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Music in the Renaissance (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0134000459
ISBN-10: 0134000455
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

An overview of music in the 15th and 16th centuries, with emphasis on the contributions of the greatest composers. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Offers a complete overview of music in the 15th and 16th centuries -- with emphasis on the contributions of the greatest composers. Provides an overview of the place of music in Renaissance society. Explains the most significant features of the music, and the distinguishing characteristics of each of the leading Renaissance composers. Emphasizes the music itself — what it was like, and how it changed. Features many musical examples. Reflects the massive new scholarship in the field and new music examples -- e.g., Spanish and English music, the Italian madrigal, and the influence of Renaissance humanism on music. For anyone interested in music or music history.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 2 edition (October 4, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0134000455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0134000459
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Tobin Sparfeld on June 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is part of the Prentice Hall series, containing one book for each genre of Western Art Music (Medieval, Baroque, Romantic, etc.) as well as some non-Western music.

The book begins quickly with discussion of John Dunstable and the early English composers. Later chapters cover Dufay (and Binchois), Ockeghem (and Busnois). This encompasses the first quarter of the book--the early Renaissance. Later sections focus on Josquin and his contemporaries, the post-Josquin generation (Willaert, national styles and music of the reformation), and the last chapter covers the greats of the late Renaissance (mainly Palestrina, Lasso, Victoria, and Byrd).

Brown's book is designed to be a good undergraduate/graduate text for music majors, and in this respect it is pretty good. Brown's prose is informative and sufficiently analytical. His bibliographies at the end of each chapter can be helpful for those looking for additional information, and he seems to spend the right proportions of pages to those composers of greatest significance (Josquin, Palestrina, Byrd, etc.).

In terms of thoroughness of the information, Allan Atlas' book (part of the Norton series) is clearly better. It's almost twice as long, and its accompanying anthology allows for more thorough study. It's newer than Brown's book, which means that its scholarship is more up to date (for instance, some information we thought we knew about Josquin's history has turned out to be untrue).

Brown's book is not bad. In fact, I prefer Brown's organizational approach, which focuses on the composers one at a time instead of hopping around from genre to genre like Atlas'.

Both books are written with the music scholar in mind--you will be expected to know some of the church modes and the like--but Brown's text is much more accessible to the casual reader. I enjoyed reading it, and find it to be a suitable text.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very fine survey of music in the Renaissance. While not has comprehensive in content as Gustav Reese's masterpiece, it is more up to date in its research. It also reads quickly since it is designed for a survey course. Personally, I see this more as a supplement to the Reese book rather than as a replacement.

I really like the way this book focuses on key composers of the period and helps you see the period through the kinds of compositions they wrote and how the style of composition varied by region and changed over time. Since I am a huge fan of Josquin des Prez, I also appreciate the great focus put on his music and how it compares with his contemporaries.

This is a very readable book about some very great music that is not as familiar to the general music lover as it should be. I recommend it to everyone who wishes to gain a firmer appreciation for this wonderful era of music.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking at buying this you've probably had to enroll in a renaissance music course and this is the required text. Unfortunately it is somewhat dry and spends quite a lot of time talking about individual pieces - if you're willing to get out recordings and scores of each of these pieces then I guess the commentary is useful, but otherwise its very tempting to just skip through these pages. I can't say I enjoyed it, but it was useful as a reference for my essays.
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