Notre Dame School
where composers were trained
Ars Nova

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a term used by musical theorists to describe the profound stylistic changes of Italian and French music in the 14th century

in medieval music, an italian poetic and musical form with the structure of A BB AA
Cantus Firmus
melody- oftern a gregorian chant- used as the basis of a polyphonic composition
a medieval dance that is one of the earliest surviving forms of instrumental music
Gregorian Chant
melodies set to sacred latin texts, sung without accompaniment; Gregorian chant was the official music of the catholic church
sacred choral composition made up of 5 sections; Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei
medieval polyphony that consists of Gregorian chant and 1+ additional melodic lines
Gregorian chant scales
Troubadours and Trouveres
French troubadours and trouveres created the 1st large body of secular songs in the 12th & 13th centuries
Basso Continuo
Baroque accompaniment made up of a bass part usually played by 2 instruments; a keyboard plus a low melodic instrument
Composition in several movements usually written for chrous, one of more vocal soloists, and instrumental ensamble. The church cantata for the Lutheran service in Germany during the Baroque period oftern includes chorales
male singer castrated before puberty to retain a high voice range; the most important category of vocal soloists in opera during the baroque period
Concerto Grosso
composition for several instrumental soloists and small orchestra; common in late baroque music
polyphonic composition based on one main theme or subject
Drama that is sung to orchestral accompaniment, usually a large scale composition employing vocal soloists, chorus, orchestra, costumes & scenery
large scale composition for chorus, vocal soloists, and orchestra, usually set to a narrative text, but without acting, scenery or costumes; often based on biblical stories
Ritornello Form
compositional form usually employed in the baroque concerto grosso, in which the tutti plays a ritornello, or refrain, alternating with one or more soloists playing new material
a set of dance inspired movements all written in the same key but differing in tempo, meter, and character
Trio Sonata
baroque composition that has 3 melodic lines: 2 high ones, each played by 1 instrument; and a basso continuo played by 2 instruments
Chamber Music
music using a small group of muscians, with 1 player to a part

extended composition for instrumental soloist and orchestra, usually in 3 movements:

fast, slow, fast

Minuet & Trio

compositional form derived from a dance in 3 parts:

minuet, trio, minuet


Often used as the 3rd movement of classical symphonies, string quartets, and other works, it is in triple meter and usually in a moderate tempo

mass for the dead

compositional form featuring a main theme



compositional form in 3parts(ABA) sometimes used as the  3rd movement in classical. 

triple meter, faster minuet


instrumental composition in several movements for one;

8 players

Sonata Form

form of a single movement consisting of 3 main sections:

the exposition, development and recapitulation

String Quartet
composition for 2 violins, a viola, and a cello, generally 4 movements

orchestral composition usually in 4movements, 20-45minutes.

shows range of tone color and dynamics of the orchestra

A Cappella
choral music without instrumental accompaniment
plucked string instrument shaped like half a pear; used in renaissance and baroque music
composition for several voices set to a short secular poem, usually about love, combining homophonic and polyphonic textures and often using word painting
polyphonic choral work set to a sacred latin text other than that of the mass; one of the 2 main forms of sacred renaissance music
Polychoral Motet
motet for 2 or more choirs, often including groups of instruments
Venetian School
composers of 16th and early 17th century venice who inspired by the 2 widely separated choir lofts of St.Mark’s cathedral-often wrote music for several choruses and groups of instruments
Word Painting

musical representation of specific poetic images

ex: a falling melodic line to accompany the word “descending”- often found in renaissance and baroque music

Pavane and Galliard

Pavane: renaissance court dance performed in duple meter

Galliard: renaissance court dance performed in triple meter


Dance music was performed by instrumental groups or soloists

Collection of over 300 dance tunes arranged for instrumental ensemble by Michael Praetorious