Adam de la Halle

The last and greatest of the trouveres.


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Author of Jeu de Robin et Marion (ca. 1284), which is cited as the earliest known French play with music on a secular subject.


This work contains both monophonic and polyphonic chansons


A responsorial chant, which occurs just after the Gradual and just before the Sequence in the Catholic mass.


The word Alleluia is Hebrew word for praise.


The typical format for alleluia is to have a soloist sing the word “Alleluia”, followed by choir echoing the soloist on Alleluia, with a melismatic extension on “ia” known as the jubilus.  Then the soloist sings an entire psalm verse with the chorus joining on the last phrase.  The “Alleluia” is again sung by the soloist, and joined in by the choir on the jubilus.


Alleluias feature a highly integrated musical style as opposed to being improvised.



The entire form is as follows: Solo Alleluia, Choral Alleluia + jubilus – Solo verse (often with choral conclusion ) – [solo alleluia] – Chroal Alleluia + jubilus.



In the Gregorian and other Western chant liturgies, it was generally a short melody on prose text in a simple syllabic style that served as a refrain in the singing of psalm verse or canticles.


Antiphons are the most common of chants, with well over 1000 in any given source. 


Many of the antiphons, though, employ basically the same melody, with modifications made according to the text.


Famous examples are the votive (in dedication to) Marian Antiphons (to the blessed Mary), which since the end of the 13th c, have been sung at the end of Compline.  These are actually not true antiphons since almost by definitaion an antiphon is associated with a paslm or canticle.


The music for the offices is collected in this book – also called antiphonale

ars antiqua

The  “old music” before the fourtheenth century which stressed triple divisions of the beat and no more than three semibreves to one breve


Defended by Jacob de Liege in his Speculum musicae

Ars nova

title of a treatise by Philip de Vitry (written about 1322-23).  Also mentioned in the title of Jehan de Murs’ Ars novae musicae.


This term came to denote the style which prevailed throughout France in the first half of the fourteenth century.


Ars nova princiales included: acceptance of the duple division of the beat and the use of four or more semibreves as equivalent to the breve (already featured in the motets of Pierre de la Croix).


Jacob of Liege vigorously defended the “ars antiqua” of the thirteenth century against these “modern” trends in music.

Ars subtilior

Literally ” subtle arts”, it was a hifhly refined style of the late 14th c secular courts of southern Frence, the featured fantastic rhythmic complexity, melodically broken lines through the use of hocket, colored harmonies via musica ficta, and voices moving in contrasting meters and groupings.


This kind of style necessitated a high degree of professionalism and training by the performers and was not for amateurs.


One of the most accomplished composers of this genre was da Caserta.;


A good example of this stype appears in Senleches’ Fuions de ci, a lament composed for the death of his patron, Eleanor of Aragon


The Italian counterpart to the French virelai.


Originally a dance song (late 13th C), it is derived from the cantiga and lauda and became a popular Italian trecento fixed form.


The dance had words set to it and assumed the following form: reprisa (A) piedi (bb) volta(a) reprisa (A) etc.


One early difference between the ballata and the virelai was that the piedi of the ballata had the same music, as opposed to the distinctly French first and second (open and closed) endings.


Longer ballate had the form AbbaAbbaA etc.


Examples exists in Bocaccio’s Decameron and the most notable composers of ballata was Landini.


Early forms of the ballate are monophonic, later ones are in 2-3 voices.


It was the last of the Italian forms to assume the guise of polyphony.

Benedictine Abbey of Solesmes

important because the monk of this abbey edited the various Roman liturgical chants in the 19th century.


The Solesmes versions were officially approved by the Vatican and are the versions most often seen and heard nowadays


One of the principal musical forms of 14th C Italy.


It is a 2-part canon at the unison, often with a 3rd untexted non-canonic part in long notes that underlays the other 2.


The end is usually followed by a ritornello.


The text realistically describes a hunt or marketplace scene.


The form is similar to the 3-part canonic French chace, and the probably influenced the 17th C English catch


Spainish songs of praise to the Virgin.


A manuscript prepared under the direction of King Alfonso el Sabio of Spain between 1250-1280 preserves more than 400 cantigas which resemble the music of the troubadours

cantilena style

a style in which one upper voice is prominent and is supported by two slower-moving lower voices.


this style which was popular in the 14th c came to be used by many of the pre Renaissance English composers along with fauxbourdon technique


Long, textless passages at the beginning, end, or before important cadences of polyphonic conductus.


