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Derived from sacred and secular traditions, Renaissance a Capella music expressed the true aesthetics of the era through its text settings. A Capella choral works allowed for transparent tone and independent lines grouped according to the structure of the text. As the evolution of instruments had progressed significantly by this time, there was a lack of specific instrumental music to perform, as none had yet been written. Consequently, many of the instrumentalists would play direct intabulations (transcriptions) of vocal pieces. The works that were transcribed tended to fit well with instrumental families such as brass and recorders. This research explores the use of working transcriptions to discover if any of the musical elements are lost as text is withdrawn from the music. Instrumental families, ranging from soprano to bass voices, found remarkable success in transcribing vocal works due to the similar ranges, homogenous texture and ability to execute advanced polyphony. In addition, composers often used a great deal of word painting to link the text with musical elements. This supports the argument that instrumental intabulations allowed for new opportunities to communicate artistic ideas without the use of text.
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