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The Emotional Power of MusicMultidisciplinary perspectives on musical arousal, expression, and social control$
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Tom Cochrane, Bernardino Fantini, and Klaus R. Scherer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654888

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654888.001.0001

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The ethos of modes during the Renaissance i

The ethos of modes during the Renaissance i

Chapter:
(p.102) (p.103) Chapter 8The ethos of modes during the Renaissancei
Source:
The Emotional Power of Music
Author(s):

Claude Victor Palisca

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654888.003.0008

In this chapter, the author explores the difficulties involved in reconstructing how musicians in the past have understood the expressive qualities of music, focusing in particular on writings from the Renaissance period. Musicians at this time were working within a tradition stretching back through medieval times to Ancient Greece, in which different modes were accorded specific emotional characteristics. The systems employed here extended not just to the scales employed, but also to other musical variables such as rhythm, melodic contour, and vocal range. The author shows that while musicians of this period mostly affirmed the basic theoretical commitment to the ethos of modes, it was clear that the ancient authorities could not provide unambiguous guidance for composers. At the same time, the rise of polyphonic music was providing another pressure on the requirements for musical expression, which ultimately undermined the authority of the ethos of modes.

Keywords:   Music, emotion, Ancient Greece, Renaissance, ethos, modes, polyphony

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