Doctrine of Ethos
Plato, ca 550 BC
affect behavior, making music powerful for good or evil
The harmony of the inner man/soul is a reflection of the harmony of the universe
Against pleasure
Frenzied patterns, elaborate music
Dorian Mode for it’s spartan qualities
Phyrgian Mode, for peaceful
Disliked Lydian and Ionian, soft and convival
Theory of Imitation
Aristotle, ca 384-332
Music represent passion of the soul
Listening music could arouse certain passions in people, listen to music that imitates courage
Imitates emotions from certain scales and melodies
In Politics (330), music for education and purifications of emotion
Less restrictive on modes and rhythms, could be used be pleasure
Ancient Greek instruments

Lyre, 5-7 strings and later 11

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Kithara, larger lyre

Aulos, single double reed instruments

Used in religious cermonies

characteristics instruments used for the followers of cult or God

played solo or accompanient to the singing of poems or to theatre of Greek tragedies

The Greek Harmonic System

Descending A to A, made four tetrachords

Boethius, De Institutione Musica

The fundamentals of Music, his book (480-524)

Musica Mundana means music of the cosmos

Musica Humana, music of the soul

Music Instrumentalis, music of the instruments

Schola Cantorum

Rome, 8th Century

designed grou of teachers to train boys and as church singers

The choir that sang when the pope officated observances

Played a role in standardizing chant texts in the early 8th century

plainchant/Gregorian chant made here


Worship service of the catholic church

text that were spoken or sung in the rituals that was performed in each of service

Roman Liturgy, 2 main types: Office and Mass. Varying with solemnity and occasions.

Divine Office/Canonical Hours

Collective praying or recitation of scriptural passages and singing of songs

A Series of eight prayer services daily at specified times

The chanting of songs with their antiphons

Singing of hymns and canticles(praise songs)

Chanting of scripture with responses

3 most important hours: Matins (Before daybreak), Lauds (sunrise), Vespers (Sunset)

Psalmodic Antiphony

Antiphonal alternate between two choirs

A Part of the chants of the office

Responsorial Singing

Alternate between soloist and choir

Mass for Christmas Day, Alleliua;

ie, solist sings psalm verse, choir sings repsond text- Alleliua, final syllable, ia receives melisma/jublilus

Singers and instrumental virtuosos, given the opportunity, would often add embellishments and dsiplay their skill through elaborate passagework- chants given soloists became most melismatic;

Proper of the Mass

The variable prayers

Ex. Introit, Collects, Epistle, Gradual, Alleluia

Proper Chants are called by their function

Ordinary of the Mass

Unchanging text, melody of the text can change

5 Parts: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Angus Dei (Itte, missa est)

Ordinary chants are called by their initial words

Started congregation, moved to choir over the years


Liturgical book that contains the music for the office

Copied by scribes in the middle Ages, later printed under church authority


Contains music for the mass both proper and ordinary

Modern Chant book

Liber Usualis

Translated into Book of Common Use

Frequently used pieces for Mass and Office

Included prayers, lessons, and chants.


Date 1896, Late 19th, Early 20th

Benedict Abby, Solesnes, France

Neumatic Notation


Most Chants are less than octave

4 line clefs, indicate relative intervals

Neumes=notes, squares, diamonds

Composite neume

Oblique neume;

Duration: dash, dot

Asteric: Chorus takes over from the soloist


compiled and copied music by hand

used symbols and abbrev. to save time

limit use of parchment;

Psalm Tone Formula

Adapted to fit any psalm:

5 Melodic features:

  • Begins with intitium/intonation (cantor)
  • Rises to reciting tone/tenor (a repeated notes) by half of choir
  • Bends midway for semicadence/mediato (half of choir)
  • Continues on reciting tone for 2nd Verse (half of choir 2)
  • Descends to a cadence/terminato (by half choir 2)


Originated as newly composed additions, neumatic in style and poetic texts to the Proper

Later added to the Ordinary, esp. Kyrie and Gloria

3 Kinds: 1. Text to existing melismas

2. extending melismas

3. new words and music added to a regular chant

Monstary of St. Gall in Switzerland was important center of Troping in 10th and 11th C.

Banned from liturgy by the Council of Trent 400 years later


From Latin sequentia meaning something that follows

A category of Latin CHANT that follows the ALLELIUA in some MASSES

Notker Balbulus Ca 840-912, Frankish monk of St. Gall

Important creative out let from 10-13th C. and later

Victimae paschali laudes (Ascribed to Wipo of Burgandy) as example

Guidonian Hand

A pedagogical tool used by Guido of Arezzo ca 991-1033 to teach sight singing

6 syllables: ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la (solmization), NO TI.

1/2 step between mi and fa

Uses the hand. Each joint of the LH stood for one the 20 notes that made up the musical system of that time.

Helped develop pitch notation systems


From the 9th through the 13th century, it involved the addition of one or more voices to an existing Chant.;

Organum style is polyphonic having more than 2 distinct voices.;

Each voice moved together, independently, in unison, octaves, or in parallel motion.;

It is mostly note against note of the organal voice against the Vox Principalis (discantus).;

It used consonance and dissonance, with 8ths and unisons at cadence points.;

An example is Alleluia Justus ut palma, from Ad organum faciendum.

