See Gregorian chant.
Gregorian Chant
Monophonic melody with a free flowing, un-measured vocal line; liturgical chant of the Roman Catholic Church.
Monophonic Texture
Single line texture or melody without accompaniment.
Early musical notation signs; square notes on a four-line staff.
Scale or sequence of notes used as the basis for a composition; major and minor are modes.
Text Setting
Melodies fall into three main classes according to the way they are set to the text. Melismatic, syllabic, and neumatic.
With one note sung to each syllable of text.
Generally with groups of two to four notes sung to a syllable.
with long groups of notes set to a single syllable of text. The melismatic style, descended from the elaborate improvisations heard in Middle Eastern music, became a prominent feature of Gregorian chant and exerted a strong influence on subsequent Western music.
A reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ- the most solemn ritual of the Roman Catholic Church.
Texts of the Mass that vary from day to day throughout the church year.
Texts that remain the same in every mass.
comes as the fourth item of the Proper, or variable part of the mass, and takes its name from the Latin word for “steps” (the melody may have been sung from the steps of the altar. The term was applied to the singing of certain portions of a psalm (a prayer from the Old Testament book of psalms) in a musically elaborate, melismatic style.) The Gradual is performed in a responsorial manner.
Responsorial Singing
A series of exchanges between a soloist singing what is known as a verse and the chorus answering with the response
The part of the gradual sung by the soloist.
The part of the gradual sung by the choir.
Earliest kind of polyphonic music, which developed from the custom of adding voices above a plainchant; they first ran parallel to the plainchant at an interval of a fifth or fourth and later moved more freely.
Polyphonic Texture
Two or more melodic lines combined into a multi~? Texture, as distinct monophonic.
Rhythmic Modes
A fixed pattern of long and short notes that is repeated and varied.
Organal style
Organum in which the tenor sings the melody (the original chant) in very long notes while the upper voices move freely and rapidly above it.
Discant/ Descant style
An early form of harmony used in the medieval era (c. 1000-1200) which developed from organum. The descant was formed by adding a part or parts to the tenor, differing from organum in that the parts moved not only in parallel motion but also in oblique and contrary motion. In descant, all the voices move at approximately the same speed.
Short Medieval composition in descant style, the text of which consists of one or two words or a single syllable based on a fragment of Gregorian chant.
Polyphonic vocal genre, secular in the Middle Ages but sacred or devotional thereafter.
A) 13th Century Origins (Motet)
While Leonin limited himself to polyphony in two parts, his successor, Perotin (fl. early 13th century) extended the technique by writing for three and four different voices.
1. Cantus Firmus
melody”, usually of very long notes, often based on a fragment of Gregorian chant that served as the structural basis for a polyphonic composition, particularly in the Renaissance.
2. Tenor-
– In a 13th century motet, the tenor was the lower part (performed vocally or instrumentally) which sounded the long notes which were usually a repeated pattern taken from Gregorian chant and called an Ostinato.
3. Duplum
Second voice of a polyphonic work, especially the medieval motet
4. Triplum
Third voice in early polyphony.
5. Polytextuality
Having two or more texts set simultaneously in a composition.
6. Ostinato
A short, melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic pattern that is repeated throughout a work or sections of one.
B) 15th Century Development of the Motet
In the Renaissance, the motet became a sacred form with a single Latin text, for use in the Mass and other religious services. Motets in praise of the Virgin Mary were extremely popular because of the many religious groups all over Europe devoted to Marian worship. These works, written for three of four voices, were sometimes based on a chant or other cantus firmus.
1. Imitation
Melodic idea presented in one voice and then restated in another, each part continuing as others enter
Chordal Declamation
