When we explore Medieval music, we are
dealing with the longest and
most distant period of musical history. Saint Gregory is credited with
organizing the huge repertory of chant that developed during the first
centuries of the Christian church, hence the term Gregorian chant. He was
pope from 590 to 604, and the Medieval era continued into the 1400s,
so this period consists of almost a millennium's worth of music.
One of the principal difficulties in studying
Medieval music is that a system
for notating music developed only gradually. The first examples of musical
notation date from around 900. For several centuries, notation only
indicated what pitch (or note) to sing. The system for notating rhythm
started in the 12th or 13th century.
Gregorian chant is monophonic,
meaning music that consists of only one
melodic line without accompaniment. The beauty of chant lies in the
serene, undulating shapes of its melody. We do not know who wrote the
melodies of Gregorian chant. Like folk melodies, the music probably
mutated as it was passed down through generations and eventually
reached its notated form.
music where two or more melodic lines are heard
simultaneously, did not exist (or was not notated) until the 11th century.
Unlike chant, polyphony required the participation of a composer to
combine the melodic lines in a pleasing manner. Although most Medieval
polyphonic music is anonymous--the names of the composers were either
lost or never written down at all--there are composers whose work was
so important that their names were preserved along with their music.
-Doesnít change a lot.
-monophonic- all parts in unison
-no harmonic rhythm (speed of chord changes)
-No chord progressions
-small intervals between notes
-modal (follows modes)
-3 Types of Chant Music:
1. syllabic- each syllable gets its own note
2. neumatic- small groups of notes per syllable
3. melismatic-extended group of notes per syllable
-Melisma- different end melody. (Amen)
-Through Composed (No theme or motive)
-Pope Gregory- Gregorian Chants
-Boethius- Important Theorist
-Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)
-Perotin (c. 1155-1377)
-Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1377)
-John Dunstable (c. 1385-1453)
-Guillaume Dufay (c. 1400-1474)
-rhythm comes from text
-sung slow because of echoes in big churches
-sung for God. They sung slow so God could hear them. They didnít want to make God mad.
-This is the closest they had to meters. All in groups of three
-Ars. Antiqua- This is Latin for Old Art. This period is sometimes called Ars. Antiqua.
-Gregorian Chants were the main thing.
-Neumatic Notation- Different noatation system. They called their notes, neums. This was their type of writing music.
It developed throughout this whole period.
-No titles to any pieces.