Greek mathematician that invented the monochord and defined the ratios of the octave (2:1), the fifth (3:2), and the fourth (4:3). He believed that numbers defined everything in our universe.


Ancient Greek instrument with a single string and a moveable bridge. Was used to create the perfect intervals.

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

order now

“Music of the Spheres.”

Too much athletics=harshness.

Too much music=effeminate.

Lawlessness leads to anarchy.

Recommended use of the Dorian and Phrygian modes because they foster temperance and courage.

“Music of the Spheres”
Plato’s idea that states: the unheard music produced by the harmonious relationships among the planets as they revolve around the Earth.
He came up with the “3 kinds of music” in his treatise De institutione musica. The 3 kinds are musica mundana, musica humana, and musica instrumentalis.
Musica Mundana
The numerical relations controlling the movement of the planets, changing of seasons, and combination of elements.
Musica Humana
Harmonized and unifies the body and sould and their parts.
Musica Instrumentalis
Audible music produced by instruments and voices.
Ancient Greek instrument that was like a double flute. Could have a single or double reed. Was the “bad” instrument for them. Used to worship the Dionysus, god of fertility and wine.
A large member of the lyre family. A stringed instrument associated with “good” or divine things. Used to worship Apollo.
Music and Poetry (melos)
For the ancient greeks, these were synonymous. The song (melos) was made up of speech, rhythm, and harmony.
Theory of Imitation
Aristotle’s idea that we imitate the passion that the music we listen to portrays. Good music makes good people, bad music makes bad people. Closely associated with the concept of ethos, music affects/shapes our ethos.
Dorian and Phrygian
The modes of music designate by Plato as good. He rejected the other modes and deemed them as bad.
Wrote “Harmonic Elements.” This is where the idea of the tetrachord came from. 3 types of tetrachords: Diatonic, Chromatic, Enharmonic.
A 4 note scale spanning a perfect fourth.
Diatonic Tetrachord
Intervals of two whole tones and one semitone. For example, the first four notes of a major scale.
Chromatic Tetrachord
Intervals of a minor third and two semitones. For example C-Eb-E-F.
Enharmonic Tetrachord
Intervals of a major third and two quarter tones. For example, C-E-E#-F
Roman Empire
These people developed their culture stealing Art, architecture, philosophy, and other aspects from the Greek culture.
Epitaph of Seikilos
Ancient Greek tombstone containing a poem and what seems to be an example of early notated music. Dates back to the first century A.D. (NAWM 1)
Pope Gregory
Supposed to have wrote down the chant melodies, guided by divine inspiration. It may also have been that he simply ordered the writing of the chants.
Chant and Plainchant
Unison unaccompanied song, particularly that of the Latin liturgy. Gregorian Chant is what stemmed from the legend of Pope Gregory. Frankish monks and nuns laboriously wrote out all these by hand.
Odo of Cluny
Came up with the idea of neumes.
A sign used in notation of chant to indicate a certain number of notes and general melodic direction or particular pitches.
Guido of Arezza
Came up with the “Thin Red Line” that was the earliest form of readable notation. His followers came up with the solfege system of the Guidonian Hand.
The Church Modes

Authentic: Dorian (D-D), Phrygian (E-E), Lydian (F-F), Mixolydian (G-G).

Plagal: Hypodorian (A-A), Hypophrygian (B-B), Hypolydian (C-C), Hypomixolydian (D-D).