These often introduced rhythmic contrasts and featured preexisting clausulae


described by John Cotton as musical period that punctuates the conclusion of a complete musical thought

chanson de geste

Song of deeds.;


An epic narrative poem recounting the deeds of national heroes, sung to a simple melodic formula.


One of the earliest secular songs – transmitted orally and not written down until much later.; Virtually none of the music survives.


The most famous chanson de geste is the 11th c Song of Roland

Choirbook format

the format in which most Medieval and Renaissance vocal muisc was written.


Choir books had the parts for the various voices on facing pages, rather than in different books altogether (partbook format) or fully integrated (modern score format)


11th to 13th c monophonic song featuring a newly composed melody.


May have originated as sacred songs used during the Mass when people were being conducted from one place to another, but they quickly became popular in secular circles.


The lines are metrical and often paired by syllable length, beginning and ending with an unpaired line (ABBCCDDEE….N).


By the end of the 12thc the term conductus came to mean any Latin song (sacred or secular) of a serious character and with a metrical text.


Polyphonic conductus were written by Perotin and other ocmposers of the Notre Dame era.


Two, three or four voices were used and the musical style was less complex than that of organum.


Voices tended to remain in a narrow range and they all moved together in similar rhythm (discant style = homorhythnic texture).;


Voice crossings were frequent and texts were set syllabically (except for cauda)


the practice of replacing a given text with another in a different language.


This often took place between French and Latin in the medieval motet


first mentioned in the Ad Organum Faciendum, this term refers to the last two notes of a phrase in two-part music which form a cadence.


This term had a completely different meaning for the Notre Dame school.; For them copula was a sort of midway texture between organum purum and discant style

Daisen notation

A notational system of 9th and 10th c.; European scribes.


The tones of the scale are represented by signs derived from aspirant Greek letter symbols.; Only a few symbols are used but they are rotated at different angles to indicate different pitches.


This notational system was a precursor of Latin letter and staff notation


a type of medieval polyphony in which the two voices move in basically the same note lengths – a contrast to orginal style in which the vox principals holds sustained tones while the vox organalis moves quickly above.


Also called discant clausula.


English discant technique added two voices, one above and one below, a tenor, moving in parallel six-three chords (farburden)

displacement technique

a technique found in 14th C French polyphonic songs in minor prolation (simple rather than compound time) in which consonance is displaced before or after the beat (syncopation)creating a highly dissonant and rhythmically charged sound

Eleanor of Aquitaine

an important medieval political figure, her marriage to Louis VII of France in 1137 brought southern troubadours to Paris, admitting a southern element into the northern French trouvere style music.


Her later marriage to Henry of Normandy provided England with Eleanor’s vast French holdings when Henry later succeeded to English throne.


Eleanor was also an early player in the developing aristocratic game of courtly love and had many prominent affairs


dance forms found in England and the continent in the 13th and 14th c.


Featured pairs of phrases (puncta) the first with an open cadence and the second with a closed cadence.


The 14th c Italian istanpite was derived from the French estampie and is a slightly more complex variant of the same form


a medieval abbreviation for the doxology (Gloria Patri) which was sung at the end of many antiphonal chants.


The letters stand for the vowels (Us look like Vs) in “seculorum amen”

forme fixes

a collection of poetic formes particularly of the 14th and 15th C that became popular for the setting of medieval secular song.


These formes had a fixed number of lines and syllables per line as well as rhyme scheme rather than being free or mutable in structure like the ode or lai


14thc.  Very similar to pedes cum cauda form of troubadour/ trouvere music, probably a derivative.


the text consists of seven or eight-line stanzas of which the first four lines are the pedes and the remaining lines are the cauda (which always include a one line refrain at the end which is the same for all the stanzas).


The pedes lines are usually set to two musical phrases, one with an open ending, the other closed.  followed by the cauda with a closed ending.


The musical form for a stanza is then something like AAB


In Machaut‘s later balldes the closing cadences which occurs at the end of the pedes and on the refrain line of the cauda are musically identical


the most intricate of the formes fixes and the first to assume a distinctive formal shape.


Monophonic forms occur in the Roman de la Rose (early 13th c) and polyphonic forms were written at the end of the century by Adam de la Hale.


The basic form is ABaAabAB, but it came to be expanded by Machaut through the additions of melismatic writing and additional lines of text.


These larger rondeaux were known as rondeau quartrain when the refrain A comprised four lines, cinquain when it comprised five, etc.


Sometimes the last line contains an unexpected “punch line“, often humorous, sometimes grim.

