The Countdown of Bach Chorales continues. You probably have noticed that the final chord is major, instead of minor, in most of these songs. When that happens it is called a “Picardy Third” because the third note on the final chord is raised a half step.
150 years before Bach was even born, music known as Counterpoint was being written by a man named Orlando di Lasso. This song is called Illumina Oculos Meos, which translates to “Enlighten my eyes lest I sleep in Death.” It has just four lines of music, the only flat is B-Flat, and the only sharps are F#, C#,and G#. He manages to go through many different key changes using only those four accidentals.
Orlando di Lasso was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance. Along with Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina he is today considered to be the chief representative of the mature polyphonic style of the Netherlands school, and he was the most famous and influential musician in Europe at the end of the 16th century.
Compare that to this Bach Chorale:
I love Bach’s music, but I have to admit (or do I?) that I find Counterpoint to be much more interesting than a chorale. Maybe that is because Chorales were written so that just regular people could sing them in church. What’s that? I’m preaching to the choir, you say?
Orlando di Lasso was born in Mons in the province of Hainaut, in what is today Belgium. Information about his early years is minimal, although some uncorroborated stories have survived, the most famous of which is that he was kidnapped three times because of the singular beauty of his singing voice. At the age of 12 he left the Low Countries with Ferrante Gonzaga and went to Mantua, Sicily, and later Milan (from 1547 to 1549). While in Milan he made the acquaintance of the madrigalist Hoste da Reggio, an influence which was formative on his early musical style. According to the dates listed below, this song would be considered a Renaissance Music composition.
Musical Periods: The History of Classical Music
Medieval (1150 – 1400)
Renaissance (1400 – 1600)
Baroque (1600 – 1750)
Classical (1750 – 1820)
Romantic (1820 – 1900)
Here is a painting that is around the same age as this music (not scary at all….):
And here are some thoughts I thought worth sharing: – Did you know that before I became a vegetarian I was in “Burgers and Acquisitions?” – Do you like ambience? Take an ambien. – I am a guitar player, which means I often fret. – Even thugs sometimes need hugs.
– Nipples always come in pairs. You can’t have one without the udder.
Continuing along with our study of early 70’s music, here is one I’m sure you’ve heard before. This took a long time for me to transcribe into mp3 format because the sheet music was wrong in a few sections. It turned out to be a great learning experience because I was able to figure out what the wrong notes were, and changed them accordingly.
If you were around in the 1970’s you might remember that this song was played non-stop on the radio. Back in those days we had four ways to listen to music: A Turntable, an AM/FM Radio, an 8-track player, or a cassette player.
This song got lots of airplay back then. Like so many songs by Chicago, this one always uplifts me. Turn it up, real loud!
I’ve been making music all day long My back feels like I’m sitting wrong The song is mellow, it doesn’t rock And that’s because it was written by Bach
It’s actually several Chorales put together. How many, you ask? You will have to listen and find out.
A chorale is metrical hymn tune associated in common English usage with the Lutheran church in Germany. From early in the Reformation, chorales were to be sung by the congregation during the Protestant liturgy. Unison singing (everyone singing the same note) was the rule of the reformed churches, both in Germany and in other countries. Early polyphonic (multivoiced) versions may have been intended for a choir singing only the melody while the full version was played on the organ.