Thin Red Line
The beginning of modern notation. A line that designated a sound. Neumes were placed around it. With this system, sight reading could happen.
Expanded on an existing chant melody with either (1) adding new words and music before the chant and often between phrases; (2) adding a new melody only by extending melismas or adding new ones; or (3) adding new text set to existing melismas.
Follows the Alleluia of a mass, probably as a text addition. Began as tropes but quickly became independent compositions.
A distinct section of a chant in which 2-part polyphony in discant style replace the monophonic chant.
A string of pitches all sung on one syllable.
A style that adds new text to an exact same melody.
Compiled the Magnus liber organi. Worked at the cathedral of Notre Dame as a priest and poet-musician.
Trained under Leonin. Composed “very many better clausulae” and updated the Magnus liber.
Magnus Liber Organi
A collection of the two-voice settings of the solo portions of the responsorial chants for the major feasts of the church year, some or all of which he (Leonin) himself composed.
Guidonian Hand
A system of solfege based on the human hand. It’s the beginning of the do-re-mi system, except “ut” was used instead of “do.”
Hildegard Von Bingen
A nun who founded her own convent. She wrote religious poems and prose and set many of them to music. She wrote Ordo Virtutum, the earliest musical drama not attached to the liturgy.
Poet-composers of southern France who wrote monophonic songs in Occitan. Came from many backgrounds: Craftsmen, minstrels, kings, etc.
Franco of Cologne
Developed a new type of motet called Franconian. The triplum bears a longer text than the motetus and features a faster-moving melody with many short notes.
Discant Clausula
More consonant that organa and have relatively short phrases and more lively pacing because both voices move in modal rhythm, creating contrast with the surrounding unmeasured sections of organa.
Reciting Tone
Known as the tenor in a mode or chant. Second most important note in a mode, often emphasized in chant and used for reciting text in a psalm tone.
Final Tone
The main note in a mode; the normal closing note of a chant in that mode.
The syllables of solmization: ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la. Now we have do instead of ut and have added ti.
Polyphonic vocal composition. Early ones add text to existing discant clausula. 13th Century ones have 1 or more voices above a tenor from a chant melody. May have a sacred or secular French or Latin text. 14th century ones feature isorhythm and may have a contratenor. 15th century, Any polyphonic latin text. 16th century, and sacred text in another language.
Style of early polyphony involving adding one or more voices to an existing chant. Two types (1) parallel: two voices moved in parallel fourths and fifths; (2) Oblique and Contrary: was not parallel motion. Avoided tritone and dissonant intervals.
Rhythmic Modes
6 patterns of long (L) and short/breve (B) syllables: LB, BL, LBB, BBL, LL, BBB.
Two or more simulataneous, independent melodies.
Notre Dame
Through Leonin and Perotin, many types of polyphony were developed here. The Magnus Liber Organi, clausula, organum, and motet were all this that occured here and became part of their repertory. It was also the center of Medieval Paris.
Three Stages: Introductory prayers, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Mass Liturgy
Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Gradual, Alleluia, Sequence, Credo, Offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Communion, Ite missa est.
The voice part that has the chant or other borrowed melody.
Cantus Firmus
Existing chant melody with polyphonic music.
Musica Enchiriadis
Music Handbook from the 9th century. Organum is described here a “singing together.” Two types of organum, (1) parallel, (2) oblique and contrary.
Section of the Mass for Christmas (Christ-mass) Day. No particular author, simply a gregorian chant. Words are melismas of Kyrie Eleison over and over again. (NAWM 3b CD1|8)
Victimae Paschali Laudes
Sequence by Wipo of Burgundy. Victimae Paschali Laudes are the first words of the first phrase. (NAWM 5 CD1|29)
Viderunt Omnes

The Gradual of a Gregorian Chant Mass. There’s a basic Chant one (NAWM 3j CD 1|22) There’s one by Leoninus which is duplum with a drone on bottom and a soloist up top. More singers enter after 1 minute. (NAWM 17 CD1|57) and one by Perotinus is with 4 voices, drone on bottom (NAWM 19 CD 1|67).


Ordo Virtutum: In principio omnes
From Hildegard’s Virtues play. Has a drone in the background. Voices are monophonic. In principia omnes are first words. Reciting and Final Tones are E. Most cadences end on reciting tone. (NAWM 7 CD1|33)
Motets on Tenor Dominus

Tenor Dominus is a long melisma.

All 4 are based on same chant melody.

Factum est salutare and Fole acostumance: Duplum (NAWM 21a,b CD 2|1-3)

Super Te/Sed Fulsit: Both are Triplum. The second one has 2 tenors. (NAWM 21c,d CD 2|4-5)

Chants from Vespers for Christmas Day

Gregorian Chant Office (NAWM 4 CD 1|24-28)

First psalm with anitphon: first verse unison, then all join monophonically. After that is a long section that sounds really repetitive.

Hymn: Christe Redemptor Omnium

Can Vei La Lauzeta Mover

Single man singing. It’s a lament. It’s in French. Troubadour song. Strophic.

The rhyming pattern in the same in every stanza.

Note tails: Up=go up, down=go down

Free rhythm. (NAWM 8 CD 1|36)

Sumer is icumen in

Sang in an old form of english. Late Middle Ages. Listen for “Sumer is Icumen in” and “Cuckoo.” It’s a summer canon. Tenors do a canon on sing cuckoo. The 4 part canon between the top voices doesn’t happen until second full repeat.

Almost renaissance sounding. (NAWM 23 CD 2|9)

Predecessor to the trombone. May have had other similar brass instruments made at the same time.
Early String Instruments
The viol family was created around this time. These are predecessors to the bowed string family.
Early Wind Instruments
There was a family of shawms and recorders.
Introduced by the Arabs into Spain, this is the predecessor to the guitar. It has a rounded back and somewhere around 15 strings.
One of the earliest keyboard instruments. Came in many sizes, from laptop style to built into the wall style. Needs air, which was usually pumped a bellows.