Example: Dufay’s Adieu ces bons vins


first appeared in France near the end of the 13th c.


A three-voice example appears amongst the rondeaux of Adam de la Hale, monophonic examples appear in the Roman de Fauvel.


The derivation of the form is unclear.  It may come from the Cantigas de Santa Maria or from 13th c Italian lauda.


Its form is as follows: refrain -verse 1 – refrain – verse 2 – refrain – verse 3- refrain. 


Verses are cast in pedes cum cauda form.  The two pedes use the same music, though sometimes the first has an open cadence and the second a closed cadence.  The music for the cauda is the same as the music for the refrain.


The overall form of a three verse virelai then is: AbbaAbbaAbbaA (A = refrain, b = pedes, a = cauda)

Franco of Cologne

author of Ars musica mensurabilis, he codified mensural rhythm around 1280.


This new rhythmic system shifted the beat from the longa to the breve, thus allowing semibreves to be the main beat dividers.


This allowed Western music the potential for accentual rhythm based on stress and beat differentiation.


His concept of “imperfections” eventually led to their use at all metric levels, thus allowing for notation of all meters and syncopation.


German Flagellant’s songs of the 14th c — related to laude

Gloria Patri

the doxology which usually follows the last verse of a psalm.


In chantbooks, the doxology is represented by the abbreviation EVOVAE.


The doxology was added to these chants in order to further Chritianize them

Goliard songs

the earliest examples of secular songs.


The Goliard songs were written in Latin and date from the 11th and 12th c.


The songs were written by the wandering Goliard monks, and often deal with wine, women and satire.


Orff adapted some of these songs in his Carmina Burana


A responsorial chant which used formulaic melodic construction.


It was performed from the steps in front of the alter during the Catholic mass after the Epistle but before the Gospel.


The Gradual uses only a single psalm verse without Doxology so the resultant form is: solo intonation and choral respond – solo verse – choral respond.


An example of Gradual is the Easter Gradual, Haec Dies


a liturgical book which contains all the music for the Roman-Catholic mass (both Proper and Ordinary)

Guido d’Arrezo

author of the Micrologues (1025-28).


Credits Boethius with attributing musical intervals to mathematical ratios.


Used the monochord to illustrate this.


Departs form Greek theory in constructing scales not based on tetrachords.


His modes have no connection with tonoi or harmonia

Guidonian hand

a mnemonic device attributed (probably falsely) to Guido used for locating the pitches of the diatonic scale.


Different joints of the fingers represented various hexachord pitches and solmisation syllables.

Hermannus Contractus

Benedictine monk, musician and theorist alive in the first half of the 11th c.


Composed many antiphons including Alma Redemptoris Mater and wrote an important treatis which dealt systematically with modes

Hildegaard von Bingen

12th c German mystic who was abbess at the convent in Rupertsberg.


She is noted for her sequences, of which she wrote the text and the verse, and which features large ranges (sometimes over two octaves).


She was given a blessing by the Pope for her book of visions called the Scivius


a popular medieval technique which featured a melodic line being split up in short note values between two or more voices.  One voice would rest while the other sang and vice versa.


This practice involved many short rests interspersed with quick notes and resemble hiccupping.


It frequently marks the end of a talea in an isorhythmic motet, and was said to be favored among hot-blooded young men because of its quick tempo.


Found often in secular conductus and motets of the 13th c and more often, the 14th C


a chant in which a number of stanzas of poetry each with the same number of lines, syllables per line, and rhyme schemes are all repeated to the same music


described by John Cotton as a musical comma less conclusive than the clausula or musical period


the first section of the Roman Catholic mass (part of the Proper).


The music originally consisted of an entire psalm with antiphon (antiphon – psalm verse……… antiphon – doxology – antiphon) but was later shortened to just one verse. 


The music of the Introit was meant to accompany the entrance of the priest

Jacob of Liege

Author of Speculum musicae (the musical mirror ca 1325) and defender of ars antiqua against the modern rhythmic advances propounded by ars nova composers

Jeu de Robin et de Marion

A musical play written by Adam de la Halle in about 1284.


Contains a number of popular chansons (rondeau, ballade, virelai), some of which are polyphonic

Johannes de Grocheo

Theorist active around 1300, he states in his De Musica that church modes can only be applied to chant, not polyphony (because of the different ambitus of different voices).


Defined the motet as a composition having multiplicity of texts.


