Principal liturgical forms which endured throughout the entire Renaissance period were masses and motets, with some other developments towards theend, especially as composers of sacred music began to adopt secular forms (such as the madrigal) for their own designs.
Common sacred genres were the mass, the motet,the madrigale spirituale, and the laude.
During the period, secular music had an increasing distribution, with a wide variety of forms, but one must be cautious aboutassuming an explosion in variety: since printing made music more widely available, much more has survived from this era than from the preceding Medieval era, andprobably a rich store of popular music of the late Middle Ages is irretrievably lost. Secular music included songs for one or many voices, forms such as the frottola,chanson and madrigal.
Secular vocal genres included the madrigal, the frottola, the caccia, the chanson in several forms (rondeau, virelai, bergerette, ballade, musiquemesurée), the canzonetta, the villancico, the villanella, the villotta, and the lute song. Mixed forms such as the motet-chanson and the secular motet also appeared.Purely instrumental music included consort music for recorder or viol and other instruments, and dances for various ensembles. Common genres were the toccata, the prelude,the ricercar, the canzona, and intabulation (intavolatura, intabulierung). Instrumental ensembles for dances might play a basse danse (or bassedanza), a pavane, agalliard, an allemande, or a courante.
Towards the end of the period, the early dramatic precursors of opera such as monody, the madrigal comedy, and the intermedio are seen.