Modal Counterpoint in Three Voices
On the following pages are two pieces, one each by Lassus and Palestrina. Later in the chapter we will study a third piece, one by Victoria. The first two use the mass text Be-ne-díc-tus qui vé-nit in nó-mi-ne Dó-mi-ni (“Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”). These words occur at a particularly solemn moment in the Mass, where the words of consecration are pronounced over the bread and wine. Traditionally, the music for this text is given a hushed quality, and it was common during the Renaissance to use fewer voices at this moment. Thus, a mass for four or five voices will call for only three for the Benedictus, and a mass for six voices will call for only four.