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Music of the Middle Ages

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Elements of Music (continued)
Musical “Style”
Musical “Style”
Characteristic way of using melody,
rhythm, tone, color, dynamics, harmony,
texture, and form in music
пЃ® The distinctive or unique sound of
пЃ®
– One composer
– A group of composers
– A country
– A period in history
Historical Musical Style Periods
Middle Ages (450-1450)
пЃ® Renaissance (1450-1600)
пЃ® Baroque (1600-1750)
пЃ® Classical (1750-1820)
пЃ® Romantic (1820-1900)
пЃ® 20th century
пЃ®
Music of the Middle Ages
Medieval Music (450-1450)
Feudal Society
пЃ®
Three main social classes
1. Nobles (Kings, Queens, Knights,
etc.)
2. Peasants (Serfs)
3. Clergy (Church People - priests,
monks & nuns)
Knights/Nobility
Clergy
Peasants
Medieval Sacred Music (religious)
Most music in churches
пЃ® Churches centers of learning, culture,
and power
пЃ® Most important musicians were priests
пЃ®
Gregorian Chant
пЃ®
Prayer music for
voices
performed in
churches;
melodies set to
sacred Latin
texts, sung
without
accompaniment
Gregorian Chant (continued)
пЃ®
Gregorian Chant was the official music of the
Roman Catholic church - “the” church of
Medieval Europe
пЃ®
Named for Pope Gregory (590-604) who was
reputed to have assembled and standardized
all basic chants required for church services
of the time
ANONYMOUS - Alleluia: Vidimus Stellam
(We have seen the star)
Latin text
 Music has “otherworldly” quality
пЃ®
– Not in minor or major, but a “church mode”
– No beat
пЃ®
Music has “eternal” quality
– No “catchy” tune; motives don’t seem to
repeat as expected; seems like it will go on
forever and forever
Monophony
пЃ® Uses melismas
пЃ®
Melisma*
пЃ®
(not in textbook glossary)
Many notes sung to one syllable of text
7 1 3 4 4 3 4 2 2 1 3 4 5 4 71 3 2 3
Al - le- lu-
ia
Melismas
ANONYMOUS - Alleluia: Vidimus Stellam
(We have seen the star)
пЃ®
Beginning - Solo, then Choir
– Alleluia
пЃ®
Middle (verse) - Choir
– We have seen his star in the east and are
come with gifts to worship the Lord
пЃ®
End - Choir sings beginning phrase
– Alleluia
HILDEGARD OF BINGEN - O successores
(You successors)
пЃ®
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
– Abbess of Rupertsberg in Germany
– Amazingly talented and influential
woman
• Religious mystic and philosopher
• Diplomat
• Wrote poetry, music,
and musical drama
• Scientist and healer
HILDEGARD OF BINGEN - O successores
(You successors)
пЃ®
Latin text
 Music has “otherworldly” quality
– Not in minor or major, but a “church mode”
– No beat
пЃ®
Music has “eternal” quality
– No “catchy” tune; motives don’t seem to repeat as
expected; seems like it will go on forever and
forever
пЃ®
Monophony, performed with a drone
пЃ® Uses melismas, but less-long that Alleluia
chant
пЃ® Larger pitch range than older Alleluia chant
Drone
пЃ®
Long, sustained note or notes
accompanying a melody
HILDEGARD OF BINGEN - O successores
(You successors)
пЃ®
“You successors of the mightiest lion
between the temple and the altar- You
the masters in his household- As the the
angles sound forth praises and are here
to help the nations, you are among
those who accomplish this, forever
showing your care in the service of the
lamb.”
Medieval Secular Music (Non-religious)
пЃ®
Heard outside church in castles,
taverns, and town squares
– JONGLEURS
• travelling minstrels who performed music and
acrobatics for popular entertainment
ANONYMOUS - Estampie
Strong, regular BEAT (dance music)
пЃ® Fast triple meter
пЃ® 3 instruments
пЃ®
– Rebec (bowed string)
– Pipe (wind)
– Psaltery (plucked string)
Monophony (rebec & pipe) with drone
(psaltery)
 Repetitive sounding; “catchy”
пЃ®
Important Musical Development in
Middle Ages around 900 A.D.
Birth of Polyphony
Organum (pl. Organa)
пЃ®
Medieval polyphony that consists of
Gregorian Chant and one or more
additional melodic lines
Architectural
Layers =
Layers of
Chant or
Organum
Birth of Polyphony
700-900
900-1300
1300-1450
simple
organum
"School" of Notre
Dame (Leonin,
Perotin); simple
rhythmic notation
invented
ARS NOVA
new system
of notating
rhythm
monks add a
chant stretched out
2nd melody
and more lines of
above chant organum added above
chant
used for
complex
rhythms and
syncopation
Notre Dame Cathedral
Paris, France
GUILLAUME DE MACHAUT (1377-1377)
French composer
пЃ® Educated as priest
пЃ® Mostly worked as court official
пЃ® Wrote sacred and secular music
пЃ®
GUILLAUME DE MACHAUT Agnus Dei from Notre Dame Mass
пЃ®
Agnus Dei part of MASS
– MASS - sacred choral composition made
up of five sections
•
•
•
•
•
Kyrie (Lord have mercy)
Gloria (Glory to God in the highest)
Credo (I believe in one God)
Sanctus (Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Hosts)
Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)
GUILLAUME DE MACHAUT - Agnus Dei from Notre Dame Mass
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
Written for 4 voices
NON-IMITATIVE POLYPHONY
3 sections = 3 lines of text each closed by cadences
– “Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis” (Lamb
of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on
us)
– “Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis” (Lamb
of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on
us
– “Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem”
(Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, grant us
peace)
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
Chant stretched out in tenor voice
Upper voices have faster melodies with syncopation
Regular BEAT
Harmony has dissonant parts
Musical
Style
Elements
Early and Mid - Middle
Ages
(Chant)
Late Middle Ages
(Machaut)
Rhythm
no regular beat, freeflowing, creates
"floating,"
"otherworldly" sound
has regular beat, more complex,
has syncopations
Melody
uses melismas, very
smooth (legato)
uses melismas, more "jumpy"
and less smooth
Form
sounds non-repetitive
sounds non-repetitive
Dynamics
no changes, all one
level
no changes, all one level
Texture
monophonic
polyphonic (non-imitative);
produces heavy, dense, thick
sound
Harmony
none
mixture of consonance and
dissonance; produces serious
sound
BENART DA VENTADORN La douza votz (The sweet voice)
пЃ®
Troubadour song
пЃ® Monophony (voice) with improvised drone
accompaniment (plucked string)
 “I have heard the sweet voice of the
woodland nightingale and my heart springs
up so that all the cares and the grievous
betrayals love has given me are softened and
sweetened; and I would thus be rewarded, in
my ordeal, by the joys of others…”
BENART DA VENTADORN La douza votz (The sweet voice)
“In truth, every man leads a base life who
does not dwell in the land of joy…”
 “One who is false, deceitful, of low breeding,
a traitress has betrayed me, and betrayed
herself…”
пЃ®
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