Music of the Renaissance: A Study Guide

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This page is a part of the Musical Study Guide Masterclass. For other related articles, see Category:Musical Study Guide
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The purpose of this tutorial is to provide an outline of prominent dates, terms, composers, compositions, social contexts, and ideas that may be encountered in a study of Renaissance era music history. This is by no means a complete list, but it should serve as a solid overview of the time period. For additional information I recommend reading Renaissance Music by Allan W. Atlas.


The Renaissance (1400-1600), a term not coined until the 19th century, was a period of “rebirth” for classical antiquity (Greek and Roman values, especially those expounded by Cicero). In the Middle Ages, God was the measure of all things, but during the Renaissance man was the measure of all things (humanism, also not coined until the 19th century). The revival of classical antiquity came with a revival of the Latin language. In the early 14th century Dante and Petrarch set standards for Italian literature, but their language was often a bastardized form of Latin. A movement began to restore Latin to its original glory, and this was probably the beginning of humanism. By the 15th century most of Italy was involved in the movement; the rest of Europe jumped on the bandwagon by the 16th century. Naturally these shifts in values had important stylistic implications for music.

Important events leading into the 15th century

1305-1377 was a time when the papacy, whose home base was still in Rome, moved to Avignon. This is known as the Babylonian Captivity of the Church/Papacy. Splinter popes, like those who moved to Avignon, were the foundation of schisms. Problems such as these led to the Protestant Reformation of 1517.

The bubonic plague was rampant between 1347-1389. The [i]Decameron[/i] (mid 14th century) by Boccaccio is considered the first novel. It is about several people who seclude themselves outside of France to escape the Plague, and to pass the time they tell stories.

The 100 Years War raged between France (with Joan of Arc on its side) and England between 1337-1453; the fight was to determine which country owned France. During this time English culture was infused into France, and this would play an important role in music by helping the English sound to infiltrate French musical culture in the 15th century, a sound that trickled down from composer John Dunstable. Northern France would dominate the European musical scene throughout much of the Renaissance, largely because of its great music schools.

Music of the 15th century

English music (and its influences on continental music)

John Dunstable (c. 1390-1453) was the leader in English composition during the 1st half of the 15th century. He composed in all genres of his time and was the “fount and origin” of a new harmonic style, according to Johannes Tinctoris (c. 1435-1511), the most famous theorist of the 15th century (who also wrote the first music dictionary; claimed “There is no good music over forty years old” and we know that Ockeghem was a bass singer because he says, “Ockeghem has the finest bass voice I've ever heard”). Dunstable's fame and style spread to France through the 100 Years War. The contenance Angloise ("English guise" or manner) was a French term coined c. 1440 in "Le champion des dames," a poem by Martin le Franc. The poem describes English music as pleasing and names two famous French composers, Gilles Binchois and Guillaume Dufay, stating that they were followers of Dunstable.

general features of English music

  • has close ties to the folk style
  • steps outside of the modal system and regularly makes use of imperfect consonances (3rds and 6ths)
  • often homophonic (note-against-note) texture
  • Carols developed in England as polyphonic (2 or 3 voice) strophic songs performed in English or Latin. They had refrains, known as burdens, and were commonly in triple meter; they were festive and probably started as dance songs; they used religious/moral non-liturgical texts and could be secular, often used in feasts and processions.
  • The most famous carols are for Christmas. Christmas became a festive holiday in the 4th century and was used to ward off depression during the darkest and coldest time of year by drinking and partying. The holiday did not become geared toward family until the 19th century and most of the carols sung today were written well after the Renaissance (although some are based on Medieval and Renaissance melodies).
  • The cantus firmus (“fixed” or “firm” song) was developed in England as a pre-existent piece of music (usually a plainchant melody) to be used as the basis for every movement of a mass. Clearly Guillaume de Machaut's influence on mass unification blossomed in England; mass movements evolved to begin with the same short melody (or motto). These motto masses evolved into the cantus firmus mass.
    • The cantus firmus was most often sung by the tenor (placing the cantus firmus here made it possible to write a mass with a different tonal center than the cantus firmus) and this voice was the last one to enter a piece of music.
    • 2 treatments: strict – melody is unchanged and uses long note values; free – often paraphrased and in shorter note values.
    • The cantus firmus idea spread to France and was slightly altered.
      • Guillaume Dufay (c. 1400-1474) was one of the first composers to use a cantus firmus not based on a plainchant. His Missa Se la face ay pale is a cantus firmus mass based on his own chanson of the same name (Se la face ay pale). His other mass innovations include making 4-voice texture standard (as opposed to 3) and moving the cantus firmus out of the bottom voice to allow for more harmonic freedom and to expand the bass range. Dufay was famous during his life and was considered the best composer of his time. He set standards for both sacred and secular music, and is the most famous 15th century composer of plainchant. He is also known for his formes fixes compositions.
      • The French (possibly Dufay himself) also developed fauxbourdon (“false bass”), a technique of harmonizing a cantus firmus in (mostly) parallel motion with (usually) two other voices.
      • Motets sometimes used a cantus firmus as well, like in Busnois' In hydraulis.
  • The Old Hall Manuscript (c. 1410) is the biggest collection of English music from the 15th century. It contains many settings o the Mass Ordinary; the mass movements are often paired and motto masses are prevalent.[/list]