A method of setting text or words to music where the text of a composition is emphasized in chordal structures.
3. A Capella
Choral music performed without instrumental accompaniment.
Central service of the Roman Catholic Church
The first section of the Mass- the Kyrie is a prayer for mercy that dates from the early centuries of Christianity, as its Greek text attests. It takes an A-B-A form that consists of nine invocations: three of “Kyrie Eleison” (Lord have mercy), three of “Christe Eleison” (Christ have mercy), and three more “Kyrie Eleison” (Lord have mercy).
The Kyrie is followed by the Gloria (Glory to God in the highest), a joyful hymn of praise that is omitted in the penitential season of Advent and Lent.
The third movement of the Mass, the Credo (“I believe in one God, the Father, almighty) is the confession of faith and the longest of the mass texts.
The fourth part of the Mass, the Sanctus (“Holy, holy holy”), which concludes with the Hosanna (“hosanna in the highest”).
Agnus Dei
The fifth and last part of the Mass, the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world”) is sung three times. Twice it concludes with “Miserere nobis” (have mercy on us), and the third time with the prayer “Dona nobis pacem” (grant us peace).
French polyphonic song, especially of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, set to either courtly or popular poetry.
Medieval poet; musicians in southern France.
Medieval poet; musicians in northern France.
Strophic Form
Song structure in which the same music is repeated with every stanza (strophe) of the poem.
Medieval plucked-string instrument, similar to the modern zither, consisting of a sound box over which strings were stretched.
Early folk instrument that resembles the psaltery; its strings are struck with a hammer instead of being plucked.
Medieval bowed-string instrument; the ancestor of the violin.
Ars Nova-
Fourteenth century French polyphonic musical style whose themes moved increasingly from religious to secular.
Fixed poetic forms
Groups of forms, especially in medieval France, in which the poetic structure determines musical repetition.
• Rondeau
Medieval and Renaissance fixed poetic form and chanson type with courtly love texts.
• Ballade
French poetic form and chanson type of the Middle Ages and Renaissance with courtly love texts.
• Virelai
Medieval and Renaissance fixed poetic form and chanson type with French courtly love texts.
Renaissance secular work originating in Italy for voices, with or without instrumental accompaniment, set to a short, lyric love poem; also popular in England.
Italian Madrigal
The 16th century madrigal was an aristocratic form of poetry and music that flourished at the small Italian courts, where it was a favorite diversion of cultivated amateurs. The text consisted of a short poem of lyrics of reflective character, often including the emotional words for weeping, sighing, trembling, and dying, which the Italian madrigalists learned to set with a wealth of expressions. Love and unsatisfied desire were popular topics of the madrigal, also human and satire, political themes, and scenes and incidents of city and country life, with the result that the Italian madrigal literature of the 16th century presents a vivid panorama of Renaissance thoughts and feelings. Instruments participated, duplicating or even substituting for the voices. Sometimes only the top part was sung while the other lines were played on instruments.
Italian Madrigal: three stages of development
1. During the first period of the Renaissance madrigal, the second quarter of the 16th century, the composers’ chief concern was to give pleasure to the performers, often amateurs, without much thought to virtuosic playing.
2. In the middle phase (ca. 1550-1580), the madrigal became an art form in which words and music were clearly linked.
3. The final phase of the Italian madrigal (ca. 1580-1620) extended beyond the late Renaissance into the world of the Baroque. The form became the direct expression of the composers’ personality and feelings. Certain traits were carried to an extreme: rich chromatic harmony, dramatic declamation, vocal virtuosity, and vivid depictions of emotional words in music. Ex: Claudio Monteverdi.
Rich chromatic harmony was used in the final stage of the development of the Italian madrigal.
Word Painting
