Musica Ficta
The process of sharpening or flattening certain notes that would not normally be notated in that particular key. Literally means “imaginary/fictive music.” Harmonic rules were set in place to avoid dissonnat intervals such as vertical tri-tones, semi-tones, and cross relations. Musica ficta to creat leading tones to subsequent chords especially popular in Renaissance. Accidentals sometimes written in above note, but often left out at discretion of performer to improvise part
Any grouping of four pitches, in particular, the interlocking descending successions of notes in the ancient Greek musical system
Organization of a melody
Dorian- southern Greece,
Ionian- south-western Greece
Phrygian and Lydian- Asian Minor
Ambrosian Rite
Northern Italy
Gallican Rite
Frankish Lands
Mozarabic Rite
Iberian Peninsula
Signs of early chant notation that indicate pitches or groups of pitches in a chant melody. Derived from the Greek neuma meaning “gesture”
Heightened neumes
more carefully placed neumes around two lines that provide a better sense of pitch
celebrated musician capable of calming wild beasts with his playing; story suggest that through music, humans can bridge the otherwise unbridgeable divide between life and death
Orpheus’ wife- died on wedding day, Orpheus attempts to retrieve her from the River Styx
the underworld
boatman who ferries dead across River Styx- refuses Orpheus at first, but O plays lute and convinces him
god of the underworld; Orpheus uses music to persuade him to release Euridice
a way of life based on vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience- monastic communities served as the primary repositories of learning in the medieval world
ruler of the Franks, Sovereign of the Roman Empire; sought to standardize forms of Christian worship, exerted a profound effect on the development of sacred music
Carolignian Empire
divided by the Treaty of Verdun into the Kingdom of France, the Kingdom of Italy, and the East Frankish Kingdom
began to write large quantities of organa for the chants of the liturgical year around 1163; the prototypical composer of what is now called Notre Dame organum; work is written in either melismatic organum or in measured organum
younger contemporary of Leonin; credited with having added third voice and on rare occassions even a foruth voice to organa for feasts of special significance- both Perotin and Leonin are identified as the chief composer of the Magnus liber Organi
brief polyphonic sections of dicant organum-that could be substituted at will into the appropriate section of a larger existing work of organum
Phillippe de Vitry
theorist-composer, poet, counselor at the French court, and bishop, who is attributed to writing ars nova (“new art”), at treatise written around 1320 and has become a label for much of the 14th-century French music in general
Guillame de Machaut

French poet and composer who compiled what amounts to a complete edition of his poetry and music; wrote Livre du voir dit, which is written in praise of a young woman, Peronne d’Armentieres, with whom Machaut was deeply infatuated; cultivated all the formes fixes, and wrote many lais, lengthy monophonic works.Wrote the first polyphonic setting of the Mass Ordinary of a coherent cycle


Magnus liber organi
a repertory of polyphonic works or portions of works that could be interpolated into existing chants of the liturgy throughout the church year- Leonin and Perotin
dominant mode of thought in universities; maintained that truth could be reached by a combination of reason and faith- based on the study of established authorities Aristotle and St. Augustine; Empirical observation was not to be trusted; Music was object of study, understood as a mathematical discipline a provided a source of insight into the relationship between numbers and the cosmos, but no musical performance
Guido of Arezzo
Italian monk who created a systematic and consistent application of the eight-mode system
Roman de Fauvel
a satirical allegory written by Gervais de Bus around 1316; a commentary on the dangers of corrupt and incompetent government ministers, it tells the story of a donkey named Fauvel, who, through the intercession of the goddess Fortuna, ascends to the throne of France- he marries Vainglory and together they produce new Fuavels, bringing ruin to France and the world. It includes a number of interpolated musical compositions, which are written in the style of ars nova
translated basic elements and terminology of Greek and Roman music theory to the medieval era
“Gregorian” Chant
the monophonic sacred music of the Christian church (plainchant) supposedly created by Pope Gregory I, even though it existed well before his reign and its development continued long afterward
Saint Basil
rationalized the singing of psalms by stating that the HOly Spirit mixed the sweetness of melody with doctrine so that inadvertently we would absorb the benefit of the words through gentleness and ease of hearing…