France (and the Franco-Flemish tradition)

    • Burgundy was an important court in 15th century Europe known for spreading a love of music and setting the standard for what a court should be.
      • Hayne van Ghizeghem was a composer and singer of the court, known for his incredibly popular chansons Allez regrets and De tous biens plaine.
      • Guillaume Dufay was a central figure of the Burgundian School (see above).
      • Gilles Binchois (d. 1460) lived around the time of Dufay and was a composer of the Burgundian court. He was a writer of chansons and his music differs from Dufay in that it does not usually have a long-range "tonal" coherence.
      • Antoine Busnois (d. 1492) was a composer who began to move toward abstraction with his masses, motets, and combinative chansons (he was a special champion of these). He rekindled a spirit of artistry and complexity, especially in the manipulation of a pre-existent cantus firmus for which he often turned to polyphonic chansons as his models.
      • The Burgundian School was comprised of Dufay, Binchois, Busnois, and Dunstable (he was not French but his work greatly influenced the others). These composers led the earliest activities of the Franco-Flemish School.
    • Johannes Ockeghem (d. 1497) worked for the court of France and is best known for his masses. He wrote some non-cantus firmus masses, such as Missa Cuiusvis toni, a famous catholicon. A catholicon is a piece that could be performed in more than 1 mode, depending on where the performer placed a clef. He is also known for Missa Prolationum, a mass that contains a set of double mensuration canons (a canon where two mensuration signs are used simultaneously), writing the first polyphonic requiem mass, developing the motet-chanson, and for his Fors seulement rondeau.
    • Josquin des Prez was a Franco-Flemish musician hired specifically as a composer in Ferrara, Italy (the court of Ferrara was interested in hiring important composers, and this is important because for the first time the idea of composer as a profession had become accepted). He was a major force in changing the 15th century motet:
      • constantly shifting textures; used points of imitation

