized by quiet and restrained expression. Usually written for three or four voices, they were mostly homophonic (melody supported by chords) with occasional bits of imitation. Among the early madrigal composers were several Flemish composers resident in Italy, among them Adriaan Willaert, Jacques Arcadelt, and Philippe Verdelot. About 1560 the normal number of parts increased to five or six, and the texture became more consistently polyphonic. At the same time, more attention was given to expressive settings of the text, notably in the madrigals of Cipriano de Rore, Philippe de Monte, and the Gabrielis. During the last two decades of the century and continuing until the middle of the 17th century, the musical style of the madrigal changed appreciably. The late madrigals were of a very dramatic nature, featuring colouristic effects, vivid word-painting, and extensive chromaticism. Their declamatory character dictated a return to a more homophonic style. Noteworthy among the many composers of the late madrigal were Luca Marenzio, Carlo Gesualdo, and Claudio Monteverdi.

During the course of the century, simpler secular forms, such as the villanella, the canzonetta, and the balletto, appeared in Italy, largely as a reaction against the refinement, complication, and sophistication of the madrigal. They reverted to the chordal style of the frottola, often with intentionally parodistic lyrics. The balletto was particularly distinguished by a refrain of nonsense syllables such as “fa la la.”

England

Most of the Italian forms, along with their designations, were adopted by Elizabethan England during the last half of the 16th century. Most leading English composers, from William Byrd and Thomas Morley to John Wilbye, Thomas Weelkes, and Orlando Gibbons, contributed to the vast treasury of English secular music. Morley is particularly important as the editor of the most-significant collection of English madrigals, the Triumphes of Oriana, published in 1603 and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I (Oriana). These pieces correspond in style roughly to the middle-period Italian madrigal. English counterparts of the canzonetta and balletto were the canzonet and ballett. A late 16th-century innovation in both Italy and England was the ayre (air), a simple chordal setting especially suitable for a solo voice with a lute or a consort of instruments playing the other parts. John Dowland and Thomas Campion were notable composers of ayres.

France

The French counterpart of Italian and English madrigals was the polyphonic chanson, a continuation of the chief medieval and early Renaissance form of secular music. Revitalized by composers such as Josquin, Clément Janequin, and Claudin de Sermisy, the chanson developed several distinctive features: a clearly delineated sectional structure with some repetition of sections, much vivid programmatic writing, and occasional use of irregular metric organization. The irregular metric structure, called musique mesurée, was used for maintaining faithfully the accentuation of the poetry and reflects the traditional primacy of textual over musical considerations in French music.

Germany

The lied, or song, continued its 15th-century role as the chief secular form in Germanic areas, but it did not develop to the same extent as the madrigal and the chanson. Throughout the Renaissance it was relatively conservative in its adherence to the cantus firmus principle and its tendency toward chordal over contrapuntal texture. Following Heinrich Isaac in the 15th century, the major 16th-century lieder composers were Ludwig Senfl, Hans Leo Hassler, and Johann Hermann Schein. To all national schools of the 16th century must be added the name of the Flemish composer Orlando di Lasso, who wrote in French, Italian, or German, depending on his current employment. The Spanish villancico was a flourishing popular form, but there was no Iberian equivalent to the madrigal, the chanson, or the lied.

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