He advised composing each of the separate polyphonic voices in turn and advised placing the motetus a fifth above the tenor and the triplum an octave above the tenor.


He delineated a number of musical forms (including estampies and ductia) and also commented on the rhythmic relationship between tempus and perfection (three tempi in a perfection)


a class of professional musicians appearing in the 10th c.


They were singers of chansons de geste and traveled about the countryside performing this music.


They were not poets or composers, though, and often sang the compositions of the trouveres and troubadours


Medieval poetical and musical form cultivated by the Trouveres and Troubadors of France in the 12-13th c (called Leich by the German minnesingers).


It was a long poem of 6-16 lines of 4-8 syllables, and it may address the Virgin Mary or a lady, or be didactic.


Its form mirrored the sequence, in x aa bb cc ….y.  The repeated pairs were called double versicles.  However, the form was by no means strict.


There could be triple or quadruple repetitions and unrepeated lines may occur, and the first and last lines were not always unrepeated.


The lai was monophonic until the 14th C, when Guilliame de Machaut set 2 of his 18 lais polyphonically in the form of the chace, which was a 3-part canon at the unison (all voices in strict imitation)

Landini, Francesco

1325-97.  Leading composer of the second generation of trecento composers in Italy.


Especially known for his ballate and use of the “Landini cadence”, in which the movement form a sixth to an octave is embellished in the upper voice by a descending second followed by a leap of a third.


Wrote no music to sacred texts.


Monophonic: sung in lay confraternities and by processions of penitents, with music of a vigorous, popular character, similar in form to the ballata.


Polyphonic: popular nonliturgical devotional four-part song, in Latin or Italina.  Similar to Frottola, generally syllabic, homophonic and regularly rhythmic, with melody on top.


Usually did not use chant themes or Franco-Flemish church style


1159-1201.  With Perotin, part of the Notre Dame school.


One of the first known composers of polyphony.


Wrote Magnus liber organi.  In his organum, he juxtaposed old (florid organum) and new (discant clausulae) elements.

Liber Usualis

a book containing the most frequently used chants from both the Antiphonale (music for the offices) and the Gradule (music for the mass)

Guillaume de Machaut

The leading composer of Ars Nova in France, he loved ca 1300-1377.


Famous as both a musician and a poet.


His 23 motets continue the contemporary trends toward greated secularity, greater length, and much greater rhythmic complexity.


He also wrote many monophonic songs, continuing the trouvere tradition.


He often introduced rhythmic complexities into the formes fixes.


His style feature parallel fifths and pungent dissonances but uses more thirds and sixths and fuller sounds than the ars antiqua, though not yet arroaching the contenance angloise.


Two of Machaut’s more famous compositions are the rondeau “Mon fin est mon commencement et mon commencement est mon fin”, and the Messe de Notre Dame, a four-part setting of the Ordinary of the Mass

madrigal (early)

One of three types of secular Italian compositions represented in the Squarcialupi Codex (1420).


Usually two-voice compositions with idyllic, pastoral, amatory, or satirical texts of two to three three-line stanzas set to the same music.


A two-line ritornello follows each stanza.


The madrigal tends to have melismas at the ends and sometimes beginning of lines, similar to the style of earlier conductus


One of the Biblical canticles, sung with an antiphon, at the end of Vesper.  The text appears in St Luke’s Gospel is at least partially of Jewish origin.


The use of the Magnificat was first prescribed as common practice in the Rules of St. Benedict.


The Vespers cantical Magnificat anima mea Dominum is the only office that admitted polyphonic singing from early times.

Magnus liber organi

The great book of Organum.  A cycle of two-part Graduals, Alleluias, and responsories written by Leonin for the entire church year.


No longer exists in original form

Marchettus of Padua

Pomerium, 1318.


Describes the basis of the Iatlian system of notation, which involved dividing semibreves into groups set off by dots, with letter signs to indicate various possible conbination in duple and triple subdivions.


The system was convenient for the singing of florid melodic lines

Marian antiphons

Four late antiphons composed to honor the virgin Mary


the principal service of the Catholic church.  (the word is derived from the closing phrase, “Ite missa est”)


The full ceremonial form is the High Mass (Missa solemnis), which includes considerable chanting by a Celebrant, a Deacon, and Subdeacon, along with chanting or polyphonic singing by the choir and/or the congregation.


The Low Mass is a shortened form which is spoken rather than sung.


The Mass is three-art, consisting of the Introductory, the Liturgy of the Word, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.


The parts which are variable are called the Proper, while those that stay the same are called the Ordinary

Messe de Notre Dame

The most famous musical composition of the 14th c.


