As he learned the style from his Venetian uncle Andrea Gabrieli and from Orlando di Lasso , his teacher in Munich, the music tends to proceed in polychoral echoes; two or more choirs reiterate similar material in powerful, blocklike alternations. With his publication the Sacrae Symphoniae, however, Giovanni seems to be moving in a different direction, one less involved in slavish devotion to repeated motives, but more involved in musical dialogue between the choirs. This dialogue is evidenced even in his simpler compositions, such as the relatively modest Sonata "Pian e forte" from the Sacrae Symphoniae collection. Though its forces only eight voices , length, and melodic development remain fairly circumspect, both his use of specified instrumentation perhaps for the first time in history and his pioneering use of dynamic markings show an overall concern for interaction between the choirs. Gabrieli was not, as once thought, the inventor of instrumental dynamics in this piece.
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String Choir Innovations First of all, Gabrieli preferred sacred vocal and certainly instrumental music. Hence, he concentrated on music that consequently took advantage of resonance and likewise reverberation for maximum effect. Consequently, he was also a pioneer in spatial techniques. He therefore developed and used very specific notation to indicate instrumentation. Gabrieli experimented with assembling massive instrumental forces into isolated groups separated by space.
In this way, he consequently contributed heavily to the Baroque Concertato style. Polychoral Works Gabrieli probably used the layout of the San Marco church for his experiments. This is because he worked there as a musician and composer.
Furthermore, the church had two choir lofts facing each other. He certainly used these to create striking spatial effects between instrumental forces. Sometimes there was probably a third group positioned near the main altar as well. Spatial Music Above all, Gabrieli studied carefully detailed groups of instruments and singers. Furthermore, it seems like he created precise directions for instrumentation in rather more than two groups.
The instruments, because they could be appropriately situated, could consequently be heard with perfect clearness at distant locations. As a result, arrangements which seem bizarre on paper, can in contrast sound perfectly in-balance. Consequently, here we see low and high choirs with the variance between their ranges indicated by instrumental accompaniment.
In contrast, he moves towards not simply echoing the material, but developing it by sequential choral entrances. Even more, he takes this procedure to the extreme in the Motet Omnes Gentes.
Unlike earlier works, here the instruments are certainly an essential part of the presentation. Also, only parts marked: Capella are supposed to be sung. Homophony Hence, after , Gabrieli moves to a much more homophonic style.
Sonata Pian'e Forte
Giovanni Gabrieli - Sonata Pian E Forte
Sacrae Symphoniae: No. 6: Sonata pian e forte for 8 parts, C. 175