Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music (BM)

Department

School of Music

Advisor(s)

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to examine the historical and applied performance aspects of music from the English Reformation, and to explore and explain the pedagogical methods of teaching this music to developing musicians in high school. I was responsible for organizing, programming, rehearsing, and conducting a recital featuring several works of sacred English, sacred Latin, and madrigal/secular songs. In addition, I was responsible for researching and presenting a lecture recital on the Tudor Dynasty, and the effect the monarchy had on the publication of music during 1517-1648.

I developed a lecture recital based upon age appropriate choral pieces by Tudor composers Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, and Thomas Weelkes. The compositions chosen for the Honors Recital included:

Tallis: Verily, Verily I Say Unto You Tallis: Hear the Voice and Prayer Tallis: If Ye Love Me Byrd: Dies Santificatus Byrd: Ave Verum Corpus Gibbons: The Silver Swan Weelkes: As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending

In order to adequately and accurately present music from specific time periods, one must closely examine the historical context of the time, what styles were appropriate, and, most importantly, why the music has remained significant enough to warrant performance in our current musical landscape and time period. The music of the English Reformation dates back to the late Renaissance period (1500-1650). This early music period was crucial in defining the musical style that we use today, and these musical compositions helped to define a distinct English style of choral music that remains highly regarded to this day. In conjunction with examining the musical style of select Renaissance composers, I discussed the compositional connection to the church, and how significantly this music was affected by the political changes concerning the Church of England and the British monarchy.

In addition to the important historical aspects of the English Reformation, I examined the selected recital music from its standpoint in music history. The Renaissance period was the first period that truly defined styles of imitation and counterpoint, which is still the main method through which we conceptualize Western, diatonic music. By analyzing the historical components of each piece, a deeper comprehension of this Renaissance compositional style was gained; which transferred to the teaching of counterpoint, polyphony, and transparency through both the Latin and English choral texts in the rehearsal process. This in-depth musical understanding, embedded in the historical elements of the pieces themselves, informed both the rehearsal process and concert delivery of these works.

Finally, I discussed the process and pedagogy of teaching Renaissance choral music. My goal is to find an effective way to shape rehearsals around the musical genres of English Renaissance music, while still educating the choir about how to appropriately sing in this style. The various musical genres chosen for this project ranged from sacred Mass, service pieces, anthems, and madrigals to demonstrate the application of polyphony, counterpoint, imitation, and the use of religious versus non-religious text on this style of music. Through understanding the historical and performance consideration of the period, as well as current best practices in choral music methods, I explored and developed a deeper sense of pedagogy in terms of teaching and performing music of this specific time period.

This project was accomplished through intensive score study, conducting lessons, and rehearsal planning/sequencing. The preparations for accomplishing the methodology of this project consisted of developing a project time line and rehearsal schedule, weekly conducting lessons, the weekly choir rehearsals, the project culminated in the lecture recital focused on the pedagogy of sacred and secular music during the English Reformation, and its integration into the high school music classroom.

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