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The Middle Ages


Title: The Middle Ages Author: gretchen Last modified by: SysAdmin Created Date: 6/15/2011 7:52:30 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages
  • c. 476-1450

Key Points in History
  • Fall of the Roman Empire (476 C.E.)
  • Charlemange crowned first Holy Roman Emperor
  • Kublai Khan (1214-1294), emperor of China
  • Last Crusade to the Holy Land (1270)
  • Marco Polo to China (1271)
  • Dante wrote the Divine Comedy (1307)
  • Black Death begins (1347)

Key Points in History
  • Geoffrey Chaucer gave us the Canterbury Tales
  • Joan of Arc is executed (1431)

Culture in the Middle Ages
  • Early Christian Church and the state were centers
    of power.
  • Much of the surviving music from this Era is
    religious because of the patronage of the church.
  • The later Middle Ages saw the rise of cities,
    cathedrals, and great works of both art and
  • The ideals of knighthood and the devotion to the
    Virgin Mary helped raise the status of women.

Liturgical Music
  • The early music of the Christian Church was
    shaped in part by Greek, Hebrew, and Syrian
  • Eventually it became necessary to assemble the
    ever-growing body of music into an organized
  • The task took several generations, although
    tradition credits Pope Gregory the Great with
    codifying these melodies, known today as
    Gregorian Chant.

Liturgical Music-Chant
  • More than 3,000 melodies have survived, most of
    which are anonymous.
  • Its freely flowing vocal line follows the
    inflections of the Latin text and is generally
    free from regular accent.
  • It avoids wide leaps, allowing its gentle
    contours to create a kind of musical speech.
  • Its free from regular phrase structure and
    maintains a continuous, smooth vocal line.

Liturgical Music-Chant
  • Chant is classified by the way the notes are set
    to the text
  • Syllabic- one note per syllable of text.
  • Neumatic-2-3 notes sung to a syllable of text.
  • Melismatic- many notes per syllable of text.

Liturgical Music-Chant
  • Early chants were passed down orally.
  • Early chant notation used neumes.
  • These neumes suggested the contours of the melody
    but not the rhythm.
  • The various scale patterns used are called the
    church modes.

The Mass
  • Services in the Roman Catholic Church can be
    divided into two categories the daily offices,
    and the Mass.
  • The prayers that make up the Mass fall into two
  • Proper-text changes according to the day.
  • Ordinary-texts are the same for every Mass.

The Mass Kyrie
  • The Kyrie is the first item of the Ordinary.
  • The text is a Greek prayer for mercy in a
    three-part (ternary) form, consisting of nine
    invocations to God.
  • Three of Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy).
  • Three of Christe eleison (Christ, have mercy).
  • Three of Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy).

The MassKyrie
  • The melody has three different musical phrases (A
    B C) sung to the repeated text as follows
  • The structure of the text and music is symbolic
    the number three evokes the Trinity- the Father,
    the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is performed as
    a responsorial.
  • This is the only part of the Mass sung in Greek
    (Pope Gregory), the rest is in Latin.

Medieval Cloister
  • Cloister is a place for religious seclusion.
  • Cloisters were places of prayer, scholarship,
    preaching, charity and healing.
  • Cloisters allowed people to withdraw from a
    secular society.
  • There were monasteries for men.
  • Convents for women.

Hildegard of Bingen 1098-1179
  • 1150 founded convent in Rupertsberg, Germany.
  • Known for miracles and prophecies.
  • Recorded three collections of visions and
    prophecies in manuscript.
  • Composed religious poetry with music.

Hildegard of Bingen
  • Characteristics of Hildegards poetry
  • Brilliant imagery
  • Visionary language
  • She composed and collected in a volume Symphony
    of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations, for the
    liturgical church year.

Hildegard of Bingen
  • The Play of Virtues (Ordo virtutum) was
    Hildegards best known morality play.
  • A Morality play is a drama meant to teach virtues.