The study of the humanities and things pertaining to human knowledge. They studied what the ancient Greeks did.

In music, it was bringing back the music theory discovered by the Greeks.

Double Leading Tone Cadence
3 or 4 note cadence, where two of the notes are leading tones to either the tonic or the fifth. It resolves by the leading tones going up.
Landini Cadence
Progression from the M6 to the 8ve is ornamented by a lower neighbor leaping up a third in the top voice.
Carlo Gesualdo
Amateur musician and nobleman. Murdered his wife and her lover when he walked in on them. Wrote music that was way ahead of his time. The methods he used didn’t start coming into use until the 20th century. His most famous piece is Io Parto.
Word Painting
Writing music so that it reflects the meaning of the words and creates imagery. For example, if the word is ascend, then the music rises.
Developed by Ottaviano Petrucci. It put music into the hands of the people so they could play it on their own and enjoy it.
Music as a business

Ottaviano Petrucci used the moveable type printing to create printed music. He had a monopoly on the music printing business for twenty years.

Josquin des Prez had his music published and made money off of it. Publishers even put Josquin’s name on other peoples works so they would sell better.

3rds and 6ths
Made popular by the English. They used these intervals in parallel motion. It created a bright, harmonious texture.
Io Parto
By Carlo Gesualdo. Uses dissonance, consonance, chromaticism, diatonicism, homophonic, imitative, slow, and fast tools all in the same song. Erotic in nature. Uses word painting. This kind of writing wasn’t seen again until the 20th century. (NAWM  55 CD 3|57)
La Messe de Nostre Dame
Guillaume De Machaut. Kyrie uses a lot of isorhythm and talea. Occasionally uses syncopation and hocket. Uses some double leading tone cadences. (NAWM 25 CD 2|16)
Equal rhythmic patten seen in various places spots throughout a piece or a part of a piece. Usually in the tenor.
The repeated rhythmic pattern in an isorhythmic composition.
Foy Porter
Guillaume De Mauchaut. French love song (virelai) sang by a single female voice. Three stanzas, each preceeded and followed by a refrain. In F Lydian mode. (NAWM 26 CD 2|23)
Rose, Liz, Printemps, Verdure
Guillaume De Mauchaut. This is a Rondeau, which is a trouveres love song. There are examples of hocket, isorhythm, and syncopation in here. The triplum voice is decorative. (NAWM 27 CD 2|24)
Quam Pulchra Es
John Dunstable. No strong difference between Tenor and other voices. Homophonic. Double leading tone cadence about midway, Landini cadence at end. Text from Song of Solomon. Triads outlined. Very consonant. 3rds and 6ths prominent. Ionian mode. (NAWM 33 CD 2|42)
Augmentation and Diminution
Extending a rhythmic idea by double or some other value = augmentation, the opposite is diminution.
Se la face ay pale
Guillaume Du Fay. Ballade. Nationalistic. Freely composed. Syncopation. Leapy contratenor. Mensural Proportions. (NAWM 37 CD 2|51-59)
Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen
Henricus Isaac. Polyphonic lied that is either an arrangement of a folk or popular melody, or a completely new piece. (NAWM 40 CD 2|66)
Ave Maria…Virgo Serena
Josquin Des Prez. Imitation everywhere. Motet. Based on the sequence sung on the feast of annunciation. (NAWM 41 CD 2|67)
Missa Pange Lingua: Kyrie
Josquin Des Prez. Imitation. Paraphrase mass. (NAWM 42 CD 3|1)
Il bianco e dolce cigno
Jacques Arcadelt. Song about orgasms, “little death.” A madrigal. (NAWM 52 CD 3|46)
Crude Amarilli
Claudio Monteverdi. Madrigal. About bitter love. Contains dissonances abnormal for the time. These dissonances convey meaning of piece. This is close to the beginning of the Baroque era, so the Basso seguente (later, basso continuo) is seen here. (NAWM 66 CD 4|17)
Wrote the Liber de arte contrapuncti, or book on the art of counterpoint. He insisted that anyone before dunstable was not worth listening to because it was all too dissonant.
Continental style of polyphony in the early renaissance, in which two voices are written, moving mostly in parallel sixths and ending each phrase on an octave, while a third unwritten voice is sung in parallel perfect fourths below the upper voice.
Guillaume de Mauchaut
Composer of Ars Nova in France. Defined the Ars Nova. Wrote everything from motets to secular songs. Uses isorhythm and hocket often.
John Dunstable
Leading English composer. Wrote all different kinds of polyphony: isorhythmic motets, mass ordinarys, secular, 3-part liturgical. Doesn’t stick to cantus firmus or isorhythmic schemes.
Francesco Landini
Leading Italian composer of the Trecento. He’s the reason for the landini cadence.
A piece composed with no stanzas. It is different all the way through. Much of Josquin Des Prez’s work was done this way.
Guillaume Du Fay
Most famous composer of his time. Well travelled and incorporated other styles into his music, seen in his chansons. Used the fauxbourdon style sometimes.
