Monday, August 31, 2015


01. Back in the medieval times music was used as an accompaniment to religious activities.

02. During the time between the 9th and 15th centuries there was one recognized church in Europe
called the Roman Catholic Church.
In those days religion dominated the life of people.

03. Wars were fought over religion.

All the arts were affected by religion:




and most music.

04. Much of the music from this time period were simple, unadorned melodies sung in Latin called Gregorian Chant.
Gregorian Chant - Dies Irae
05. In the early part of the medieval era singing was mostly in unison; everyone singing the same melody.

06. Later composers from that era started to write music for more than one part; bottom part: a lower, slower Gregorian Chant sung by men and an upper part: a newer, higher, faster part added above the established chant.

07. Evidentually compositions of three or more parts were added making the harmony more varied.

08. A form of song popular at this time was called a 3-part motet.
Huic Main - Medieval Motet 
treble viols and tenor recorder

In the example heard in the film there was a voice part supported by an early woodwind instrument called a crumhorn


Salterello for Solo Crumhorn

and an ancestor to the modern organ called the portative organ.

Portative Organ from 11th-12th Century

09. Machaut
was a famous early composer of medieval music during the 14th century.

Medieval french song by Guillaume de Machaut 
(Dame mon cuer en vous remaint)

10. Much of the music written during this era was for the religious service (still in use today) called the Mass. 
Gloria-Messe de Notre Dame by Machaut
Ensemble Organum

Messe de Notre Dame
Guillaume de Machaut 

The music functioned as an accompaniment for various parts of the church service.

11. The Mass was divided into several sections called movements.

12. Besides religion (termed sacred music), the people of this time also enjoyed romance,


Conwy Castle Medieval Dance

and festivals. There was music for all of these and the term used to describe this type of music is called secular.

13. There were wandering musicians who travelled from place to place singing and playing songs of love and battle. These musicians were called troubadours.

Lilium Lyra  
Medieval Music 
by Troubadours and Trouvères

14. The medieval period, often called the middle ages, was a period of ridged division between two main social classes: rich and poor.

15. Other early instruments mentioned in the film are the vielle:

Medieval Fiddle (Vielle) Music

the ancestor to the violin, the recorder: related to the flute,Medieval Recorder

and the crumhorn: an early woodwind instrument.

16. In medieval Italy there was a type of composition which was favored called the caccia or chase. The music described the excitement of an animal hunt.

Giovanni da Firenze - Con Brachi Assai (Caccia)

17. A small medieval trombone used to accompany songs was called a sackbut. NJ Sackbut Ensemble

18. A nobleman

who could not perform on at least one instrument and could not either write poetry or sing was not considered very educated.

19. Singing and playing instruments after dinner was a favorite pastime.

20. The madrigal

was a famous music form used in the late middle ages. It was a song sung in different parts recreationally with one another.
April is in my Mistress' Face

21. Landini
was a famous 14th century blind organist and composer from Italy.

Ecco La Primavera - Francesco Landini

22. Life without music in medieval times would have been drab and colorless. Music wasa necessity in supporting religious activites. Songs and dances were an important part of noblemen and peasants alike. 1. Nobles were sheltered within fortified castles surrounded by moats.
2. Peasants - The vast majority of the population - lived miserably in one-room huts.
3. Monks in monasteries held a virtual monopoly on learning: most people - including the nobility - were illiterate.
4. Troubadours were wandering minstrels who performed music and acrobatics in castles, taverns, and town squares. They wrote the first large body of secular songs (during the 12th and 13th centuries) surviving in decipherable notation.

5. Gregorian Chants were the official music of the Roman Catholic Church for over 1000 years. They consist of a Latin texts sung without accompaniment.

History of Music: MiddleAge Period

One Hour of Early Middle Ages Music

The Middle Ages saw the emergence of great changes. The violent times of the Dark Ages had led to a primitive society lacking in elegance or refinement. The traditions of Western music can be traced back to the social and religious developments that took place in Europe during the Middle Ages, the years roughly spanning from about 500 to 1400 A.D. Because of the domination of the early Catholic Church during this period, sacred music was the most prevalent. Beginning with Gregorian Chant, sacred music slowly developed into a polyphonic music called organum performed at Notre Dame in Paris by the twelfth century. Secular music flourished, too, in the hands of the French trouvères and troubadours, until the period culminated with the sacred and secular compositions of the first true genius of Western music, Guillaume de Machaut (

Medieval Music Ultimate Grand Collection

Chant (or plainsong) is a monophonic sacred form which represents the earliest known music of the Christian church.

Chant developed separately in several European centres. Although the most important were Rome, Hispania, Gaul, Milan, and Ireland, there were others as well. These chants were all developed to support the regional liturgies used when celebrating the Mass there. Each area developed its own chants and rules for celebration. In Spain and Portugal, Mozarabic chant was used and shows the influence of North African music. The Mozarabic liturgy even survived through Muslim rule, though this was an isolated strand and this music was later suppressed in an attempt to enforce conformity on the entire liturgy. In Milan, Ambrosian chant, named after St. Ambrose, was the standard, while Beneventan chant developed around Benevento, another Italian liturgical center. Gallican chant was used in Gaul, and Celtic chant in Ireland and Great Britain.

Around 1011 AD, the Roman Catholic Church wanted to standardize the Mass and chant. At this time, Rome was the religious centre of western Europe, and Paris was the political centre. The standardization effort consisted mainly of combining these two (Roman and Gallican) regional liturgies. This body of chant became known as Gregorian Chant. By the 12th and 13th centuries, Gregorian chant had superseded all the other Western chant traditions, with the exception of the Ambrosian chant in Milan and the Mozarabic chant in a few specially designated Spanish chapels.

Instruments used to perform medieval music still exist, but in different forms. The flute was once made of wood rather than silver or other metal, and could be made as a side-blown or end-blown instrument. The recorder has more or less retained its past form. The gemshorn is similar to the recorder in having finger holes on its front, though it is actually a member of the ocarina family. One of the flute's predecessors, the pan flute, was popular in mediaeval times, and is possibly of Hellenic origin. This instrument's pipes were made of wood, and were graduated in length to produce different pitches.

Medieval music uses many plucked string instruments like the lute, mandore, gittern and psaltery. The dulcimers, similar in structure to the psaltery and zither, were originally plucked, but became struck in the 14th century after the arrival of the new technology that made metal strings possible.

The bowed lyra of the Byzantine Empire was the first recorded European bowed string instrument. The Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih of the 9th century (d. 911) cited the Byzantine lyra, in his lexicographical discussion of instruments as a bowed instrument equivalent to the Arab rabāb and typical instrument of the Byzantines along with the urghun (organ), shilyani (probably a type of harp or lyre) and the salandj (probably a bagpipe). The hurdy-gurdy was (and still is) a mechanical violin using a rosined wooden wheel attached to a crank to "bow" its strings. Instruments without sound boxes like the jaw harp were also popular in the time. Early versions of the organ, fiddle (or vielle), and trombone (called the sackbut) existed. (

Medieval Lives: The Minstrel