The Rise of Polyphony
  • Early polyphony emerged at the Cathedral of Notre
    Dame in Paris.
  • Polyphony evolved toward the end of the
    Romanesque period (c. 850-1150).
  • Leonin was the earliest known composer of the
    Notre Dame School.
  • Perotin was Leonins successor, added two and
    three melodies to chant.

The Rise of Polyphony
  • Polyphony necessitated the use of notated rhythm
    and pitch.
  • Rhythm was chosen from a group of patterns called
    rhythmic modes.

The Rise of Polyphony-Organum
  • Earliest polyphonic music.
  • Second melody added above or below the older
    Gregorian melody.
  • The second melody is added at an interval of a
    4th or a 5th above or below pre-existing melody.
  • The melodies would move in parallel, oblique, or
    contrary motion.
  • Oblique motion occurs when one part is stationary
    (drone) while the other part moves.

The Early Medieval Motet
  • A new genre emerged near the end of the
    thirteenth century (motet).
  • Composers wrote texts to the second melody in
  • Many three-voice motets have different texts
  • Sometimes the languages were mixed in one piece.
    Most commonly French and Latin.

The Early Medieval Motet
  • Motets can either be Sacred or Secular.
  • Motets can have an instrumental accompaniment.
  • A Gregorian chant is often the basis for a motet.
  • The other voices are composed around the chant.
  • Composers built the motet from the bottom voice
    (tenor), up. The tenor held the pre-existing tune.

Transition into Secular Music
  • Secular music grew in a separate tradition from
    sacred polyphony.
  • The earliest secular songs that have been
    preserved were set to Latin texts, which suggests
    that they originated in university towns rather
    than in small villages.
  • Secular song texts focused on idealized love and
    the values of chivalry (code of behavior).
  • The religious wars (crusades) and medieval
    explorations enabled the exchange of musical
    instruments as well as theoretical ideas about
    music with Middle Eastern and Far Eastern

Medieval Minstrels
  • Different classes of secular musicians emerged.
  • Wandering actor-singers lived on the fringe of
    society (jongleurs).
  • Southern French high class musicians, sometimes
    members of the royal family (troubadours).
  • Northern French high class musicians (trouveres).
  • German courtly musicians (minnesingers).

Medieval Minstrels
  • The poems of the troubadours and trouveres had
    diverse subjects.
  • Poetry of secular songs often focused on
    idealized love and chivalry.
  • Secular songs were sung monophonically with
    improvised instrumental accompaniment.

Raimbaut de Vaqueiras (c. 1155-1207) and the
Troubadour Tradition
  • Southern French secular composer.
  • Musician at the court of the Marquis of
    Montferrat (northwest Italy).
  • Knighted for his bravery in battle.
  • Joined the fourth Crusade to the Holy Land.
  • Most likely died in battle alongside his patron.

The French Ars Nova
  • The Ars Nova (new art) movement began in 14th
    century France and soon thereafter in Italy.
  • The music of the French Ars Nova is more refined
    and complex than music of the Ars Antiqua (old
    art) which it displaced.
  • With this came new developments in rhythm, meter,
    harmony, and counterpoint.

Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1377)
  • Machaut was a poet and composer of the French Ars
  • Double career as cleric and courtier.
  • Composed motets, chansons, and a polyphonic Mass
  • Favored fixed text forms rondeau, ballade,

Early Instrumental Music
  • The central role in art music was still reserved
    for vocal music.
  • Instruments played a supporting role in vocal
    literature, doubling the vocal line or
    accompanying the vocal line (improvisation).
  • Instrumental music was performed by ensembles
    divided by bas (soft) or haut (loud) instruments.
  • Instruments were also categorized by their use
    (indoor or outdoor).

Medieval Organs
  • Large organs required another person to
    physically pump the bellows.
  • Smaller organs (portative, positive) were
    portable and easy to travel with.
  • Some modern recordings today use period
    instruments for authenticity of sound.