Medieval Music

 Earliest proof of instruments:
 Cave drawings
 Biblical stories
 Hieroglyphs
 The word music derives from the ancient Greek muses,
the nine goddesses of art and science.
 500 B.C.: Pythagoras experimented with acoustics and
the mathematical relationships of tones.
 Greek modes: scales comprised of whole tones and half
 The Roman empire has just fallen!
 Many powerful individuals filled this
void throughout Europe. Ex. William
the Conqueror, Joan of Arc, etc.
 The Hundred Years War was fought
between England and France and
spanned 116 years. It was a brutal time
in history.
 The one unifying influence
throughout Europe was the catholic
 Oratores: "those who pray”
 Priests, monks, etc. Lived modest lives in service to God
 Bellatores: "those who fight"
 Knights, nobility, castles, etc. Wealthy, privileged lives.
 Laborares: "those who work"
 Everyone else! The bulk of European society. Lived in
villages, were peasants, etc.
 Feudalism was in full force in the Middle Ages.
 There were 2 types of music during this time. Sacred
(music for the Church) and Secular (music for
 Monophonic texture: chant (only sung by men). Later
developed Parallel Organum.
 Modes used as basis of Pitch
 No purely instrumental music
 Musical notation developed.
 Questions:
 PITCH: How do the text and pitch work together in
Gregorian chant?
 RHYTHM: How would you describe the meter of this
 Sung by travelling entertainers called Troubadours
 Monophonic but sometimes accompanied by an
instrument like a lute. Later on became polyphonic.
 Regular meter, tempo was usually faster.
 Form: ballad (song that tells a story)