It is this four-part setting by Machaut of the Ordinary of the Mass together with the dismissal formula, Ite, missa set.


It is important because of its spacious deminsions, four-part texture, and the fact that it is clearly planned as a musical whole

modal rhythm

codified by 1250, the system which 11th and 12th c composers devised for the notation of rhythm.


It was based on certain numbered rhythmic patterns, six in all, which corresponded to the metrical feet of Latin and French verse.


I to the Trochee, II to the Iamb, III to the dactyl, IV to the anapest etc/


I and V were most common, while IV is rare.


A melody in a certain mode should consist of an indefinite number of repetitions of the pattern, each phrase ending with a rest, which replaced the second note of the pattern.


Usually, though, the system was nore flexible

Monastery of St. Gall

an important centre for troping, where Tuotilo worked, as well as Notker the Stammerer

Mood (modus)

This was the principle that described the relationship of the long to the breve (perfect -3, imperfect – 2) in the 14th century expansion of Franconian rhythms and notions of perfection v.s. imperfection

Montpellier Codex

The largest and most sumptuous of the original motet manuscript sources from motets of 2nd half of the 13th c.


Probably compiled c. 1300.


Only polyphonic motets occur in this text.


Such motets include French and Latin double motets, Latin triple motets, macaronic double motets, Fr, 2-part motets.


There are no siorhythmic motets. and examples though anonymous have eventually been attributed to Adam de la Halle, Petrus de Cruce, and even works of Perotin




begins ca. mid 13th c. 


A genre assocaited first with the Notre Dame school of Leonin and Perotin, believed to have developed out of the separation of the clausulae from the organa.


Words in rhymed Latin text were added to the upper voices


Named by a compound title consisting the incipit (first few words) of each of the voices.  Most were anonymous

isomelic motet

late 13th c. practice of melodic repetitions corresponding to the repetitions of the tenor melody. 


May be considered a sort of medieval variation technique, with voice exchange and altered phrasing

isoperiodic motet

First developed in england, isoperiodicity indicates a rational phrase relationship between two or more voices.


Around the turn of the 14th c, this technique was further developed so that a chosen phrase length permeates each part, but is offset to create a structure of overlapping phrases

Isorhythmic motet

At the end of the 13th c, the motet increased in scale, and so a large scale organizing technique was needed to keep pieces cohesive.


As an outgrowth of the rhythmic modes, which were a fixed short patterns throughout a piece, isorhythm referred to esp the tenor, and had two components: the color or melodic pattern, and the talea, or rhythmic pattern.


The patterns were typically of different lengths, or in uneven ratios, and this allowed for overlapping.


The system is artificial and elaborate but makes for interesting variations in texture.


It is a development of the ars nova period of the 14th C and can be found in the works of Machaut and Dufay

Single-texted motet

Also known as the conductus-motet, defined by Johannes de Grocheo around 1300 as three or four-voiced motet in which the upper voices all sing the same text, thus forming conductus-like texture above the tenor

Franconian motet

13th C Composer introduced differences in style between each voice of the motet, so that each is in a different rhythmic mode, usually slow to fast from the bottom up

Petronian motet

late 13th c Petrus de Cruce wrote motets in which the triplum attained an unprecedented speed, through division of the breve into more than 3 semibreves.


This effectively resulted in a patter song where the top voice sings quite fast, the motetus moves somewhat slower, and the tenor seems to move in slow motion

English motet

The English comception of motet is much more inclusive than that found on the continent.


It includes not only the traditional cantus firmus motet, but also settings in motet style of a complete liturgical plainchant and motets on newly-composed tenors (motet on a pes).


English motet featured more use of isomelism, isoperiodicity, and voice exchange.


English compositions also featured more tonal unity and less rhythmci complexity (modes 2 and 3 are nearly non-existant) than their continental counterparts

Musica/Scolica enchiriadis

9th c.  An anonymous treatise and textbook in dialogue form.


Earliest source in which organum is described, both parallel and oblique.


They describe organum as a well-established practice, suggesting that organum had been around since the eighth century and possible earlier

musica ficta

Theorists of the late 12th -16th c used this term in opposition to musica vera or recta to designate extensions notes outside the hexachord system contained in the Guidonian hand.


It is accepted now that notated polyphony of this period required that performers raise or lower notes in performance for the sake of perfect consonances and cadential correctness.


