"If Ye Love Me"-Thomas Tallis


    For the first listening assignment, the piece that was chosen is by Thomas Tallis. Tallis was born into Roman Catholic tradition during the first decade of the 16th century. He was an English composer that acted as an organist and a singer in the Dover Priory. Thomas Tallis’ early work focused mostly on church modes. He created many pieces that would accompany church festivals or other special occasions. While creating his pieces, Tallis’ thought it was important to include all music. He thought it was relevant to create many genres of music such as, Latin motets, keyboard music, and secular part songs. These diverse creations further exhibit his perfectionism. Thomas Tallis enjoyed turning good music, into great, meaningful music. His perfectionist techniques consequently granted Tallis the reward and privilege of printing his music onto lined paper. Because he is one of the first composers to write an English-texted anthem, the works of “Dorian” and “If ye love me” was shown to the public and Thomas Tallis began to make history.

    The piece that is introduced is, “If ye love me,” and it is considered an anthem that resembles a Latin motet.  Starting off, the voices are very quiet and solemn, but as the song progresses, the voices get louder. When listening to this piece, a group of men and woman are heard. This further leads to the explanation of why, “If ye love me” is polyphonic. It is polyphonic because when listening to the piece, you can hear four different voices. Some are men, and some are women. Women were allowed to perform/sing the piece, but weren’t allowed to compose it. Throughout the piece, repetition is heard. For example, the same melodies are sung, and the same pitches are used when singing that specific part. The imitative part is when each note is passed on from voice to voice. For example, once the guys start singing, the women somewhat finish the melody. When understanding the rhythmic patterns, the reader/listener can begin to notice word painting. For example, when looking at the musical piece, the word    “Com-for-ter” is played with a soothing, and definite pitch. The vocal voices become lower and softer. This kind of consistency allows for a somewhat comforting feeling to the listener. This piece could be considered mostly syllabic because there are more than two notes per syllable. Due to this specific characteristic, the sensual piece flows nicely. Although Thomas Tallis lived a somewhat mysterious life, his piece, “If ye love me” is a significant part to the Renaissance period.

    Overall, “If ye love me” is a beautiful motet. Thomas Tallis took his time when composing his work and it is shown throughout. He used his diverse techniques and incorporated a lot of stylistics into his pieces. All this dedication shows the listener that he enjoyed what composing music for others to hear. Thomas Tallis was an expressive writer. He wants his listeners to understand the meaning and background to his music. When listening to this piece, it allows an individual to become relaxed. The rhythm of “If ye love me” could allow anybody to become relaxed or more at ease. The rhythm was the best part of this piece because of the mood it puts the listener in. The rhythm puts an individual in a mood of optimism and hope. Also, due to the polyphonic singing group of men and women, it shows the listener that women had an important role in the Renaissance period, too. Overall, this piece was impressive..

    In short, Thomas Tallis was a man of great work. He was an English composer that acted as an organist and a singer. He enjoyed composing music, but also teaching others the stylistics of music. His well-known piece “If ye love me” further portrays his stylistic interests and also shows the public what the Renaissance period was all about.