musical pictorialization of words from the text as an expression device; a prominent feature of the Renaissance madrigal.
English Madrigal
In the first collection of Italian madrigals published in England, “Musica transalpine” (music from beyond the Alps) in 1588, the songs were “Englished”- that is, the texts were translated. In their own madrigal, the English composers preferred simpler texts. New, humorous madrigal types were cultivated, some with refrain syllables such as “fa la la”.
Nonsense syllables
English humorous madrigal types were cultivated, some with refrain syllables such as “fa la la”.
Music drama that is generally sun throughout, combining the resources of vocal and instrumental music with poetry and drama, acting and pantomime, scenery and costume.
The transition from Renaissance to Baroque brought with it a great change: the shift of interest from a texture of several independent parts to one in which a single melody stood out- this is, from polyphonic music to homophonic. The new style, which originated in vocal music, was named monody- literally “one song”, music for one singer with instrumental accompaniment. Monodie style emerged in 1600.
Stile Rappresentativo
A dramatic recitative style of the Baroque period in which melodies moved freely over a foundation of simple chords.
Text, or script of an opera, prepared by a librettist.
Lyric song for solo voice with orchestra accompaniment, generally expressing intense emotion; found in opera, cantata, and oratorio.
Da Capo Aria
Lyric song in ternary, or A-B-A form, commonly found in opera, cantatas, and oratorios.
Recitativo secco
(or dry recitative) is accompanied only by continuo instruments (a bass melody instrument, such as cello, and a keyboard instrument, such as a harpsichord or organ) and moves with great freedom.
Recitative acompagnato
recitative, which is accompanied by the orchestra and thus moves more evenly.
a solo vocal declamation that follows the inflections of the text, often resulting in a disjunct vocal style; found in opera, cantatas, and oratorios.
Fairly large group of singers who perform together, usually with several on each part. Also a choral movement of a large-scale work.
Ground Bass
A repeating melody, usually in the bass, throughout a vocal or instrumental composition.
Stile Concitato
Baroque style developed by Monteverdi, which introduced novel effects such as rapid repeated notes as symbols of passion.
Short instrumental work, found in Baroque opera, to facilitate scene changes.
Operatic Reform
Gluek, a German born composer trained in Italy liberated serious opera from some of its outmomodeled conventions. He developed a style that met the new need for dramatic truth and expressiveness. “I have striven to restrict music to its true office of serving poetry by means of expression and by following the situations of the story, without interrupting the actions of stifling it with useless superfluity of ornaments.” He said. He realized the needs of the new age: “simplicity, truth, and naturalness are the great principles of beauty in all forms of art”.
Operatic Seria
Tragic Italian opera.
Opera buffa
Italian comic opera, sung throughout
Vocal genre for solo singers, chorus, and instrumentalists based on lyric or dramatic poetic narrative. It generally consists of several movements, including recitatives, arias, and ensemble numbers.
Lutheran Chorale
A chorale is a hymn tune, specifically one associated with German Protestantism. The chorales served as the battle hymns of the Reformation. Martin Luther required that the congregation participate in the service and inaugurated services in German rather than Latin. Lither and his fellow reformists created the first chorales by adapting tunes from Gregorian chant, from popular sources, and from secular art music. Originally in unison, these hymns soon were written in four=part harmony to be sung by the choir. The melody was put in the soprano, where all could hear it and join in singing. In this way, the chorales greatly strengthened the trend to clear-cut melody supported by chords (homophonic texture).
Fugal texture
Music in which one or more themes are developed by imitative counterpoint.
Type of polyphonic composition in which one musical line strictly imitates another at a fixed distance throughout.
Short, aria-like passage.
Oboe da caccia