Musicians of the time were expected to be familiar with the rules governing the practice


the process whereby a certain note were taken as if it were in one hexachord and quitted as if it were in another, allowing a melody to exceed a six-note range, thus changing from one hexachord to another


marks used for the notation of plain chant.


Non-diastemic neumes indicate the melodic directio but not precise melodic intervals.


diastemic neumes grew out of the 13th c French square notation and showed not only direction, but also precise intervals on a musical staff

Notker the Stammerer

840-912.  A monk of St. Gall who claimed to have invented the sequence when he began to write words syllabically under certain long melismas as an aid to memorizing the tune

Notre Dame

became a major cultural center through a confluence of political, religious and educational events in the 12th c.


The Notre Dame School of composition (as embodied by Leonin and Perotin) became the source of an international style that remained in vogue until the 14th c.


This style had its genesis in the music and liturgy of Notre Dame and featured not only the birth of organum purum but also the later codificatio of rhythmic notation, and the birth of the motet

Office (Canonical Hours)

First codified ca 520, the Offices are celebrated every day at stated times in a regular order: :Matin (predawn), Lauds (sunrise), Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers (sunset), and Compline (after Vespers).


Consists of prayers, psalms canticles, antiphons, reponses, hymns, and readings.


Music for the Offices is found in the Antiphonale.


Musically, the Offices involve the chanting of psalms with their antiphons, and the chanting of lessons with their responsories.


Matins, Lauds, and Vespers are the most important musically.


Vespers is the only one which admitted polyphonic singing from early times


A phrase of one or more statements of a modal pattern that ended in a rest.


They were described in terms of the number of repetitions in the pattern and the position of the concluding rest.


A perfect ordo would end on the first note of the pattern, followed by a rest that substituted for the second half of the pattern


Anonymous IV is known to have covered the topics of rhythmic modes


earliest form of polyphony, first appears in sources ca. late 9th c.


First, involves only parallel motion in perfect intervals.  Then oblique motion was added to avoid the appearance of the tritones, and finally contrary motion was added.


The vox organalis is usually above the vox principalis (the orginal chant melody), but there is some voice crossing.


The largest collection of 11th c organum is in the Winchester Troper.

First references to organum are in Musica enchiriadis and Scolica enchiriadis.


In the early 12th c, florid organum appears, in which the solo voice sings several or many notes to each of the plainchant notes.


Later in the 12th and 13th c when the voices moved in similar measured rhythm (according to the rhythmic modes), the was termed discant.

Partial signatures

A key signature in which at least one accidentail is omitted.


It was common in the Renaissance when the “missing” accidental would not be use in all vocal parts.


In baroque music, partial signature still ocurred, in minor keys with fewer flats than we now associate with their keys.  (Dorian key signature)


One such Renaissance example is Josquin’s motet Absolon fili mi, where some voice parts range in keys signature from 2-4 flats

Pastourelle (pasrorela)

troubadour form of poetry (vers) which portrays the often witty dialog between a shepherdess and a knight who tries to seduce her


three-beat unit in Franconian rhythm, comprising three tempi or beats, analogous to the modern day measure


One of the Notre Dame School of composers.


He was active around the turn of the 13th c.


He supposedly edited the Magnus liber organi and was reputedly a fine composer of clausulae, discant, and quadrupla (better than Leonin).


Perotin allegedly composed many substitute clausulae to replace certain sections of Leonin’s organum purum

pedes cum cauda

named by Dante, this is a form in which two pedes (feet) are followed by a cauda (tail).


It appears throughout medieval music, and finds an analogy in the German bar form used by the Minnesingers which comprises two stollen and an abgesang.


In either case, the two earlier parts (pedes or stollen )are similar, while the final part (cauda or abgesang) is dissimilar

Petrus de Cruce

Composer and theorist of the late 13th C.


In c. 1280, the tripla (top voice of the motets of that time) starting to progressively move faster, named Petronian after the most prominent use of this style.


Composers wanted to maintain speech rhythms in their tripla, so they looked for a way to divide the tempus into more than 3 semibreves.  One way was to line up the voices in score notation so that one could see the tempus in the lower parts, but this was precious waste of resources.


Petrus developed the dot (punctus divisionis), which was placed in between semibreves to group them. 


Later editors would have trouble sometimes recognizing the divisio punctus from a dot that extended the duration of the note, but they could usually figure it out

Phillipe de Vitry

1291-1361Bishop of Meaux, and French composer and poet, he wrote a treatise on Ars nova, or the “new art” 1322-23).


