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Caballero

Medieval/Renaissance chord progressions

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Hello everybody,

I am interested in composing music with a medieval/renaissance "feel", so I am looking for chord progressions that were popular at that time period.
I know about the "Folia", the "Passamezzo Antiqua" and the "Passamezzo Moderno". But are there more? I have searched for books and websites on this topic, but am unable to find any more than the three i mentioned.

So any help is more than welcome! :)

Regards,
Peter

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If you want to write in the renaissance style, the first thing you need to do is to lose your idea of what a "chord" is.
There were no chords in that era, just as "tonality" did not exist then. Nobody even called them notes (they were "neumes"). Everything was horizontally related, except for intervals, and it's important to study those relationships to write the music, and think in that way, not the modern way.

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Thanks for your reply, Monarcheon,

But what about "Folia", the "Passamezzo Antiqua" and the "Passamezzo Moderno"? They are chord progressions from the renaissance, aren't they?

And do you know about where I can find information about neumes and intervals from this period?

Regards,
Peter

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Medieval and renaissance are 2 separate eras of music. I think you might be specifically referring to wanting renaissance music if my guestimation is correct. Medieval was pretty much Gregorian Chant . Also your best bet is to study and analyze the sheet music of Renaissance composers which there is plenty of them on imslp. So if I were you I would google " renaissance composers" or "The Most Famous Renaissance Composers" Then YouTube their music and find pieces you like . Then search for those piece's sheet music on imslp.org which they have plenty of. Then follow along. Then print the sheet music out get a pencil and go through chord to chord and write them down and you will have the direct answer to your question from actual music from that era, rather than a general answer you'd get from other people. It's not really as simple as abc when it comes to specific progressions of that era. I'm also assuming you know enough about Music Theory to do that. I also say to do this yourself because you learn a lot better that way and get a better "Bag of Tricks" The Benefits are much better doing the work yourself, for yourself. Also if it feels like it's to much just start doing only a few measures at a time. Or listen to the music to listen for phrases and cadences and just analyze those 1 at a time. Also Instrumentation is half the battle here. Compose with renaissance instruments and you'll sound like that type of music already. I hope this helps.

P.S. This goes for any era of music or genre or style whatever you want. 

Edited by ShanealBullard

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Thanks for the reply Shaneal. Really appreciate it that you took the time to answer my question.
The more I search on the net for what I ask for, the more I get convinced that it is not that easy :)
Thanks again, I guess your answer is the way to go.

Regards,
Peter

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I think it is better to think of those schemas like "Folia" or "Bergamasca" and so forth more as formulas how to develop a bass and a fitting melody than as chord progressions, the notion of which was alien to Renaissance musicians. However, they can be analysed as chord progressions. That's how later theorists came up with the notion of chord progressions: By analysing older music.

But it would be equally foolish to assume Renaissance composers were not aware of the effect of different vertical consonances of three or four voices and how to combine them into longer musical expressions. We even have tables of harmonious four-voice counterpoint showing effectively chords.  And some very effective combinations of such consonances became useful formulas for improvising dances and other music.

To my mind come the "Romanesca" (closely related to parallelism), "Bergamasca", "Aria di Fiorenza" (somewhat similar to a "Romanesca"), "Ruggiero", of course the formulas @Caballero mentioned already. You'll find plenty of information in the Harvard Dictionary of Music, or, as @ShanealBullard wrote, by studying scores based on these formulas.

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