Music History Outline

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Medieval Era (600-1450)

I. Music of the Medieval World (“When God saw that many men were lazy, and gave themselves only with difficulty to spiritual reading, He wished to make it easy for them, and added the melody to the Prophet’s words, that all being rejoiced by the charm of music, should sing hymns to Him with gladness.” -St. John Chrysostom [345-407]. 1:53)

* A. Sacred Music (Gregorian Chant)
o 1. An assemblage of a body of music into an organized liturgy associated with Pope Gregory the Great (reigned from 590-604.) 1:53 o 2. “Like the music of the Greeks and Hebrews [Jewish Shabat, Jewish service] from which it descended, Gregorian chant (also known as plainchant or plainsong) consists of a single-line melody.” 1:53 o 3. “It is monophonic in texture and lacks dimension of harmony and counterpoint.” 1:53 o 4. The Gregorian melodies, number more than 3,000 (three thousand). 1:53 o 5. “Gregorian chant avoids wide leaps and dynamic contrasts.” 1:53 o 6. Gregorian chant resembles a prayer on pitch. 1:53 o 7. At first, Gregorian chants were handed down orally. 1:53 o 8. “As the number of chants increased, singers needed to be reminded of the general outlines of the different melodies.” 1:53 o 9. Neumes, little ascending and descending signs that were first written above words to suggest the contour of the melody, were created. 1:54 o 10. “This developed into a musical notation with square notes on a four-line staff.” 1:54, illus. 1:55 o 11. There were three different text settings:

+ a. Syllabic: one note to each syllable.
+ b. Neumatic: two-four notes to a syllable. + c. Melismatic: many notes to a syllable (descended from the improvisations of the Orient.) * B. The Mass
o 1. “The Mass is the most solemn ritual of the Roman Catholic Church.” 1:54 o 2. It constitutes a reenactment of the sacrifice or teaching of Christ. 1:54 o 3. From Latin Missa=dismissal (of the congregation at the end of the service.) 1:54 o 4. The prayers that make up the mass fall into two categories 1:54 (chart on 1:72): + a. The Proper: varying from day to day dependent upon the particular feast (of Saints) celebrated. 1:54 + b. The Ordinary: remain the same throughout the year. 1:54 # 1. Kyrie (prayer for mercy) 1:71

# 2. Gloria (“Glory to God in the Highest”) 1:71 # 3. Credo (“I believe in one God, the Almighty Father”) 1:71 # 4. Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”) 1:71 # 5. Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”) 1:71 * C. The Rise of Polyphony (two or more simultaneous melodic lines) o 1. “The earliest kind of polyphonic music was called organum.” 1:56 o 2. Organum “developed when the custom arose of adding to the Gregorian melody a second voice that paralleled the plainchant at an interval of a fifth or fourth above or below” the original line. 1:56 o 3. “In the forefront of this development were the composers whose center was the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris (France) during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.” 1:56 o 4. Léonin is the first composer of polyphonic music whose name is known to us who was connected to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. 1:56 o 5. Léonin wrote in two parts. 1:56

o 6. Composers of organum based their pieces on preexisting Gregorian chant. 1:56 o 7. Pérotin (followed Léonin) wrote in three and four parts. 1:56 o 8. “Toward the end of Pérotin’s life, clerics began composing new texts for the previously textless upper voices of organum” called Trops. 1:56 o 9. The addition of these texts resulted in the [Medieval] motet. 1:56 o 10. The [Medieval]...
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