An alto oboe, built in the shape of a curved hunting horn (caccia is the Italian word for the chase or hunt), with a sound that evoked the outdoors (eh/ used in part of Cantata no.80, A Might Fortress- Bach)
Oboe d’amore
Is a mezzo-soprano instrument, pitched a minor third below the ordinary oboe, it has the pear-shaped bell of the English horn. (eg. Used in parts of might fortress-Bach)
A tenor oboe (used in cantata 80)
Large scale dramatic genre originating in the Baroque, based on a text of religious or serious character, performed by solo voices, chorus, and orchestra; similar to opera but without scenery, costumes, or action.
Italian “jumping dances”, often characterized by triplets in a rapid 4/4 time.
Basse Danse
Graceful court dance of the early Renaissance; an older version of the pavane.
Stately Renaissance court dance in duple meter
Lively, triple-meter French court dance
Lively Renaissance “round dance”, associated with the ourdoors, in which the participants danced in a circle or a line.
Quick French group dance of the Renaissance, related to the ronde
A stately dance, probably for couples, characterized by elaborate body movements- (eg. Found in an Anonymous Medieval Dance, “royal Estampie No. 4”)
Creation of a musical composition while it is being performed, seen in Baroque ornamentation, cadenzas of concertos, jazz, and some non-western musics.
Melodic decoration, either improvised or indicated through ornamentation signs in the music.
Sustained sounding of one or several tones for harmonic support, a common feature of some folk music.
Musica Ficta-
An unwritten inflection or accidental.
Soft, indoor instruments:
• Recorder
an end-blown flute with a breathy tone.
• Lute
A plucked string instrument of Middle Easter origin with a rounded back.
• Rebec
Medieval bowed-string instrument, often with a pear-shaped body
• Vielle
Medieval bowed string instrument, the ancestor of the violin.
Loud, outdoor instruments:
• Shawm
Medieval wind instruments, the ancestor of the oboe.
• Cornetto
Early instrument of the brass family with word-wind-like finger holes. It developed from the cow horn, but was made of wood.
• Crumhorn
Early woodwind instrument, whose sound is produced by blowing into a capped double reed and whose lower body is curved.
• Sackbut
Early brass instrument, ancestor of the trombone.
• Nakers
Medieval percussion instruments resembling small kettledrums, played in pairs; of middle eastern origin.
• Tabor
Cylindrical medieval drum.
• Viols/ viola da gamba
Family of Renaissance bowed-string instruments that had six or more strings, was fretted like a guitar, and was held between the legs like a modern cello.
Consorts of Instruments
A combination of musical instruments or singers.
• Regal
small medieval reed organ.
• Positive
Small single-manual organ, popular in the Renaissance and Baroque eras.
• Portative
Medieval organ small enough to be carried or set on a table, usually with only one set of pipes.
Generic word for keyboard instruments, including harpsichord, clavichord, piano, and organ.
Early Baroque keyboard instrument in which the strings are plucked by quills instead of being struck with hammers like the piano. French word: clavecin.
A small keyboard musical instrument in a frame without legs, of the 16th and 17th centuries. The strings are plucked as in a harpsichord.
A favorite instrument for the home. Its very soft, gentle tone was produced by the action of small metal blades, or tangents, that exerted pressure on the string, allowing for some delicate effects not available on the harpsichord.
• Prelude
Instrumental work intended to precede a larger work.
• Passacaglia
Baroque form (similar to the chaconne), in moderately slow triple meter, based on a short, repeated bass-line melody that serves as the basis for continuous variation in the other voices.
• Toccata-
Virtuoso composition, generally for organ or harpsichord, in a free and rhapsodic style; in the baroque, it often served as the introduction to a fugue.
• Fantasia
Free instrumental piece of fairly large dimensions, in an improvisational style; In the Baroque, it often served as an introductory piece for a fugue.
• Chorale Prelude
Short Baroque organ piece in which a traditional chorale melody is embellished.
• Chorale Variations
Baroque organ piece in which a chorale is the basis for a set of variations.
• Sonata
Instrumental genre in several movements for a soloist or small ensemble.
Suite: Standard Movements:

• Allemande

German dance in moderate duple time, popular during the Renaissance and Baroque periods; often the first movement of a Baroque suite.
Suite: Standard Movements:

Hire a custom writer who has experience.
It's time for you to submit amazing papers!

order now

• Courante

French Baroque dance, a standard movement of the suite, in triple meter at a moderate tempo.
Suite: Standard Movements:

• Sarabande

Stately Spanish Baroque dance type in triple meter, a standard movement of the Baroque suite.
Suite: Standard Movements:

• Gigue

Popular English Baroque dance type; a standard movement of the Baroque suite, in a lively compound meter.
Suite: Additional Movements:

• Menuet

A courtly dance in triple meter.
Suite: Additional Movements:

• Bouree

Lively French Baroque dance type in duple meter.
Suite: Additional Movements:

• Gavotte

Duple-meter Baroque dance type of a pastoral character.
Suite: Additional Movements:

• Air

melodic-type piece found in Baroque suite.
Binary form
he standard form of each piece in the suite was a highly developed binary structure (A-B) consisting of two sections of approximately equal length, each rounded off by a cadence. The first part usually moved from the home key to a contrasting key (dominant), while B part made the corresponding move back. The two parts often used closely related melodic material and were usually repeated A-A-B-B.
In France, dance suites were known as ordres (orders), and often contained numerous miniature pieces.
Variation of a dance in a French keyboard suite.
Melodic decoration, either improvised or indicated through (ornamentation) signs in the music.
Instrumental genre in several movements for solo instrument (or instrumental group) and orchestra.
Solo concerto
The concerto for solo instrument and an accompanying instrumental group, lent itself to experiments in sonority and virtuosic playing, especially in the hands of the Italian master Antonio Vivaldi.
Concerto Grosso
Was based on the opposition between a small group of instruments, the concertino, and a larger group, the tutti, or ripieno (Italian for “full”).
Short recurring instrumental passage found in both the aria and the Baroque concerto.
Ritornello form
x: In the first movement of “Spring”, an orchestral ritornello, or refrain, returns again in alternation with the episodes, which often feature the solo violin.
Large work for orchestra, generally in three or four movements.
Origins of the symphony
The symphony as it developed in the classical period had its roots in the Italian opera overture of the early eighteenth century. This was a piece for orchestra in three sections; fast-slow-fast. First played to introduce an opera, these sections eventually became separate movements, to which the early German symphonists added a number of effects that were later taken over by Haydn and Mozart.
German “sensitive” style of the mid-eighteenth century, characterized by melodic directness and homophonic texture.
Rounded binary form
Compositional form with two sections, in which the second ends with a return to material from the first; each section is usually repeated.
Sonata cycle
(multi-movement structure)- A three of four movement structure found in sonatas, string quartets, symphonies, concertos, and large scale works of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Each movement is in a prescribed tempo and form.
Sonata-allegro form
The opening movement of the sonata cycle, consisting of themes that are stated in the first section (exposition), developed in the second section (development), and restated in the third section (recapitulation).
• Exposition
The first section of sonata-allegro form in which the major thematic material is stated.
• Development
Structural reshaping of thematic material. Second section of sonata-allegro form. It moves through a series of foreign keys while themes from the exposition are manipulated.
• Recapitulation
Third section of sonata-allegro form, in which the thematic material of the exposition is restated, generally in the tonic.
• Coda
The last part of a piece, usually added to a standard form to bring it to a close.
Menuet and trio
An A-B-A in moderate triple meter; often the third movement of the classical sonata cycle.
Composition in A-B-A form, usually in triple meter; replaced the menuet and trio in the nineteenth century.
Theme and variations
Compositional procedure in which a theme is stated and then altered in successive statements; occurs as an independent piece or as a movement of a sonata cycle.
musical form in which the first section recurs, usually in the tonic. In the classical sonata cycle, it appears as the last movement in various forms, including [A-B-A-B-A], [A-B-A-B-A], [A-B-A-C-A-B-A]
Transitional passage connecting two sections of a composition; also transition.
Rocket theme
A quick, aggressively rhythmic theme rising from low to high register with such speed that it came to be known as a rocket theme. (ex: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik)
work or movement based on a single theme.
Instrumental genre in several movements for a soloist or small ensemble.
Instrumental genre in several movements for solo instrument (or instrumental group and orchestra)
Double Exposition
in the concerto, twofold statement of the themes, once by the orchestra and once by the soloist.
Virtuosic solo passage in the manner of an improvisation, performed near the end of an aria or a movement of a concerto.
Chamber Music
Ensemble music for up to about ten players, with one player to a part.
Instrumental sonata
The sonata, as Haydn, Mozart, and their successors understood the terms, was an instrumental work for one or two instruments, consisting of three of four contrasting movements.
Piano trio-
Standard chamber ensemble of piano with violin and cello.
String trio
Standard chamber ensemble of two violins and a cello or violin, viola, and cello.
String Quartet
Chamber music ensemble consisting of two violins, viola, and cello. Also a multimovement composition for this ensemble.
Piano quartet
Standard chamber ensemble of piano with two violins, viola, and cello.
String quintet
Standard chamber ensemble made up of either two violins, two violas, and cello or two violins, viola, and two cellos.