Medieval Music Medieval music was an integral part of everyday life for the people of that time period

. Music of the Middle Ages was especially popular during times of celebration and festivities. Music was often played during holidays and special parties. During weddings and birthdays, the music was especially uplifting. For weddings and on Valentine's Day, lovers' music was played that was sure to evoke a romantic atmosphere. This type of music was called "chivaree." The musicians would play buoyant and cheery music with crescendos. Many a different Medieval music instrument was played, including, recorders, horns, trumpets, whistles, bells, and drums. On Mayday, dancers would dance to specially-prepared, high-pitched music. It was believed that by doing so, the hibernating spirits would be awakened and forewarned that spring had arrived. During Christmas, the sound of bells brought the good news of Jesus' birth to the listeners. People during the Middle Ages also ate to the sound of traditional music during and between meal courses. They would also, at times play from a specially-built platform or stage at the end of the Great Hall. It was believed in those days that medieval music was not only delightful to the ears, but it also helped in the digestion of food, hence the reason for music at mealtimes. The music of Medieval times was very important to the listeners of that era, whether it be for special celebrations, holidays, or for something as simple as eating a meal. EARLY MEDIEVAL PERIOD In the Middle Ages most professional musicians were employed by the Christian church. Because the church was opposed to the paganism associated with ancient Greece and Rome, it did not encourage performances of Greek and Roman music. Consequently, this music died out. Little is known of the unaccompanied chant that was used in services of the early Christian church. Christian chant appears, however, to have been drawn from the ritual music of the Jewish synagogue and from secular tunes of the time. The chant melodies that developed in Rome were inventoried and assigned specific places in church ceremonies during the period from the 5th to the 7th century. Roman chant became known as Gregorian chant after Pope Gregory I, the Great, who may have composed some of the melodies and who actively encouraged an orderly, ritualized use of music by the church. Because Gregory and later popes preferred Gregorian chant to the varieties that had developed elsewhere in Europe, Gregorian chant eventually superseded most of the others. Gregorian and other chant styles are preserved in many manuscripts. The musical signs used in these manuscripts, called neumes, are the earliest roots of modern musical notation. By at least as early as the 9th century many musicians began to feel the need for a more elaborate music than unaccompanied melody. They began to add an extra voice part to be sung simultaneously with sections of the chant. The musical style that resulted is called organum. In early organum the added voice part simply paralleled the chant melody but was sung a fourth or fifth above it. Later the extra part became an independent countermelody. Organum was important in the history of music, because it was the first step toward the development of the musical texture known as polyphony (multipart music), the extensive use of which is the most distinctive feature of Western music. Around the end of the 12th century, organum was being written in three and four voice parts, forming long works that could fill the vast spaces of Gothic cathedrals with large quantities of sound. The principal centers in the development of organum were in France, at the Abbey of Saint Martial in Limoges and at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. An English version of organum, called gymel, had also developed by this period. In order for musicians to be able to read and perform several different voice parts simultaneously, a precise system of musical notation had to be developed. The notation of pitch had been solved by the use of a musical staff of four, five, or more lines, with each line or space representing a specific pitch, as in present-day notation. The perfection of this system is attributed to the 11th-century Italian Benedictine monk Guido d¶Arezzo. Time values proved to be more difficult to notate. The solution that evolved in the 11th and 12th centuries was based on a group of short rhythmic patterns called rhythmic modes. The same pattern, or mode, was repeated over and over until the composer indicated by a sign in the notation that another rhythmic mode was to supersede it. In music using this ³modal notation,´ a variety of rhythmic movement was achieved by employing different modes simultaneously in different voice parts and by changing modes during the course of a composition. By the late 13th century modal notation had been abandoned, and the beginnings of the modern system of long and short note values had come into use. Organum was a sophisticated musical development that was encouraged and appreciated primarily by the educated clerics in the Christian church. A secular musical tradition, simpler in makeup, existed outside the church. This was the monophonic music of itinerant musicians, the jongleurs and their successors, the troubadours and trouvères of France and the minnesingers of Germany.

He was one of the catalysts who helped Medieval music to move forward and transition into the Renaissance age. He began to explore the music of four voice vocal texture. introduced new rhythmic schemes and a new mensural notation system. This was in opposition to the typical music of the late Medieval era. but one name stands out when we think of composers of this time. His most well known work is the Mass of Notre Dame." Dufay. believed to be the one who introduced four-part polyphony. two inventions were made that would greatly help choirs to sing in harmony and to sight-sing. this piece showed his mastery of composition. His works influenced other composers including Guillaume Dufay and Gilles Binchois. Learn a little bit more about Perotin. a single rhythmic figure continually repeated by a voice. Guillame de Machaut is considered to be an avant garde composer. He was the author of a prominent music theory text. Aside from being a composer. Additionally. or viele. . His style dominated the Ars Nova period of the Medieval Era. songs. he is credited with being one of the main developers of the motet. King of Bohemia. he was also an astronomer and mathematician. He wrote his secular pieces in Latin. MEDIEVAL COMPOSERS Gilles Binchois Composer who was also a soldier. Written in four voice form. Percussion instruments included small drums and small bells. Guido de Arezzo During the Medieval period. which was often harsh and rhythmically complex. soothing. he showed how he would like to expand the rhythmic resources offered to composers. Guillaume de Machaut Composer who was also the secretary of John of Luxemburg. Phillipe (1291-1361) Phillipe de Vitry was one of the most important composers involved with Medieval music. and served as a textbook example of Medieval counterpoint. In this work. Leonel Power Composer who was one of the major figures in English music. de Vitry. He is one of the first composers to discover and use isorhythm. Moniot d'Arras Composer who also served in the Abbey of Northern France as a monk. John Dunstable One of the leading English composers of his time. He made little changes to rhythm and meter in his music but added his own interpretation and emotional depth to his pieces. called the Ars Nova. Hildegard von Bingen wrote what is considered the earliest known musical drama in history entitled "The Ritual of the Virtues. which became a distinct Renaissance musical characteristic.Both sacred and secular music used a wide variety of instruments. Guillaume (1400-1474) Guillaume Dufay composed music from the late Medieval era into the early Renaissance. and manuscripts prepared for French royalty. Keyboard instruments included the organ. Hildegard von Bingen Her name remains prominent on the list of Medieval composers. He was also well known for his French poetry. instead of French. Perotinus Magister It is quite difficult to find information about composers who lived during the Medieval Period. He made the first use of binary rhythm and is thus considered to be a mathematical and philosophical genius of his time period. and had direction and clear distinctions. believed to have been employed by the Earl of Suffolk during the English occupation of France. The music of Dufay was very calm. These inventions were created by a monk and choirmaster named Guido de Arezzo. including such string devices as the lyre and psaltery and the medieval fiddle.