Understanding Music Journal

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Listening Journal - Understanding Music
Hildegard of Bingen: Alleluia, O virga mediatrix This song is a chant from the middle ages. It is in the Latin language and is monophonic by nature. The medium is that of voice only. The lyrics are melismatic. The timbre is somber. This is a religious chant that was most likely performed by monks originally in church. Most people could not understand the lyrics that were being chanted since it was not the language they spoke. The church did not believe in dancing so there was no beat to the music to help prevent people from swaying to a beat. Notre Dame School Organum: Gaude Maria virgo Like the title says, this song is an organum. There is an underlying chant with a melody over top of it. The song is very melismatic with multiple voices being heard. Music was performed in Latin. As per Wikipedia: “The history of Organum would not be complete without two of its greatest innovators, Leonin and Perotin. These two theorists were ‘the first international composers of polyphonic music.’ These innovations are grounded in the forms of Gregorian Chant, and adhere to the theoretical rhythmic systems of St. Augustine.” Much of the background on where chant was performed applies as well to organum. Raimbaut de Vasqueiras: Kalenda maya This song is an example of a troubadour dance. The music has both voices and instrumental. There is a definite beat you can move to. Timbre of the song is festive. Song itself is somewhat repetitive. The troubadour dance was the “party music” of the Middle Ages. It was enjoyed in both rural farms as well as in the courts of royalty. Unlike the chants and organums that were religious in nature, the dance was celebratory music and featured rudimentary instruments to help create a beat that people can dance to. Josquin: Ave Maria … virgo serena This song is a motet from the Renaissance. A motet is a chant with extra melodies. There are many lines and many...
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