Dark Ages

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around 500-1000 C.E.

Late Middle Ages dates

1000-1450 C.E.

Two centers of power in the Middle Ages

1.       early Christian church and the state

Frankish emperor who encouraged education and the concept of a centralized government


Why do we have more religious music than secular from the Middle Ages?

      The Church patronized music

The Middle Ages witnessed

1.       building of great cathedrals, the founding of universities, and the rise of the bourgeoisie.

3 literary works from the Middle Ages

  1.   Chanson de Roland
  2. Dante’s Divine Comedy
  3. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales


What was the status of women in the Middle Ages?

       Think of chivalry. It was raised through the concept of chivalry held by knights and idealized in music.

“ Humanism”

is characterized by thinking centered on human issues and individuality, inspiration from the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome, and independence from tradition and religion.

In the Renaissance, historical events include

1.       discovery of the New World, introduction of printing in the West, and the Protestant Reformation. The Magna Carta was signed by King John in the Middle Ages.


female poet musicians of the Middle Ages

Renaissance artists (Ninja Turtle names!)

       Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello/ Also, Botticelli

What makes renaissance art more realistic than the art from the Middle Ages?


In addition to the Church, what new patrons fostered art in the Renaissance?

       City and state, aristocratic courts

Musicians could earn livings as

       choirmasters, instrument builders, music printers.

Who collected and organized the church chants in the Middle Ages?

Pope Gregory I


early notation


       two to four notes per syllable


many notes per syllable


set order of church services and structure of each service


a series of services celebrated at various hours of the day in monasteries and convents

Gothic architecture

    pointed arches, spires, windows – Notre Dame – p. 80


service in the Roman Catholic Church that symbolically reenacts the sacrifice of Christ


the portion of the Mass that remains the same in every celebration of the service (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei)


the portion of the Mass that changes from day to day, depending on the fest celebrated

Language of the Mass

Latin in Middle Ages

Life in a cloister

living in quiet seclusion, devotion of prayer, scholarship, and charity, participating in teaching and hospital work


composed music, had visions, wrote religious poetry, and founded her own convent

Is Hildegard’s “Alleluia” a part of the Ordinary or a part of the Proper?

    Proper for the feast day of the Virgin Mary


the earliest type of polyphony

Rhythmic modes

1.       a fixed pattern of long and short notes that is repeated or varied – over a sustained bottom voice that is drawn from the chant of the same name

Early secular songs in Latin were written by whom and had what subjects?

     Goliards / wine, women & satire

Troubadour/trouvere songs have what subjects?

       politics and current events, love and unrequired passion, crusades.


       German aristocratic poet-musicians

Ars nova

     Music of the fourteenth century (New Music)


was the outstanding composer of Ars nova

Middle Ages chanson

French courtly love song in the Middle Ages

Rondeau, ballade, virelai

    fixed poetic forms of the Middle Ages


soft or loud


       double reed instrument of Middle Ages & Renaissance


end-blown flute with a breathy sound


medieval ancestor of the modern trombone

Renaissance music sounds different from medieval music because

1.       it has fuller harmonies, has smoothly gliding lines, and is performed a cappella.

Cantus firmus

fixed melody used as a basis for elaborate polyphonic writing in the Renaissance/ a fragment of Gregorian chant or a secular tune used as the foundation of a polyphonic mass


language of the people as opposed to the Church Latin

Middle Ages motet/ Renaissance motet

1.       The latter was a setting in Latin of a part from the Proper.

Golden Age of a cappella style of singing



early renaissance composer who exerted a powerful influence on generations of composers who followed him

Josquin’e s ”Ave Maria…virgo serena”

is motet in praise of Mary

Martin Luther

1.       leader in the Protestant Reformation


       the Roman Catholic Church response to recapture the loyalty of its people


responded to the reforms of the Council of Trent in an exemplary fashion, by composing masses with understandable texts and worshipful musical lines.

Council of Trent

The Catholic Church Council to study all facets of the Church practices, including the music.

Secular music-making in the Renaissance

Most prosperous homes had a lute or a keyboard instrument, the study of music was seen as necessary to the proper upbringing of children, and women began to have prominent roles.

Word painting

making the music do what the words say/ expressive device used by Renaissance composers to pictorialize words musically


originated in Italy and then spread to England. Secular text with word painting, vernacular language, 4 or more parts for males and females, polyphonic/ Most important secular genre of 16th c.

Arcadelt produced 250 madrigals

mostly for 4 voices, about 125 French chansons, and sacred music, including Masses and motets

    (These are the characteristics that made them different from the Italian, which were usually more serious.

Simple, pastoral, humorous texts of English

Style of “Fair Phyllis”

light & pastoral


English madrigal composer


       loud double reed

Raimbaut de Vaqueiras

1.       Middle Ages troubadour killed in the Crusades


Lively circle or line dance often performed outdoors

Susato’m s dances have

1.       irregular phrase lengths, lively rhythms, occasional embellishments.

Hildegard’ s “Alleluia, O virga mediatrix”

praises the Virgin (virga) Mary

Farmer was

English Renaissance composer of madrigals