[*]voices were all treated as equally important [*]moved away from compositions based on chant or cantus firmus [*]used four voice texture in the motet for the first time [*]the music was sensitive to the text (some text painting) [*]imitative pairs used simultaneously [*]some pieces ended on a perfect fifth arrived at by 5-1 motion, particularly in bass [*]created the psalm motet, which was the first time anyone set an entire chant to song; it involved syllabic text and repeated notes [*]additional motet features: [list][*]the motet was no longer French; its standard language was Latin [*]some mass performances substituted a motet for a part of the mass [*]texts were ceremonial or sacred [*]The ave regina caelorum text was often set to music. (Dufay created a setting of this, one that contained musical references to his name in order to suggest that he was an important composer, written so he could hear his own music while dying. A soggetto cavato dalle vocale yields a motive that becomes a symbol for the name.) Other common texts include quam pulcra es and o rosa bella. [*]A si placet voice (“if you please voice”) is an added voice in a motet[/list] [*]Pierre de la Rue was a composer of the Hapsburg-Burgundian court around the time of Josquin. His work is known for low bass lines and is often full of dissonance through chromaticism. He regularly wrote masses for 5 to 6 voices, instead of the standard 4. [i]L'homme armeé[/i] was a popular tune that became one of the most popular cantus firmi of the 15th century (often used in masses); de la Rue wrote more than one mass setting with this music. He wrote a very low requiem mass which is often transposed today. [*]Dufay/Binchois were part of the first generation of great Franco-Flemish composers, Ockeghem/Busnois were part of the second and Josquin/de la Rue were part of the third. [*]Chanson (15th and 16th centuries) [list][*]Chansons were French secular songs which were usually polyphonic. By the 15th century: -3 voice texture was the norm -tenor range was high compared to today and voices had greatly overlapping ranges -chansons were often the result of duets with a third voice added -the text settings were mostly syllabic with melismas found at the end of a work -homorhythm was very common[/list] [*]Formes fixes dominated the chanson repertoire through 1500. [list] [*]The ballade (aabC) was a dying form, though Dufay attempted to re-cultivate it (his Se la face ay pale lacks the repeated a section, which was likely an attempt to make the ballade more modern). It is also associated with Binchois. [*]Virelai (AbbaA) -The bergerette was a one-stanza virelai cultivated in the mid to late 15th century. It is most often associated with Busnois. [*]The rondeau (ABaAabAB) was the most popular type of formes fixes in the 15th century; it could be either a rondeau quatrain or a rondeau cinquain (contained four or five lines in the textual refrain).[/list] [*]The combinative chanson combined two melodies and their texts (one original and courtly, the other a popular tune known as a chanson rustique). Busnois was its champion, customarily writing it for four voices. Ockeghem wrote one. [*]Chansonniers are multi-composer anthologies of music from the mid 15th century. They are often small and exquisite illuminated manuscripts.[/list][/list] 15th century loose ends [list][*]A déploration is a composition inspired by someone's death, often a composer's death. One famous example is Nymphes des bois, a lament written by Josquin des Prez in memory of Johannes Ockeghem (it was an elegy of sorts). It was also a piece of augenmusik, visually representing death by containing only black notes. [*]The Trent Codices are the main sources of 15th century secular music. [*]A meeting of Franco-Flemish polyphony and humanist ideals led to complex canons (in strict imitation) by the 16th century. Previously canons were looked upon as shows of artifice and complexity, but now they were used to demonstrate virtuosity while hopefully exuding a feeling of effortlessness. Ockeghem's wrote mensuration canons in his [i]Missa Prolationum[/i] (canons which use more than one mensuration sign simultaneously). These were also double canons (2 canons played simultaneously)! [*]A partial signature is a “key signature” of sorts that designates different keys/modes to different voices. [*]Additional info on the Renaissance Mass: [list][*]A plenary mass combines polyphonic settings of the Mass Proper and Mass Ordinary (the requiem mass is one type) [*]A paraphrase mass takes a monophonic song as its model (usually chant) then chops up the borrowed material and sprinkles it in every voice with points of imitation[/list] [*]In England during the early 16th century, the Eton Choirbook, a collection of late 15th century compositions in non-imitative counterpoint for 5 to 10 voices, was compiled for use at Eton College. It is the main source for late 15th century English church music.[/list]

Music of the 16th century

The history and impact of music printing

  • One of the earliest printed books was the Gutenberg Bible of 1453 or '54, but it took a number of years before music printing became conceivable on a large scale. Music printing began in Europe during the latter half of the 15th century, however it did not take flight until 1501. Books printed before 1501 are known as incunabulum.
  • Petrucci was the first music printer to work in Venice (a major text printing center) and in 1501 he published his first book of music, the Odhecaton. This was the first printed book of polyphonic music and was a collection of nearly 100 secular songs, namely French chansons, published without the lyrics because many Italians would not understand the French. He moved on to publish nearly all genres of his time (including the first mass book, containing Josquin's music, followed by mass books of de la Rue and Heinrich Isaac). Eventually he gained a monopoly on music printing in Venice through a privilege from the Queen.
  • Petrucci used a process called triple impression printing, in which paper ran through the press three times for the staves, notes, and lastly text. In the 1520s Pierre Attaignant was able to cut printing time in half with the creation of his double (and sometimes single) impression printing. At this point music printing became commercially feasible and really took off, quickly replacing handwritten manuscripts. In addition to double impression printing, Attaignant was known for publishing and making popular the Parisian chanson, a simple, bouncy and catchy song with animated homophony, cultivated by Claudin and Janequin. One famous example is Janequin's Les cris de Paris, a composition that depicts the various sounds heard in Paris.
  • Music books were printed in a number of formats, though they were almost always uncut (pages were folded then bound together, making it necessary for the purchaser to cut and separate them properly). Formats included upright, oblong (often used by Petrucci), choirbook (ex: Odhecaton, although Petrucci eventually moved to part book format), part book (around since 1480), and score format. Score format gained popularity in the 12th century as polyphony came into its own, but by the 16th century it was used almost exclusively for score study.