Vox Principalis 

The principal voice of an organum

Vox Organalis 

The organal voice (4th or 5th below the Vox Principalis, at octave) in an organum.

Florid organum 

Appeared in the early 12th century in Aquitaine, which is in Southwestern France. 

There were 2 kinds of organum. 

There was discantus (note against note), and Organum duplum/Purim. 

The added voice moves ornately (with melisma) against the existing sustaining lower voice (tenor).

Winchester Troper 

An 11th century English manuscript used at Winchester Cathedral.  It is the oldest collection of pieces in organum style.  

6 Rhythmic modes 

When notating Organum in the 11th and 12th century, exact durations needed to be notated because the performance involved more than one melody sung simultaneously.  Composers in Northern France devised a system of rhythmic modes.  The notation showed the rhythmic pattern using certain combinations of single notes and groups of notes (ligatures).  The 6 rhythmic modes were identified by the arrangements of long and short syllables that characterize French and Latin verse.  The system was based on a 3 fold unit of measure.  Perfectio permitted any mode to be combined with any other.  This is similar to beat division of 5/8 or 9/8 meter.

Magnus Liber Organi 

The “Great book of organum” compiled by Leonin.  It contains juxtaposed passages of florid organum with discant sections.  2 part graduals, alleluias, and office responsories.  

Discant Clausula 

An independent section of polyphonic music that has closure.  It was used in organum and evolved into the motet.  Discant style occurs when both parts move at about the same rate, with one to three notes in the upper part for each note of the lower voice.  An example is Clausulae on Dominus, from Viderunt omnes from the late 12th or ealy 13th century.  


Music with one or more voices, each with its own text above a tenor drawn from chant or other melody.  Intended for non-liturgical use, upper voices could use vernacular texts, while the tenor melody was often played on instruments instead of being sung.  The franconian motet, named after Franco of Cologne, had all voice parts (including tenor) being distinct from each other with regard to rhythm and text.  An example of this is Adam de la Halle’s De ma dame vient/ Dieus, comment porroie/ Omnes ca. 1260’s – 1280’s.  

Ars Cantus Mensurabilis

Means the art if measurable music. 

Franco of Cologne wrote it around 1280. 

Motets that were increasing in rhythmic variety and complexity needed a new notational system. 

Franco instituted relative note durations, signified by note shapes. 

He also wrote the tenor line extending across the bottom while the other voices were written on facing pages or in separate columns on the same page.

Ars Nova and Ars Antiqua 

Phillipe de Vitry is named by one writer to be the “inventor of a new art” or  Ars Nova.  Early 1320s.  It came to denote the new French musical style inaugurated by Vitry.  The ars nova met with opposition from theorists and composers who defended the Ars antique (old art) of the late 13th century.  Innovations were with rhythm and notation. 

The new notation allowed duple (“imperfect”) division of note values along with the traditional triple (“perfect”) division. 

It also allowed for division of the semibreve. 

De vitry’s isorhythmic (“equal rhythm”) motes were unifying devices for large scale work. 

He used isorhythm in the cantus cirmus (an existing melody, usually in plainchant, on which a new polyphonic work is based). 


Conductus (single and plural), originated in the 11th century as a serious Latin song with a rhymed, rhythmical text, akin to a sequence but without the paired phrases.  Conductus were set to newly composed melodies not based on chant.  The subject of the text was sacred or secular.  

Chanson de Geste

The chanson de geste(“song of deeds”) was an epic in the northern French vernacular recounting the deeds of national heroes and sung to simple melodic formulas.  The most famous chanson de geste is the Song of Roland (ca. 1100), about a battle of Charlemagne’s army against the Muslims in Spain.  About 100 other chansons de geste exist, most from the 12th century, but little of the music was preserved.


Performers (sing, play, dance) of secular songs in middle ages.  They first appeared in the 10th century.  These men and women wandered by themselves or in small groups between villages.  They were social outcasts.  Jongleurs (jugglers) were lower class and performed tricks, told stories, and played music for a living.  Minstrels (servant) were more specialized musicians and many were employed at a court or city for at least part of the year, although they also traveled.  Minstrels came from varied backgrounds, ranging from former clerics to sons of merchants, craftsmen, or knights.

Troubadours and Trobairitz 

Troubadours (men) and Trobairitz women, who were poet composers and performers, sang songs contained in chansonniers.  These poet-composers were from aristocratic circles, south of France.  They wrote monophonic songs in the 12th or 13th century.  An example of one of these songs is the musical play by Adam de la Halle, Jeu de Robin et e Marion: Rondeau, Robins m’aime, ca. 1284. 


Song books or collections of secular songs (ballad, dance songs, songs of love, nationalistic songs, songs of chivalry, courtly love, etc.  These songs contained French words and were used for collections of monophonic troubadour and trouvere songs and for collections of polyphonic songs.  Troubadours (men) and Trobairitz women, who were poet composers and performers, sang songs out of these chansonniers.  These performers were from aristocratic circles, south of France.