The sacred music of the Renaissance was a natural outgrowth of plainsong.
The simple two-line polyphony of the late Middle Ages was expanded to use
up to four different vocal parts of equal importance. This new vocal
form was the motet. Contrary to the Middle Ages ideal, the music
was more important than the words. Josquin des Prez and Giovanni
Palestrina were the most famous Renaissance composers of motets.
Music began to be very ornamented
at this time. Mass settings and motets had become more and more ambitious
and eleaborate as time wore on. More voices were used and movements
became longer and cleverer. Composers were more interested in showing
off than with putting forward any significant religious message.
Church leaders began to worry that people could not understand the important
lyrics and at the Council of Trent, ordered that sacred music be used to
underline the text. This marked the beginning of chordally structured
Gloria by Tomas Luis de Victoria