    • Humanism is a revival of language, namely Latin, but in the 16th century there is a cry for equal treatment of the vernacular.
      • France
        • In the 16th century the French were fascinated by Italian culture and, following the Italian model, formal standards were set for how the French language was used and spelled.
      • The Academy of Poetry and Music was founded in 1570 by Jean-Antoine de Baïf, influenced by Pierre de Ronsard (both members of a group of poets called the Pléiade), for the purpose of reviving Classical Greek and Roman arts. De Baïf began vers mésurés, or poetry that reflected French accents (like Classical poetry with its accents). Claude le Jeune wrote music to match called musique mésurée. This short-lived movement made French composers more sensitive to inflections in verse and lead to ayres or airs, secular songs for one singer accompanied by an instrument, namely lute. These movements influenced the stress on syllables in French opera when it emerged in the 17th century.[/list]
      • Italy
        • Pietro Bembo, a champion of Petrarch and Boccaccio, wrote a treaty on the glories of the Italian language. This spurred a high literary quality for madrigals to come.

The Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and 16th century sacred music

  • The Protestant Reformation was an attempt to reform the Catholic Church that began in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses and ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. Martin Luther's issues with the church included indulgences, simony, confession, and the fact that the bible was not available in the vernacular.
    • Luther was a lover of music and felt that the congregation should participate in music, particularly by singing chorales (this idea was adopted in the Catholic Church after Vatican II).
      • Chorales were originally monophonic melodies with sacred texts, though by 1524 Johann Walter compiled the first book of chorale harmonizations in four and five voices. Protestants used chorales as cantus firmi and treated them much like Catholics treated chant. New melodies were used as well as old (contrafacta were common, where texts from secular tunes or plainchant were applied to existing melodies).
    • It was not long before rifts developed between Protestant ideologies. Ulrich Zwingli led the Reformation in Switzerland, claiming that music should not be allowed in the church and ordering the destruction of all organs. John Calvin felt that the congregation should only sing psalms and there should be no polyphony in the church. He also felt that there should be no music in the home except for chansons spirituelles, songs with moralistic or sacred texts. The breaks in ideas lead to the Council of Trent.
  • The Counter-Reformation was a period of Catholic revival between 1560 and 1648 in response to the Reformation.
    • The Council of Trent (1545-1563) was a series of discussions on the efficacy of the Catholic Church. Cardinals gathered to talk about many things, including the role of music in the Church (they needed convincing that it even had a place at all). Jacobus de Kerle was asked to compose music for the deliberations, and he wrote a set of prayers known as Preces speciales. Vincenzo Ruffo presented masses for the occasion. It was decided that polyphony was allowed in services as long as the text was easily understood (the cardinals listened to famous church music and checked it for intelligibility). Also, secular melodies were not allowed in chant. As a result, chant was sifted through, parts were revised, and the music was effectively butchered.
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian composer, known for his sacred choral music (especially masses), who established the rules in his compositions for what we now call modal counterpoint. His style was known as style antico (ancient style), and was based around the idea that music should be simple to sing. This led to a style with little chromaticism, much stepwise motion, a typically syllabic text setting, florid writing at cadences, smooth alternations between contrapuntal and chordal textures, limited rhythms, and imitation used in a convenient register for the singer, allowing for text to be more easily heard and understood. Dissonance is also prepared and resolved in a very specific manner.
  • So far I have mentioned the plenary mass, cyclic mass, motto mass, cantus firmus mass, and paraphrase mass, but there was also the imitation or parody mass. The parody mass became popular in the 16th century. It used a multiple voice fragment from a pre-existing piece of music, such as a chanson or motet, for its melodic material.
  • The emergence of the Anglican branch of Protestantism brought with it changes to music within the church. [Note that English became the language of services.] There were 2 styles of service writing: Great Service (contrapuntal and melismatic in style) and Short Service (chordal and syllabic in style). The anthem was an English invention that was the rough equivalent of the motet. It was originally used in Anglican church services, set to a religious text, although it slowly developed into a secular genre as a song of pride and celebration. The full anthem was a contrapuntal work for a whole chorus, while the verse anthem had alternations between solo voices and a chorus, plus an instrumental accompaniment of organ or viols, or both.
    • William Byrd (1543-1623) was the most famous composer of English church music during the Renaissance, probably thanks to a monopoly on music printing granted by the Queen that he shared with only Thomas Tallis. He was a Catholic during a time when it was dangerous to be one in England, but the Queen put up with it because his music was so good. His works were important to Protestants and Catholics alike.

