The Renaissance (original Italian: “Rinascimento”, from rinascere “to be reborn”) was a cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the 14th to the 17th centuries, beginning in Italy and then spreading to the rest of Europe.
In so far as music is concerned, the consensus among music historians has been to start the era around 1400 (at the end of the Medieval era), and to close it around 1600 (at the beginning of the Baroque period). During this period, the cello did not yet exist in the form that we now know it. The viola da gamba occupied the role of bass/tenor voice that the cello would gradually come to occupy in the Baroque and Classical periods. For this reason, the instrumental music presented here for cello was all written originally for gamba, voice or other instruments.
Here is a timeline for some composers of the Renaissance period, with the dates of Shakespeare and Cervantes to compare with them. The highlighted composers have music transcribed in the cellofun library. Click on the links to access those scores.