Into the Renaissance
The free flowing lines and rich and bright colors show the curvaceous and human beauty that the Renaissance people pursued. In the Middle Ages, the costumes covered by layers of people were eclipsed by the brilliance of humanism. In the history of music, the Renaissance was also an important turning point. The growing soil of this transitional period has both the charm of medieval music and the traces of Baroque music. The English pastoral was born at this stage.
The Renaissance first rose in various cities in Italy, and later gradually expanded to Western European countries, reaching its peak in the 16th century. In the sixteenth century, Italian music dominated the European historical stage. At that time, most of the musical genres, musical forms and expression techniques originated in Italy, and the emergence of the unique pastoral genre established its status as a music center. At the end of the sixteenth century, the pastoral songs rose in the British aristocracy.
During the Renaissance, in the history of the United Kingdom, it was called the “Elisabeth Era”. “Luxury” and “exquisiteness” were the best generalizations of this era. Aristocrats often enjoy themselves at home with two or three friends after dinner, and singing short and free pastoral songs is their greatest hobby. Therefore, the emergence of pastoral songs in the UK can be said to be the result of the aristocratic class’s demand for spiritual culture. At that time, most of the musicians served in the royal chapel, or served the nobility, had a high social status and income, and the nobility’s financial support for the musicians also provided a good environment for the growth of the pastoral. In addition, the British ushered in the “Shakespeare Times” in the history of literature during the Renaissance, and represented Shakespeare as the peak of literary and dramatic creation in British history. The high quality of poetry provides more possibilities for the creation of pastoral songs.
In 1588, Nicholas Yonge published Musica Transalpina, a collection of English-speaking Italian pastoral marks that marked the British acceptance of pastoral songs and promoted the arrival of the British pastoral boom.
Welcome to the “Golden Age”
In this short period of more than forty years, we can divide it into three stages: early, middle and late according to the creative techniques and forms of English pastoral music.
At the end of the sixteenth century, the Italian pastoral was introduced to the United Kingdom, and the composer created the translation of Italian poetry and the imitation of music. In the early days, Bird’s “Lullaby My Sweet Little Baby” and his student Molly’s “My Bonny Lass She Smileth” represented the whole. The exploration of new foreign genres. The music arrangement is rigorous and regular, and there is no gorgeous “outerwear” to decorate the poems excessively, with the shadow of the medieval church chorus music. The early English pastoral chords were dominated by chords, sometimes interspersed with some part of the voice to adjust the musical atmosphere, and the horizontal melody imitation contrasted sharply with the longitudinal harmonies.
The publication of the English Pastoral ushered in its first peak from 1597 to 1609, with Wilkes’s “Sing We At Pleasure” and Wilby’s “coming, Wonderful Night” (Draw) On Sweet Night). Compared with the early stage, the English pastoral pays more attention to the design and structure of music in the medium term. A set of songs or longer-length works usually use the first sentence of the song as the theme material, which runs through the whole song.
In the last twenty years of the English pastoral, the silver swan (The Silver Swan) and Thomas Tomkins’s “See, See the ShepherdsQueen” . After the seventeenth century, instrumental music gradually developed, so the application of instrumental thinking can be seen in the works of this period.
As the most representative musical feature of the Renaissance, polyphony emphasizes the confrontation and difference of various lines. The combination of the main polyphonic texture runs through the creation of the entire English pastoral. From the vertical point of view, harmony and rhythm are closely combined to form a column chord with main tone characteristics; from the horizontal direction, each part has its own melody line and contrasts with each other. Thus, the music and the voice are intertwined, forming a combination of the key features of the music and the polyphonic features of the voice. This combination of the main polyphony is not common in the early works of the English pastoral, but more is the formation of the main tone texture and the polyphonic texture between the music and the voice, rather than the formation of the main part of the music and voice. Tune the texture. In the last ten years of his work, the relationship between the main polyphony is more mature.
Decline and revival
From 1588 to around 1630, the prosperity of the English pastoral was only less than half a century. Although it experienced two peaks of pastoral publishing, the second publishing peak in the seventeenth century has been compared with the first time. Fall back. This sign indicates that the British pastoral has begun to show signs of recession in the 20th year or so, and after 1630, although the composers who created the pastoral songs are still alive, they have not published new works.
This can not help but make people wonder: Why did the British pastoral decline?
First of all, in the sixteenth century, European economic and trade developed, and because of the needs of the British aristocracy, Italian pastoral songs were introduced into Britain as “commodities”. But in 1603, after the death of Elizabeth I, James I came to power, when the British finances began to have problems, far less than before. Therefore, the commercialized English pastoral began with a lavish social environment and ended with a gradual economic problem.
Second, it is due to the importance of the soil of the English pastoral for its own. Once the soil changes, if it cannot adjust itself to the new environment in time, it is likely to face “death”. Elizabeth I, the ruler of the art development, provided political guarantees for the prosperity of the English pastoral, which became the basis for the development of the English pastoral. In the sixteenth century, the overall expansion and sharing of the characteristics of Europe provided convenience for the introduction of Italian pastoral songs. The British aristocracy enjoyed the extravagant environment and needed to find more ways to entertain and provide a “sales” for the English pastoral. Moreover, at the time of the Renaissance, a large number of English literary poetry was born, providing a development for the British pastoral. Help. Under the influence of various factors, the English pastoral has been able to take root and flourish.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, people’s interest gradually turned to the main tone of music, and the birth of the opera was even more impressive. The change of the atmosphere made the English pastoral no longer favored. In addition, there is no idyllic entertainment in the UK, as well as a comprehensive genre of lyrics (also known as Elqu), Consort and masquerade.
It is inevitable that things will decline, but if they are revived again, it is enough to prove its particularity and value. In 1741, the establishment of the British Pastoral Society marked the re-enactment of the English pastoral. The main purpose of the British Pastoral Association is to regularly organize pastoral concerts and theoretical research on pastoral songs, thus continuously pushing the English pastoral to the music stage. At the end of the 19th century, the English pastoral songs, as an ancient musical genre, gave a new vitality. The composers such as Britton and Holmes fully inspired the British pastoral and incorporated them into their own musical creations, including The creative techniques, musical styles, and melody forms of the “Golden Age” English pastoral are applied as creative elements. In the twentieth century, the restoration of historical sound became a kind of “retro hot”, and the popular “The Kings Singers” sang a large number of English pastoral songs.
Now, the English pastoral is well known and cannot be separated from the revival of the English pastoral after the eighteenth century. The role of the English pastoral itself has also changed constantly, from the initial small chorus used for rest and entertainment between nobles to the large number of applications in instrumental music today, reflecting its independence. It is an ancient voice, and it is a song for exquisiteness. No matter how many years it has passed, it can’t cover its embarrassment.