This new style included: acceptance of the duple division of long and breve along with triple, and the use of four or more semibreves as equal to one breve, as Petrus de Cruce was doing in his motets


this was the principle that described the relationship of the semibreve to the minim (major / minor) in the 14th c expansion of Franconian rhythms and notions of perfection vs imperfection.


prose text added to an already existing, but non-texted, chant melisma.


Usually set syllabically.


Prosula underlines the meaning of the orginal chant. 


Often added to jubilus of Alleluia

psalm tones

form of chant used for recitation of prayers and readings from the Bible, on the border between speech and song.


It consists of a reciting note or tenor to which each verse or period of the text is rapidly chanted.


Upper or lower neighbors are used to bring out important words or syllables.


May be preceded by a two-or three-note introductory formula called the initium.  At the end there is a short melodic cadence

reciting tone

a single note to which each verse of text in a psalm tone is rapidly chanted, also called the tenor.


The note chosen depended upon the mode in which the psalm was chanted

red notation

a special device used by Vitry and others which indicated a temporary shift from perfect to imperfect mensuration or vice versa


Short popular melodies quoted in French motets, found in the triplum or motetus.


Developed mid-13th c

responsorial psalmody

alternation in a psalm between the congregation or chours and a soloist.


In the early church, this was sometimes just a one-word response by the congregation between verses of a psalm (alleluia or kyrie eleison).


By the 9th c, it became exclusively a choral reponse to the soloist.


In the Mass, the Gradual and Alleluia follow this form, while in the Offices there are the Great and Short Responsories

Roman de Fauvel

1310-16.  Earliest 14th c musical document from France, this is a manuscript containing the satirical poem Roman de Fauvel, and 167 pieces of music, mostly monophonic: rondeaux, ballades, chanson-refrains, and some plainsong, but also 34 polyphonic motets.


Texts include denumciations of the clergy and allusions to contemporary political events


a type of conductus involving voice exchange between all three voices.


Related to the voice-exchange motet, which uses the rondellus technique, either on a simple level, or on a large scale.


Medieval name for a round, particularly Sumer is Icumen in (which also features the use of a tenor pes)


The rota features consecutive entrances of voices at equal distances from each other, and voices that imitate at the unison or octave, and also maintain rhythmic durations of the original voice.

Santiago de Compostela

a monastery in northwest Spain where there is located a manuscript of early florid organum (12th c) (Codex Calixtinus)


A book of Hildegard von Bingen’s visions which the Pope read and gave her a blessing for


Long textless melismas which were used as extensions or additions to chant.


Particularly added to the jubilus of the Alleluia.


Called sequentia cum prosa when text is included

Squaricialupi Codex

a copious source of Italian polyphony from the 14th c.


Named after a former owner, a Florentine organist, it was probably copied ca 1420.


It contains 352 different pieces, mostly for two and three voices, by twelve composers.


It includes portraits of each composer.


Three types of composition are: madrigal, caccia and ballata

substitute clausula

discant clausulae written to replace sections in discant style in organa.


At first, no words were added, but later, words were fitted to them.  Eventually, these sections separated from the organa genre and developed into the motet


the 15th and 16th c term for beat, both in terms of tempo and conductor’s beat


this was the principle that described the relationship of the breve to the semibreve (perfect/ imperfect) in the 14th century expansion of Franconian rhythms and notions of perfections vs imperfection


the voice (originally in plainchant) which holds the preexistent chant

tonus peregrinus (wandering tone)

the 9th pslam tone which does not correspond to a church mode


Musical changes to a chant of the Proper or the Ordinary.


Adds either musical melismas or text and music.


Originally a newly composed addition, usually in neumatic style and with a poetic text, to one of the antiphonal chants of the Proper (esp, the Introit).


Later, such additions were also made to the Ordinary (esp the Gloria).


Tropes served as prefaces to a chant or were interpolations of its text and music.


They flourished in the 10th and 11th c., and died out in the 12th.


The monastery at St. Gall, where the famous Notker the Stammerer resided, was known as the center of troping.

Troubadours / trouveres

secular court musicians of the 12th and 13th c.


Generally accomplished poets but amateur musicians. 


The troubadours were from Provence (S. France) and wrote in Provencal, or langue d’oc.  They flourished in aristocratic settings, but not all were from the upper class.


Before the 13th c, their poetry focused on the idea of courtly love.  The Albigensian Crusade marks an end to the freedom of expression in Provence, and later troubadour writing relfects this.


