The Cambridge Introductions to Music have quickly established themselves as a bridge for undergraduates seeking a deeper dive into essential topics. This is the eighth of nine titles on their website, and of the three I have read (the others being Gregorian Chant by David Hiley and The Sonata by Thomas Thomas Schmidt-Beste) I find the format superb: well targeted, generously detailed and unapologetically demanding. As the collection grows, I hope it will also carve out a niche with music-literate audiences. In this latest addition, Renaissance Polyphony, Fabrice Fitch offers a tightly focused overview with only occasional diversions into other forms of Renaissance music and ‘new cultural history.’ [...] The result is the sort of book we all really needed when we were undergraduates, a genuinely interesting but calm ordering of essential topics that will spark interest in Renaissance Polyphony at each turn. In fact, Renaissance music studies is now a richly represented field and Fitch’s powerful short volume will offer something unique alongside the Cambridge histories of fifteenth and sixteenth century music as well as Richard Freedman’s Music in the Renaissance (Norton’s Western Music in Context series) to name a few.
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