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Music and Dance

History >> Renaissance for Kids

During the Renaissance one of the main forms of entertainment was music and dance. Music became a part of everyday life as people began to play music and sing for enjoyment. They experimented with new types of instruments and combinations of voices. Music was both an art form and a form of entertainment.

Female Musicians
from the Master of the Female Half-Lengths


Some of the great music of the Renaissance was sung in churches in large choirs. One new style of music was to interweave several different vocal melodies at the same time. This type of music was called polyphony and became popular in choirs.


Another popular form of vocal music was the madrigal. The madrigal usually had between three and six singers, but could have more. The madrigal also had several melodies that were sung at the same time by different voices. The songs were often romantic poems and sung with emotion.


A number of new and improved instruments were developed during the Renaissance. Perhaps the most famous is the violin which was first made in Italy in the 1500s. Other popular instruments included horns such as the early trumpet and the cornett, stringed instruments such as the lyre and the hurdy gurdy, and woodwind instruments such as the bagpipe and the recorder.

There are many famous composers from the Renaissance. They were able to use the printing press for their music allowing an even wider audience. Some of the most famous composers include William Byrd, Josquin Des Prez, and Thomas Tallis. The first dramatic opera was written by Claudio Monteverdi in 1607.


There were two main types of dances during the Renaissance: court dances and country dances. Court dances were formal dances performed by trained dancers. Country dances were dances where anyone could participate. Each dance had specific steps and movements.

Here are few examples of Renaissance dance steps: Interesting Facts about Renaissance Music and Dance

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    How did the Renaissance start?
    Medici Family
    Italian City-states
    Age of Exploration
    Elizabethan Era
    Ottoman Empire
    Northern Renaissance
    Daily Life
    Renaissance Art
    Clothing and Fashion
    Music and Dance
    Science and Inventions
    Famous Renaissance People
    Christopher Columbus
    Johannes Gutenberg
    Henry VIII
    Queen Elizabeth I
    William Shakespeare
    Leonardo da Vinci

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