A meticulous and informed examination of the compositional style of the greatest Renaissance creator of liturgical music. Author Knud Jeppesen explores the elements and disciplines that constitute Palestrina's personal style including his handling of rhythm, line and harmony. The beginning chapters discuss the standard use of rhythm and harmony in Palestrina's time, setting the context of the work, identifying common and uncommon practices.
At the heart of the book is a painstaking examination of Palestrina's use of dissonance and his contrapuntal technique, which forged new harmonic devices that were unorthodox for his time, but proved vital to the development of the western harmonic systems of later years. In addition, Jeppesen includes a complete history of the evolving concept of dissonance before Palestrina, including quotations from some of the earliest theoretical works.