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Music of the Middle Ages

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Presentation on theme: "Music of the Middle Ages"— Presentation transcript:

1 Music of the Middle Ages
450AD - 1450AD Also called the Dark Ages Bridges the gap between: Roman Empire (Ancient Greece) & the Renaissance

2 Music of the Middle Ages
Pope Gregory I Founded the Schola Cantorum A school that taught the priests to sing chants Gregorian Chant (a type of *Plainsong) 6th Century-codified music of Christian worship services project the text clearly so that it could be understood by the people Possessed clarity and melodic beauty Free, unmeasured Monophonic melody Text in Latin A little bird whispered all the chants in Pope Gregory’s ear. Thus, all the music and how it is to be performed came from God. Listening: Alleluia Vidimus Stellam

3 Dies iræ! Dies illa Solvet sæclum in favilla: Teste David cum Sibylla!
Quantus tremor est futurus, Quando iudex est venturus, Cuncta stricte discussurus! Tuba mirum spargens sonum Per sepulchra regionum, Coget omnes ante thronum. Mors stupebit, et natura, Cum resurget creatura, Iudicanti responsura. Liber scriptus proferetur, In quo totum continetur, Unde mundus iudicetur. Iudex ergo cum sedebit, Quidquid latet, apparebit: Nil inultum remanebit. The day of wrath, that day Will dissolve the world in ashes As foretold by David and the sibyl! How much tremor there will be, when the judge will come, investigating everything strictly! The trumpet, scattering a wondrous sound through the sepulchres of the regions, will summon all before the throne. Death and nature will marvel, when the creature arises, to respond to the Judge. The written book will be brought forth, in which all is contained, from which the world shall be judged. When therefore the judge will sit, whatever hides will appear: nothing will remain unpunished. Dies Irae

4 Music of the Middle Ages
Plainsong and Monophonic style Monophonic – single line of melody Might be enriched by the use of drones Percussion used in secular music Rhythm was often not notated. We assume that it was tied to text in vocal music and to dance in instrumental music Listening: Kyrie Eleison Plainsong Melodies are often long and flowing Slow and Relaxed Use modal scales (as the ancient Greek did) Anonymous composer

5 Music of the Middle Ages
Charlemagne Charles the Great (Charles le Magne), Charles I Crowned Holy Roman Emperor 800AD Alignment with Roman Catholic Church Everything in the name of God Helped spread Christianity throughout Europe Even if he had to kill everyone to do it Spread of Christianity – Spread of Sacred Music Priest & Clergy were the: only educated people of the time only people who could read and write lived in monasteries, and in silence printed Bibles and celebrated Mass: Most Importantly a Reenactment of the Last Supper of Jesus Music was used to help celebrate Mass

6 Music of the Middle Ages
Guido d’Arezzo ( ) Worked at Schola Cantorum Taught Gregorian Chants to priests Frustrated with how long it takes to learn all the music Developed a system for teaching Singing & Reading Music “Ut queant laxis” (a hymn to John the Baptist) Was a hymn that everyone knew Had six stanzas Each stanza began on a pitch one step higher than the previous Used first syllable of each stanza to help priests remember what each note sound like

7 Music of the Middle Ages Guido d’Arezzo (990-1050) cont.
“Ut queant laxis” (a hymn to John the Baptist) cont. Listening: Ut queant laxis Invention of early *Solfege System Sound of Music – Do, a deer a female deer… Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol (So), La, Ti (Si), Do Listening: Flashmob Do, Re, Mi Guido’s System was called Solmization: Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, SI *(Sancte Io-annes)

8 Music of the Middle Ages
Guido d’Arezzo ( ) cont. Guidonian Hand Each Solfege syllable is assigned to a part of the hand Point-and-Sing Music Notation First systemized 4-line staff Marked “F” Line – Bass Cleff


10 Music of the Middle Ages
New Developments Organum Consists of Gregorian chant and one or more additional melodic lines First attempt at harmony and Polyphony The same melody transposed by a consonant interval, usually a perfect fifth or fourth, creating “Parallel” melodies – Parallel Organum Originally improvised, later written Cantus Firmus “Fixed Song” – the pre-existing melody (a Gregorian Chant) that forms the basis of a polyphonic song Typically put in the bottom voice May be slowed down while other voices were composed over it Different from Organum – not note against note, but one vs. few or many


12 Music of the Middle Ages
New Developments cont. Liturgical Dramas Stories told at the beginning of high Holy church days Christmas, Easter, etc. New Music, words, costumes and sets are used in the pageant All Liturgical Dramas are based on Bible Stories Morality Plays Play not based on a Bible story but a premise of Good vs. Evil All the characters are fictitious New music is used (Not based on a chant) Listening: Ordo Virtutum – “Play of the Virtues” A soul gets tempted by both the angels and the devil Music is used to represent both characters

13 Music of the Middle Ages
New Developments cont. Troubadours – France (1100) First poet/composers Traveled across Europe in the 12th & 13th century Unlike Sacred Music, instruments were used for accompaniment. Sing about love, wars & Heroes Music starts to adapt the rhythm from poetry and is no longer free flowing Notes start to have length Listening: Micrologus Estampie Instrument dance of the Middle Ages. Listening: Robin Hood and Maid Marian Listening: Sancte Sator Suggested Listening: Mediaeval Baebes

14 Music of the Middle Ages
Ars Antiqua Hildegard of Bingen ( ) A mystical nun who, among many other things, composed music for: Liturgical Dramas & Morality Plays (e.g. Play of the Virtues) University of Paris (1150) First university of the Middle Ages Organized program of study: liberal arts and languages Not Just the Bible Notre Dame Cathedral Construction begins in 1164 Completed 200 years later

15 Music of the Middle Ages
Ars Antiqua cont. Leonin ( ) Perotin ( ) Worked and taught at the Notre Dame School Taught Music Composition Experimented with chants and composed Polyphonic Organums Listening: Perotin – Alleluia Nativitas Adam de la Halle ( ) Most famous troubadour ever First Musical Theatre piece: Le Jeu de Robin et Marion (Listening) Invented Motet

16 Music of the Middle Ages
Ars Nova 1300 Ars Nova Notandi (1322) - a treatise on music by Philippe de Vitry of France Literary works became more about sensuality than virtue Secular music more important than sacred New system of Music Notation evolved Stems were added to the neumes, creating our modern system of notation Composers could specify rhythm pattern Syncopation appears Polyphony NOT based on chant There were so many changes and innovations in musical style that this era was named the time of “New Art”


18 Music of the Middle Ages
Guillaume de Machaut ( ) Single most important figure in French Ars Nova Worked as Court Musician and cleric for royal families A Poet & Musician The last great poet who was also a composer Wrote both Sacred and Secular music Created many of the musical forms of today: Rondos, Ballades, etc. First complete “Ordinary (Order) or Mass” After the completion of Notre Dame Cathedral, Guillaume de Machaut was commissioned to compose a Mass for its opening: Messe de Notre Dame (Mass of Our Lady)

19 Music of the Middle Ages Messe de Notre Dame (Mass of Our Lady)
First Polyphonic Mass Ordinary (Order) Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”) Gloria (“Glory to God in the highest”) Credo (“I believe in one God”) Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”) Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) Written for four voices Some parts performed/doubled on instruments Arguably the most complex and most significant musical work of the Middle Ages Sacred music became increasing complex as church began to use more polyphonic and instrumental music Listening: Excerpts from Messe de Notre Dame

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