Pope Gregory I
legend has it that he had been responsible for not only promoting the diffusion of the Roman liturgy, but for composing the chants himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit
St. Augustine
known for saying “to chant well is to pray twice.” However, he believed that music could indeed uplift the spirit, but it could also seduce listeners with its easy pleasure
Monks of Solesmes (France):
took an active role in recovering the earliest forms of the chant by carefully comparing the notation preserved in early medieval manuscripts
Monastery of St. Gall
location of neumes of the earliest notated sources
notational signs used in plainchant and polyphony through the Renaissance to represent two or more pitches within a single unit. In mensural notation, ligatures were often used to indicate rhythmic values; no more than one syllable may be set to an individual ligature
The liturgical book containing the texts of the Mass Ordinary; the second element of the Mass Propers
the liturgical book containing the texts of the Mass Propers
Liber usualis
literally, “Book of Use”; anthology of many different kinds of plainchant for both the Mass and the Office
in plainchant settings of the Alleluia within the Propers of the Mass, the long melisma on the final syllable of the word Alleluia
musical or textual addition to an existing plainchant. Tropes could be added to the beginning or end of a chant, or they could be interpolated into the chant itself
type of trope in which words were added into an existing chant
Element of the Mass Propers, authorized for the special feast days, appearing after the Alleluia; any musical idea repeated on successively different pitches
the practice of adding successive layers of commentary to an original source; lies behind the medieval impetus to create textual and musical tropes for existing chants, and eventually to add new voices to an established plainchant melody
Hildegard von Bingen
more compositions attributed to her than any other musician before the early 14th century. Entered a Benedictine convent a the age of 7, took her vows at 17, and began to experience visions and revelations in her early 30s. her compositions are divided into two large collections: the Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum and the Ordo virtutum
Liturgical drama
a liturgical passage in chant presented in a quasi-theatrical manner during the service, with individual portrayals of the protagonists
peformers who went from town to twon and court to court providing entertainment to any and all who would pay for it
members of a lower social order-performed lvoe songs, laments, pastorals, and dalogues, were expected to embellish and improvise on the basic pattern, resulting in significant variants of an individual song
named after a nonexistent patron Golias, they owed their allegiance to no particular court, but earned their living by performing on the road
souther France; poets-composers “found” new texts and meloides alike. They wrote their texts in Occitan, a language related to both French and Spanish. Most active during the 12th and 13th centuries
northern France; wrote their texts and melodies in medieval French
Carmina Burana
songs of Bavaria; not a manuscript- collection of 200 poems most likely scripted at a monastery in Austria written by goliards who were defrocked priests wandering from monastery to monastery; poems are crude and profane
Chanson de geste
“songs of deed”; and epic account of chivalrous accomplishments written by troubadours and trouveres
troubadours from German-speaking lands who developed their own repertory of songs; most of their songs are written in bar form; consisting of two musically identical statements and a final closing statement, creating the pattern of AAB
Walther von der Vogelweide
wrote Palastinalied, which provides a good example of bar form; famous Minnesinger
songs from the Iberian peninsula, with only two sets of sources: six songs by Martin Codax (1230), and Cantigas de Santa Maria, songs in honor of the Virgin Mary. They have sacred subject matter, but are not litrugical an
a polyphonic work consisting of an original plainchant melody in one voice along with at least one additional voice above or below
Wolfram von Eschenbach
author of the epic Parzifal; famous Minnesinger
Winchester Troper
oldest large collections of two-part organa
Medieval Motet
polyphonic vocal work, usually sacred; it is the presence of a contrasting text in the upper voice or voices that distinguishes the motet from its immediate ancestor, the clausula
genre of vocal monophony or polyphony cultivated in the 12th and 13th centuries. Conductus of one, two, three, or occasionally four voices were not based on borrowed musical material of any kind; their texts consist of freely composed poetry written in metered verse that lend themselves to syllabic and strongly metrical musical settings. In the polyphonic conductus, all voices move in roughly the same rhythm.
