Vocal music for small ensembles

Types of small vocal ensemble include madrigal group and chamber choir.

Madrigals

The madrigal was a popular vocal form during the Renaissance period.

Madrigals:

  • are usually for four to six unaccompanied solo voices
  • are short, secular (not sacred) pieces
  • make much use of imitation
  • use word-painting where the meaning of the words is reflected in the music
  • often use melisma where several notes are sung to the same syllable

Sing we at Pleasure

An example of a madrigal is Sing we at Pleasure by the English madrigalist Thomas Weelkes. It uses independent parts for five voices and the imitation.