Exultate Deo, the choral masterpiece by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, is based on Biblical Psalm 81 and was written in 1584. Composed in Latin, the piece is generally performed a capella and features five voice parts: one soprano, two altos, one tenor and one base. Psalm 81 is comprised of joyful verses, urging rejoicing in God and praise. The happy nature of this music can be heard beginning with the very first notes, when the melody begins a run up the scale.
Supporting harmony from the lower voices also begin on an upward run, which paints the visual of sending praise up to God.
At the beginning, the voices are not all singing the same lyrics at the same time but instead seem….