Music of the Middle Ages

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Nicole Williams
MUS 110 IN2
Unit 2 Writing Assignment

Some distinctive stylistic features of the Middle Ages were monophonic styles and polyphonic styles.
Church modes were the scales of western music during the Middle Ages. They are like the major and minor scales that consist of seven tones and an eighth tone that duplicates the first octave higher.

The Gregorian chant was the official music for the Roman Catholic Church for over a thousand years. The Gregorian chant has some elements of the Jewish synagogue of the first centuries after Christ. It has a monophonic texture and is sung without others. The quality of the Gregorian chant is calm and tranquil. The rhythm of it is very flexible and it contains no meter. The Gregorian chant is named after Pope Gregory I. The Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965 decreed the use of the vernacular in church services. As a result, the Gregorian chant is rarely heard today.

The instrumental music of the Middle Ages have been shown from paintings and descriptions. The organ was mainly used in church. Although during this time, the organ was very primal and was operated by striking your fists against the keys of the organ.

Composers used rhythm in the Middle Ages based on poetic rhythm, word flow, and the significance on each individual word.
During the early time of the Middle ages, there was no way to notate rhythm. The first kind of rhythmic system that was written was developed in the thirteenth century around the year 1250. There was a change to this rhythmic system around 1280 by the German theorist Franco of Cologne. And there was also another change around 1320 by Philippe de Virty. Virty’s change to the rhythmic system was completely different to the other two written rhythmic systems and in some ways, Virty’s rhythmic system is used today.

The distinctive stylistic features of the Renaissance are that the bass register is used for the first time ever, and the Renaissance melodies...
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