Josquin des Prez
Many of works use imitation. His works were copied, published, and performed up to 100 yrs after his death thanks to printing. He wrote chansons, motets and liturgical works, and masses.
Ottaviano Petrucci
Monopolized the music printing business. Put music into the hands of the people. Used a triple impression process to print the music: Staff, words, notes.
Church Modes.
All the church modes were the same from the middle ages, except they added 4 more: aeolian and hypoaeolian (final on A), ionian and hypoionian (final on C).
Heinrich Isaac
Flemish by birth, worked with Medici family in Italy. As a result, northern and southern styles were mixed and combined.
Italian composer of church music. Supporter of counter-reformation. He became the model for sacred polyphony. He made sure that the words were understandable even in polyphonic works.
Jacques Arcadelt
Was a church musician but also put those skills to writing secular madrigals. The orgasmic swan song is one of the most popular.
William Byrd
Very important English composer. He and Tallis had a monopoly on music printing in England. He wrote secular vocal and instrumental music, motets, masses, and Anglican services. He used imitative techniques.
Claudio Monteverdi
Made a crucial style change in madrigals. They went from polyphonic vocal ensembles to instrumentally accompanied songs for duet or larger ensembles. Used dissonance and chromaticism freely but wasn’t as extreme as Gesualdo.
Petrarch and Other Poets
Many madrigal texts were taken from poems by famous poets. Composers tried to imitate the text with the music they wrote. Petrach’s poems seemed to be used the most.
Patrons (Medici)
The Medici as well as other families (sforza were patrons of music. Nobles and wealthy people also. Musicians worked in their courts. The nobles and royalty also bought the printed music as well.
Isorhythmic Motet
A 14th – 15th century motet that is written using isorhythmic ideas. Most of the 14th century were written this way.
A repeated melodic pattern.
The device of rapidly alternating between voices. One sings while the others rest, then it switches to someone else.
Motto/cyclic Mass
Movements in the mass share the same opening motive or phrase.
Musica Ficta
“Feigned music”: The practice of raising or lowering by a semitone the pitch of a written note, particularly at a cadence, for the sake of smoother harmony or motion of the parts. It was helpful in avoiding a tritone. This was not written in the music, it was just common practice. This ended up forming double leading tone cadences quite often.
Ars Nova
“New Art”: New system of rhythmic notation that allowed duple and triple divisions of note values, syncopation, and great rhythmic flixibility.
Squarcialupi Codex
A manuscript that contains 354 pieces for 2 to 3 voices by 12 different composers of 1300 and 1400s. The styles inside are madrigals, caccias, and ballatas.
Trecento Music
Italian music of the 1300s. Most of it was improvised and only some was written down. The squarcialupi codex is one such manuscript from this period.
Council of Trent
A 20 year council that discussed the nature of church music at some point. Some said the mass shouldn’t be using text from secular songs. Others said that complicated polyphony blurred the words. The council decided to leave church music as it was and to let the bishop decided what was and wasn’t impure.
Point of Imitation
The musical idea or motive that is the subject of imitation by other voices.
Canon (Inversion, Retrograde, etc)

A melody that starts with one person or group, and then at regular intervals, different people or groups enter so that the melody starts overlapping itself.

A retrograde canon does the same thing, but backwards.

An Inverted canon does the same thing as normal, but all the intervals are inverted.

Triadic Harmony
With the English using 3rds and 6ths in harmony, the triad came to be used more frequently. This is also started the idea of the V-I cadence.
Paraphrase Mass
Polyphonic mass in which each movement is based on the same monophonic melody, normally a chant, which is paraphrased in most or all voices rather than being used as a cantus firmus in one voice.
Parody Mass
Polyphonic mass in which each movement is based on the same polyphonic model,normally a chanson or motet, and all voices of the model are used in the mass, but none is used as a cantus firmus.
The use of semitones in a passage or piece. These tones come from the chromatic scale. For example C-C#-D-D#-etc.
Italian poetic form and its musical setting having two or three stanzas followed by a ritornello (switching between a soloist and full group on the same passage).
Dance Music
Noble, “well-bred” people were expected to know how to dance. Musicians usually had these tunes memorized. Some dance tunes were functional and intended to be danced to, others were not. Each type of dance has it’s own meter, tempo, rhythmic pattern, and form, all of which are distinguishing characteristics for each dance.