Definition and background:
That era of music covering the 15th through 16th centuries (c. 1450-1600 C.E.), following the Medieval and preceding the Baroque era. The Renaissance saw the arrival of modes similar to modern major and minor scales, and of tonal harmony. Music of this era is characterized by its smoother, more charming melodies, rich, many- voiced, imitative harmonies, brilliant energy, and lively ornamentation. The instruments in use during this time included the lute, viol, harp and virginal, organ, recorder, oboe, and crumhorn. Major composers of the era include Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlande de Lassus, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Tom's Luis de Victoria, Thomas Weelkes, Thomas Morley, Giles Farnaby and others. "rebirth." the era from the mid-15th century to the end of the 16th century. The music was characterized by the use of freer forms, and a progression from modes toward major and minor scales, and harmony
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary