Beginning with fall of Rome in 476a.d. the first half of this millennium is referred to as the "dark ages". In society, all power flowed from the king with the approval of the Roman Catholic Church and its bishops. This is what we know as church and state.
The "dark ages" or an encompassment of the middle ages by history, gave to many early development in western music. Polyphony, which combines two or more simultaneous melodic lines, is a perfect example of this. Because polyphony required to be written to indicate precise rhythm and pitch, a new notational system was designed.
Lifestyle in the middle Ages centered on the church. All levels of society choose religious life. This was not easy for patrons, some orders required vows of poverty. Discipline was evident among the church. A typical day began at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. with the celebration of daily services, reading of lessons, and the singing of psalms.
Probably one of the most notable themes of the middle ages was sacred music, shaped in part by Greek, Hebrew, and Syrian influences. Religious pieces known as a Gregorian chant were popular. These consist of a single-line melody and monophonic texture lacking harmony and counterpoint. The Mass, a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ, is the most solemn ritual of the Roman Catholic Church. Haec dies, from the Mass for Easter Day, serves as a fine example of... [continues]
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