Opera, Symphony, and Gregorian Chant
entertainment, art, and utilitarian (useful or functional)
Orchestral Genres
symphony, concerto, etc.
Chamber Music Genres
string quartet, etc.
Vocal Genres
choral, ensemble, solo, language, subject


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-Text is secular

-Function is Theatrical Entertainment

-Performing Forces are Voices and Orchestra



-Text is none

-Function is Concert Performance

-Performing Forces are Orchestra


Gregorian Chant

-Text is Latin Sacred

-Function is Church Service

-Performing Forces is unison voices


combination of qualities that make a work of art distinctive (produced by the interaction of rhythm, melody, harmony, color, texture, and form)


ex. new orleans style jazz, Beethoven’s middle style periods, and baroque style

The Middle Ages

(Medieval Music)


-most surviving music of the middle age is sacred

-christianity brought to Europe by Roman Empire

-Medieval Christian church was center of politcal power, culture, and learning. was the source of financial support of arts, and scribes preserved sacred texts and music

Sacred Music in the Middle Ages
Gregorian Chant (also called plainsong)- music sang at eight monastic hours of prayer and at mass
Gregorian Chant

large body of unaccompanied vocal music, written for the western Roman Catholic Church


-Latin Text


-weak rhythm- nonmetric

-variation (unison-solo, syllabic-mellismatic)

Syllabic Singing
only one or two notes for each syllable of text
Melismatic Singing
many notes sung to just one syllable
Early Polyphonic Music

Organum (first systematic use of harmony in West)- new melody added above or below a chant.


example: All Ends of the Earth by Leonin


new melody added below or above a chant.

started by Leoninus

The Mass

Proper of the Mass– chants that vary throughout the year

Ordinary of the Mass– chants that stay the same throughtout the year

Proper of the Mass

Introit (anintroductory chant for the the entry of the celebrating clergy)

Gradual (a reflective chant)

Alleluia or Tract ( a chant of thanksgiving or penance)

Sequentia (a chant commenting on the text of the Alleluia)

Offertory (a chant for the offering)

Communion (chant for communion)

Ordinary of the Mass

Kyrie (a petition for mercy)

Gloria (a hymn of praise to the Lord)

Credo ( a profession of faith)

Sanctus (an acclamation to the Lord)

Agnus Dei (a petition for mercy and eternal peace)

Poet-Musicians that flourished in Southern France

troubadours (men)

trobairitz (women)

a love song, normally in french, for two, three, or four voices.


ex. this month of may

Medieval Musical Instruments

sackbut (forerunner of trombone)

shawm (ancestor of the oboe)

the drums

Cornetto (cross between trumpet and clarinet)

The Renaissance

-rebirth of classical (greek and roman) culture

-reawakening after middle ages

-humanism (focus on man, not just God, appreciation of hte human mind and body, wordly knowledge and pursuit)

-Era of exploration, scientific discovery, and artisitc achievement


-focus on not only God, but man

-appreciation of the human mind and body

-worldly knowledge and pursuits

Renaissance Music

-believed music should be pleasing to the ear

ex. Ave Maria by Josquin

 -sacred genre


 -a cappella

 – imitative counterpoint

Josquin Desprez

-said to be one of the greatest composers of the Renaissance or any age

-wrote over 70 motets (a composition for a choir, latin text, and made ot be sung in a church or private devotion)

-famous for Ave Maria which has imitation in it which is a procedure where one or more voices duplicate in turn the notes of a melody

a compostition for a choir, setting a latin text on a sacred subject, and intended to be sung either in a church or chapel, or in a private devotional
A cappella
performed voices alone
where one or more voices duplicate in turn the notes of a melody
Protestant Reformation

creations of national churches not under the control of Rome

(later Renaissance music)

a reform movement that promoted a more conservative and austere art within the established Church


“saved” polyphonic music

Music supports the text:

-a cappella (chapel style)


-points of imitation

-was called master of the chapel and master composer

Point of Imitation

a distinctive motive that is sung or played in turn by each voice or instrumental line

ex. Palestrina’s, Sanctus, has four points of imitation

The Madrigal

a piece for several solo voices (usually four or five) that sets a vernacular poem, most often about love, to music

Two types: Italian Madrigal (short, set to music, a capella, lively rhythm, light hearted character, word painting)

English Madrigal (ex. As Vesta Was by Weelkes)

Word Painting
depicting the text by means of a descriptive musical gesture, wheather subtly or jokingly as a musical pun
Baroque Style

“irregularly shaped pearl”


-more ornamented

-more energetic



-a new kind of solo singing (meaning to sing alone)

-a single singer stepped forward, accompanied by a very few supporting instruments to project a highly charged text

Basso Continuo

-the bass-driven, chordal support in Baraque Music, played by one or more instruments

-bass instrument(s)- plays written part (bass line)

-chord instrument- improvises chords from bass line

Most Common Basso Continuo during Baroque Period
harpsichord and low string instrument
Figured Bass

numbers underneath

-numerical shorthand placed below the bass line

Harmony of Baroque Musical Style

major and minor tonality

-Functional- creating and resolving dissonance

 -pull towards tonic (last tonic chord is meant to feel final)

 – each chord has a specific function

 -Harmonic Progression (chord progression)


Contrast of Baroque Musical Style

-ornamented melody- solid chord progression


-loud-soft (terraced dynamics)


-example: Spring by Vivaldi

Terraced Dynamics
the practice of shifting the volume of sound suddenly from one level to another

-drama presented in music

-begun in Florence, Italy (1600)

-Inspired by Ancient Greek Drama

-Expression of emotion through song


Completing elements of Opera

-visual effect

-libretto (little book)- words that are meant to be sung

– music


“little book”

words that are written to be sung

Two Kinds of Solo Singing in Opera

Recitative- speechlike, moves action forward (emphasizes story)

Aria- more melodic song, expresses emotion, shows off singer (emphasizes music)

musically heightened speech, though which the plot of the opera is communicated to the audience

more passionate, expansive, and more tuneful than recitative

-emphasizes emotion, more melodic song

refers to an instrumental piece for keyboard or other insturments, requires great technical dexterity of the performers
a manner of singing halfway between aria and recitative

(before the piano there were many sonatas)

-sonare- to sound

Baroque Chamber Sonata

-solo sonata- solo instrument plus continuo

-trio sonata- 2 solo instruments plus continuo

(collection of stylized dances)-often in binary form

(by changing rhythm and tempo the dance changes)

Solo Sonata
solo instrument plus continuo
Trio Sonata
2 solo instruments plus continuo
Chamber Music
music for soloists performed in home or a small auditorium
Henry Purcell
“greatest of all English composers”, born in London
Wrote Dido and Aeneas