Formes fixes
“fixed forms”; the poetic and musical structural patterns in French music of the 14th and 15th centuries. The most important of the formes fixes were ballade, virelai, and rondeau
Canterbury tales
English poems by Geoffrey Chaucer, that are full of musical imagery and references to music making
Francesco Landini
organist for various churches in his native Florence who was blinded by smallpox as a child. He wrote 140 ballate, nine madrigals, one caccia, and one virelai
before the Middle Ages; ended at the fall of the Roman Empire
First known musical instrument
flute made from the wing bone of a vulture, dating from about 34000 BC, found in what is now southwestern France
6 musical instruments mentioned in the Bible’s Old Testament
cymbals, harps, lyres, trumpets, tambourine, flute
Book of Psalms
compile ca 1000-100 BCE
Number of fragments of notated music from Greece surviving today
single melody line
simultaneous sounding of independent parts of equal importance
pair of pipes, one held in each hand, with a single or double reed
five or more pipes gradually increasing in length (same as panpipe)
soundbox from which curved arms extended, joined by a crossbar, with strings attached between the crossbar and the soundbox
“Music of the Spheres”
according to Pythagoras, a harmony of the spheres based on the mathematical ratios of movement and distance among the heavenly bodies creating a music of its own- inaudible on earth, unfortunately, but no less real
doctrine of ethos
music was capable of arousing listeners to certain kinds of emotions and behaviors
Plato’s thoughts on music in society and as a profession
Plato believed that music could directly affect human behaviors because of the ethical powers that certain kinds of music could embody. He believed that new music could be a “hazard of all our fortunes.” Practicing musicians were admired, but not considered intellectual
Medieval Era
begins with the fall of teh Western Roman Empire until the beginnings of the Renaissance in the early 15th century, around the time of the Great Schism in the Catholic Church
Earliest musical notation of plainchant
ca 850-900
Courtly love
in public, lvoe could be expressed passionately, but only from a distance: the ideal knight paid homage to a lady of noble birth by dedicating himself to her service and offering lavish poetry and song in her praise-but never directly. The idea of courtly love in its purest form always involved self-contained torment. The object of desire was either a maiden or a married woman, but in either case unattainable by the structures of social convention
being produced in quantity in Europe by the 13th century
late 11th century; a series of military ventures to reclaim the Holy Land from Muslim rule. The First Crusade, launched by Pope Urban Ii in 1095, succeeded in capturing Jerusalem, if only for a very short time. Over the next 300 years various Christian rulers would try to repeatedly duplicate this feat, but without success. The Crusades had the unintended benefit of bringing the West into closer contact with Islamic culture, which for centuries has been cultivating such disciplines as philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, and medicine
Earliest universities
founded in Bologna and Paris around the middle of the 12th century
The Divine Office
Matins: during the night (2 or 3 am)
Lauds: at dawn
Prime: 6 am
Terce: 9 am
Sext: noon
None: 3 pm
Vespers: sunset
Compline: before bedtime
ritual reenactment of Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples; consisted of a mixture of spoken, recited and sung elements; Oridnary: sung at every mass; Propers: those items suitable or “proper” only for particular days
Parts of the ordinary mass
kyrie, gloria, credo, sanctus, agnus dei, ite miss est
syllabic, neumatic, melismatic
syllabic: each syllablel has its own note
neumatic: each syllable is sung between two and six notes
melismatics: a single syllable is sung to many notes
contemplative Office that emphasizes spiritual peace
distant forerunner of the violin but with a longer body and a fifth string that provided drone
small, pear-shaped instrument with 3 to 5 strings, sometimes with frets; it produced a rather thin, nasal sound
a box zither of Arabic origin whose bronze strings could be plucked with the fingers or quills
a double-reed instrument, made from animal horns, wood, or metal, played a prominent role in processions and dances
a jingling percussion instrument
bowl-shaped drums rather like small kettledrums
small drum often played in conjunction with a pipe by a single musician
Portative Organ
an organ without stops that could be transported easily, and was the most common form of instrument
Organistrum (hurdy-gurdy)
a stringed keyboard instrument, smaller and less complicated than the organ. its strings were activated by a rotating culinder of wood turned by a handle at one end; the length of the strings was controlled by a simple keyboard mechanism at the other end; could play a drone bass and a melody at the same time