16th century theorists and modality

  • Heinrich Glarean was a Swiss music theorist known for his Dodecachordon (published in 1547). The treatise contains numerous complete compositions by composers of the previous generation and traces the history of modality. He claimed that there were modes on C (ionian and hypoionian) and A (aeolian and hypoaeolian), in addition to the other modes on D, E, F, and G. This publication led to much writing of music in the newly defined modes. Locrian (a mode on B) would appear soon after.
  • Nicola Vicentino (1511-1572) was a composer and theorist who worked in the court of Ferrara (still a major court in the 16th century). He is probably best known for his work in microtonality. He felt that the whole tone should be divisible into 5 parts (instead of 2 half steps), and he wrote music with these divisions. He also had a keyboard built in order to play the pieces.
  • Carlo Gesualdo was a colorful composer who murdered his wife and practiced chromaticism through the juxtaposition of unrelated triads (we can only assume that one thing led to the other). He is often considered the most chromatic composer until the 20th century and is the foil to Palestrina.
  • The 16th century is known as the golden age of counterpoint. It is not until about 1600 that composers begin to think chordally with the development of figured bass.

Secular music

  • France
    • Parisian chansons, described previously, were published by Attaignant and cultivated by Claudin and Janequin.
    • The musiques mésurés of Claude le Jeune (also discussed before) was a short-lived movement that led to airs (see section on humanism).
  • Italy
    • Between the 1470s and 1530s the lauda (a non-liturgical devotional song) and the frottola (a song that used a variety of fixed forms with a light, playful text) flourished.
    • After the age of laudas and frottolas, the madrigal flourished. The madrigal was typically a polyphonic, through-composed vocal work with a text of high literary quality. The text was more important than the music and “madrigalism,” or text/word painting, was commonly used to emphasize the text. Madrigalism was accomplished by use of accidentals, texture, dissonance, etc... Unprepared dissonance first appears in madrigals. The high literary quality of the texts was a response to the writings of Bembo (see humanism). Sections of poems or plays were commonly borrowed and used in these compositions. Three of the most popular examples are Orlando furioso by Arrosto (epic poem whose story was also used as the basis of early opera plots), Il pastor fido by Guarini ("The Faithful Shepherd," a pastoral and tragic comedy), and Jerusalem Delivered by Tasso (poem that describes the imaginary battles between Christians and Muslims at the end of the First Crusade).
  • England
    • The anthem (desribed above) was like a motet that evolved into a song of celebration.
    • The lute song and airs (songs for solo voice and lute) were made popular by John Dowland (1563-1626), although professional lutenists go back at least to 15th century Ferrara with Pietrobono. Dowland published three books of ayres that challenged the popularity of madrigals. His 1597 book was the most circulated published music in Renaissance England.
    • The ballett was the English counterpart to the Italian balletto. It was light music known for its “fa la la” refrain and associated with the composer Thomas Morley.
    • The madrigal was brought to prominence in England through a publisher named Nicholas Yonge. In 1588 he published Musica transalpina, a collection of Italian madrigals fitted with English translations. The English madrigal was light-hearted and of a lower literary quality than of its Italian counterpart. Thomas Weelkes was considered the best composer of these strophic and often pastoral pieces.
  • Germany
    • Talk of German Renaissance music seems to mostly focus on the music of the Reformation. However, a vibrant meistersinger tradition permeated Germany throughout the Renaissance. Meistersingers were German poets and composers that succeeded the minnesingers and thrived between the 14th and 17th centuries. Their songs were called meisterlieder and their tradition was known as Meistergesang. They formed into guilds with strict composition rules and rituals laid out in the Tabulatur. One of the most famous meistersingers was Hans Sachs, who is depicted in Wagner's Der Meistersinger.