The poetry is written with the ars ritmica principles of line length, and is mostly set syllabically with moderate ornamentation.


Poetic forms used include the likes of the pastorela and ballada.


Musical form is either oda continua or pedes cum cauda.


Since it was primarily an oral tradition, extand sources are limited.


In the mid-12th c., Eleanor of Aquitaine brought the troubadour tradition north, where it developed into the trouvere tradition.


Trouveres wrote in langue d’oil.


Like the troubadours, they wrote in an aristocratic setting, but this changed somewhat with the rise of the middle-class in the 13thc.


Trouvere music is better preserved than that of the troubadours.  Most sources date from latter half of the 13th c


13th c Italian court musicians following the tradition of the troubadours


d. 915.  a monk from the Monastery at St. Gall, who was distinguished for his trope

Ut queant laxis

hymn set by Guido so that the notes C-D-E-F-G-A fell on syllables Ut through La.


this was the basis of his system of hexachords


12th c Aquitaine.


A musical setting, monophonic or polyphonic, of a metrical Latin poem that was often sacred but not necessarily liturgical.


It features a newly composed melody and was the antecedent of the conductus.


It was some of the earliest polyphony not based on chant

vox principalis/ organalis

In earliest organum, the “vox principales” moved in parallel motion above the “vox organalis“.


Later, after the addition of oblique and contrary motion, the voice reversed positions, with organalis on top, though there were frequent voice crossings.


With the innovation of florid organum in the 12th C, also called Aquitanian polyphony and organum purum or durum, the vox prinicipalis on the bottom held long sustained tones, and was later called the tenor, from Latin “tenere”.


The upper voice moved melismatically above.


The older version of note to note was called discant

Winchester Troper

Two 11th c manuscripts, now at Cambridge university, which contain 174 two-voice organa, many of which are believed to have been written by Wulfstan.


They are written in non-diastemic meumes.

Precise transcription is impossible.


This troper is the only source of actual performance repertoire of its time


From the Greek hemilios, meaning “the whole and a half“.


In the 15th C it was used to signify the substitution of 3 imperfect notes for 2 perfect ones in the tempus perfectum (a mensuration of 3 semibreves to the breve) or prolatio major (3 minims to the semibreve).


Such substitution were usually notated using coloration.


Now simply refers to 3 against 2 in an equal amount of time, whether between voices or successive measures

Mensural notation

system of notation used from ca. 1260-1600.


It evolved as a system to notate more complex rhythms beyond the possibilites of previous notations (neumes), and reached its classical development around 1450.


Phillipe de Vitry played a major hand in its developement, in his highly instrumental treatise “Ars Nova” in 1320.


Mensural notation was predicated on a single underlying musical pulse and following divisions of time: modus-division of the longa into 2or 3 breve, tempus-division of the breve into 2 or 3 semibreve, and prolatio-division of the semibreve into 2-3 minima.


Division were major or perfect if they were triple, or minor or imperfect if they were duple

modal transformation

the term used until the 13th c that permits the notation of a mode up a perfect fourth on the basis that the necessary b-flat in the transposition transforms G Tetrardus into G Protus.


This is different from modal transposition which allows for modes to be notated up perfect fifth.


This permitted b-flat to be a replacement from e-flat and f to replace the non-existent low b-flat (example protus on A)

missa longs/ somenmis vs brevis

The Missa Solemnis is the High Mass in its full form with all items sung as opposed to the Missa Lecta (or read Mass) and the Missa Brevis in which an abbreviated musical setting is provided (usually just the Kyrie and Gloria)


the practice of monophonic (often antiphonal) psalm singing.


This is the oldest western musical tradition and evolved in three phase.


Psalmody in the Jewish temple was often loud and boisterous, accomp by loud instruments and dancing.


After the Roman destruction of the temple (70AD) psalmody in the synagogue was quite and introspective with no instruments or dancing.


Fianlly, Christian psalmody borrowed many of its characteristics from synagogue psalmody(no instruments or dancing) and may have even borrowed a number of the psalm melodies (this point is disputed)

Votive antiphon

Any of the 4 important antiphons for the Blessed Virgin Mary (Marian antiphons) sung at the end of Compline, or a polyphonic setting of one of these.


The 4 Marian antiphons are “Alma Redemptoris Mater”, “Ave Regina caelorum” “Regina caeli laetare” and “Salve Regina”.


These date from the 11th C and after.


They are rather more elaborate than the antiphones of the Psalms and canticles, and have been set polyphonically by numerous composers, esp in the 15th and 16th C