The Gloria from the Masse de Nostre Dame by Gulliaume De Machaut, 1360 AD and Agnus Dei from the MIssa Papae Marcelli by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 1557 AD are two highly famous mass of the people songs of respective times. Both the mass songs are declared masterpieces of their time. Distant by nearly two centuries, the two songs, are equally charismatic in their genre and composition. The devotion of lyricists is a self-exhibit of love for Jesus Christ. A true appreciation of his sacrifice and begging forgiveness of sins by the masses (Ferris & Worster, 2013, P, 86-87-102).
The song Gloria from Masse de Nostre Dame is of medieval mass movement, mass for Pope Marcellus. It comprises of five movements, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei and is followed by a dismissal late. In accordance with typical polyphonic Gloria settings, the first line is sung by a single voice in a singing mode. Four voices sing this song, creating harmonies especially at cadences. The hollow sounds striking the eardrums are due to prevalence of intervals of fourths and fifths between voices. The song primarily has syllabic setting in which each syllable of text matches to a single note. Generically a rock based song; it uses trombones and other wind instruments in Melisma, especially after major beats or cadences. Despite the use of trombones and wind instruments in the rock-based song is unmistaken upon singing the text Jesus Christ, where doubling with trombones is omitted. The closing note of the song uses Hocket effect creating a joyful and dance like rhythm (Ferris & Worster, 2013, P.86-87).
Agnus Dei from Missa Papae Marcelli by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is of renaissance mass movement genre. The musical ensemble of singers is divided into six sections, Soprano, Alto, tenor I & II and Bass I & II. The song is sung with such delicacy that each text is easily heard and comprehended. Each of the voices sings the melodies distinctively yet in rhythm independently. The song focuses upon the Lamb of God, in the spirit of sacrifice. Since the inception, Christian church memorializes the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ and penitence in the Eucharistic celebration of the mass. The ritual gives a rebirth to the sacred moment of communion between God and the creation. The phrase Lamb of God is widely in use, in Christian prayers and forms a standard part of Catholic mass assemblies and as a contemplating prayer; it is used in Liturgy. The lyrics of the song are inspired from Gospel of John, since they do not appear anywhere else. Agnus Dei is not based on Gregorian chant in essence, yet it brings out long melismatic motion of voices, when single syllables of text are sung in succession with movement between different notes. In early times, these were used as a hypnotic trance and mystical rites (Ferris & Worster, 2013, P.102).
The two songs have much in common like the original subject, the love of Jesus and realization of supreme sacrifice for humanity. Despite these similarities, the two songs differ with each other slightly in a few ways. The Gloria is primarily syllabic, sung by four voices and is a hard rock based song using trombones and wind instruments. The Agnus Dei, on the other hand, is melismatic, sung by six voices and is soft hearing melody in contrast with Gloria (Ferris & Worster, 2013, P.86).
Ferris, J. & Worster, L. (2013). Music: the art of listening. 9th ed. Mcgraw-Hill Higher Education.