Instrumental music

  • The 16th century saw an explosion of instrumental music. Previously instrumental was largely improvisatory or simply followed a vocal line, but compositions written specifically for instruments became more common. Amateur performances were increasing (the importance of music as a social function outside of the church was also on the rise) and method books began to be published (Sylvestro Ganassi wrote the first recorder method in 1535 and the first viol method in 1542). Instrumentalists also played vocal music, often changing a melodies into tablature. New instruments developed, such as the gamba family. Sebastian Virdung and Michael Praetorius wrote important treatises that shed light on instruments and performance practices of the time.
    • Gambas were stringed instruments that were precursors to the modern string section (the violins, etc. eventually took over because they were louder). There were 3 sizes: treble, tenor, and bass. The instruments rested on or were placed between a performer's legs, they had 6 strings and frets, and the bow was held underhand.
    • There were also recorders (sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and garklein; it was inappropriate for women to play them because it looked like a phallic symbol), crumhorns (small range double reed instruments with mouthpieces that covered the reeds), rackets, shawms (precursors to the oboe), sachbuts (precursors to the trombone), and pandoras and citterns (plucked string instruments).
    • Instrumental ensembles were called consorts. A full consort contained instruments from the same family while a broken consort was a mixed ensemble.
      • In England a broken consort used 6 instruments: treble viol, bass viol, flute, lute, pandora, and cittern.
      • An alta was a professional 4 member consort consisting of 3 shawms and a sachbut, although only 2 shawms played at a time while the third one rested.
  • Instrumental genres
    • Lute songs/ayres/airs were explained earlier.
    • Differencia are Spanish sets of themes and variations (the theme and variation genre emerged in Spain during the 16th century). Browning my dear by William Byrd is an example of a consort variation.
    • A ricercar is music on a recurring theme used imitatively (these are the precursors to the fugue).
    • A fantasia is consort music in the style of an improvisation.
    • A canzona is similar to a chanson. It has strong themes that use a a half note, quarter note, quarter note motive. It contains several sections in contrasting styles.
  • Dance music was the most prominent instrumental music.
    • The most important dances were pavanes, goliards, and branles (pronounced “brawls”). [Although the English masque is not discussed here, it is an important source of dance music.] The pavane was a slow processional dance. The goliard was a dance for the males that often took a pavane and put it in triple meter. The branle is a dance performed by couples in a line or circle with side-to-side movements.

Important composers

15th century

  • John Dunstable
  • Guillaume Dufay/Gilles Binchois
  • Johannes Ockeghem/Antoine Busnois
  • Josquin des Prez/Pierre de la Rue
  • Hayne van Ghizeghem
  • Jacob Obrecht
  • Alexander Agricola
  • Heinrich Isaac

16th century

  • Antoine Brumel/Jean Mouton (canon)
  • Adrian Willaert
  • Orlande de Lassus
  • Claudin de Sermisy
  • Clément Janequin
  • Luca Marenzio
  • Claude le Jeune
  • John Downland, the original emo punk (see In darkness let me dwell)
  • Thomas Weelkes
  • Thomas Morley
  • John Wilbye
  • William Byrd
  • Carlo Gesualdo
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
  • Philippe Verdelot
  • Cipriano de Rore
  • Johannes Ghiselin
  • Claude Gervaise
  • Julio Segni da Modena
  • Thomas Tallis


  • Michael Praetorius

Postscript: The Rebirth of Early Music

Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940)

Dolmetsch was a French-born musician and instrument maker who led the first great revival of early music in England. He learned to build pianos from his father and organs from his grandfather, although he grew up as a violin player and studied with Vieuxtemps at the Brussels Conservatory. After falling in love with some 17th century British suites he began to wonder what the violin would have sounded like in Bach's day. Encouraged by Sir George Grove, he found period instruments and repaired them in order to recreate the sounds of the past. As a result he played music that no one had heard as originally intended for over 150 years. He began to put on period concerts with his family, even going so far as to dress in period clothing. In 1925 he founded the International Dolmetsch Early Music Festival, a chamber music festival held annually at Haslemere in Surry, England. Thanks to the efforts of Dolmetsch, the performance of pre-Bach music entered into the mainstream.

Noah Greenberg (1919-1966)

Greenberg was a New York church choir director who was self-taught in early music. In 1952 he founded (along with Bernard Krainis) a chamber ensemble that specialized in Medieval and Renaissance music called the Pro Musica Antiqua (later the New York Pro Musica). Thanks in large part to Dolmetsch and Greenberg, early music performances became a staple of the music scene in cultural centers throughout the world.