• Describe life in the Medieval Period
• Describe these elements of music from
The Misery of the Human Condition
• inspiring words from Pope Innocent III
• . . . man was formed of dust, slime, and ashes: what is even
more vile, of the filthiest seed. He was conceived from the
itch of the flesh, in the heat of passion and the stench of lust,
and worse yet, with the stain of sin. He was born to toil,
dread, and trouble; and more wretched still, was born only to
die. He commits depraved acts by which he offends God, his
neighbor, and himself; shameful acts by which he defiles his
name, his person, and his conscience; and vain acts by
which he ignores all things important, useful, and necessary.
He will become fuel for those fires which are forever hot and
burn forever bright; food for the worm which forever nibbles
and digests; a mass of rottenness which will forever stink and
• What is Gregorian Chant?
• Whom is plainchant named after?
• What is the main element of music
present in Gregorian Chant?
• How was Gregorian Chant the basis of
our system of music today? Notation
Medieval and Renaissance
• Church music – Religious
• Non religious - Secular
Examples of Medieval Music
• The first
Medieval Sheet Music
• Who created them?
• What was it meant
• Why is it so pretty?
What is Gregorian Chant?
• Plainsong, Plainchant
• Monophonic (one line of music) no harmony
• Sung in Latin accompanied celebration of mass
• Use of modes (intervals) black notes not
• Sung by monks (Men only)
• A Capella – Unaccompanied singing no
Why “Gregorian” Chant?
• Pope Gregory I
– Bishop of Rome, 590 – 604 AD.
– simplified and cataloged music
– Assigning music to specific celebrations in
the church calendar
– FIRST WRITTEN FORM OF MUSIC
What is a MODE?
• The MELODIES in chant are MODAL.
– up and down interval steps wavering on
two or more notes called a "melisma“
– many notes are assigned to one word or
– What do you think the effect would be?
Four pairs of church modes
• Example: Church Mode I (Dorian Mode)
– starting on d and ending on d
– a modern keyboard, these intervals
basis of The first ever
form of Kodaly
• Guido d'Arezzo in the 11th Century
• taught singers pitches in modes
using a hymn in honor of John the
• UT queant laxis
RE sonare fibris
MI ra gestorum
FA muli tu orum
SOL ve polluti
LA bii reatum
• capital letters in this prayer became
the basis for the syllables of the
solfege system of "do, re, mi, etc.
• "do" for "ut" and use "ti" instead of
• Look up various websites on medieval
manuscript illustrations and Gregorian
• Pick a chant, translate it, write clear and
detailed directions to a fellow student on
how you would like their music illustrated.
• EXTRA CREDIT: You are a monk and want
to send a new hymn to your brother monk.
Create your own beautiful piece of medieval
• Middle Ages
– Historically, Romans legalized Christianity
– 476 AD, Romans left Europe
– Left Roman Catholic Church in charge
• Pope Gregor I
– Monophonic songs
– A Capella
• from Ancient Greek ὄργανον - organon
"organ, instrument, tool"
• Around 1100, other parts were added to
the original chant melody, creating 2 and
3-part music called “organum.”
• Most continued to be homophonic
clause represented a sequence in Latin
which was sung as a discant over a
Start of counterpoint in music
• Eventually musical texture grew to
include three lines, allowing much
more fulsome harmonies. Ex. 13th
Individual Parts (1st Line)
Individual Parts (2nd line)
Individual Parts (Ground)
Sumer is a cumin
Secular Round Full Version
Summer is coming in, loudly sings the cuckoo,
The seed grows; the meadow blossoms, and the
woods alivens anew.
The ewe bleats after the lamb; the cow lows after the
The bull leaps; the goat capers*; merrily sing
Well sing you, cuckoo--don't ever stop now.
Sing cuckoo, now....
Gradually became Homophonic (more than one voice
moving at the same time in block chords)
Religious text in Latin
• Polyphonic – lots of voices singing different
lines at the same time (interweaving melodies)
• Each choose your own nursery rhyme. We
will sing all of them at the same time
• Again only sung by men
This is a piece of music by Philippi de Vitry Motet from
“Roman de Favel”
• Troubadours (aristocratic poets)
and minstrels (musicians hired to
perform the music of troubadours).
• It was the age of chivalry and
courtly love, when often the
object of one’s affections was
distant, and may not even have
known the intentions of the
• Marriages were often dictated by
social station and power, thus the
issue of love often could only be
honored or consummated in song.
• Because most music was
vocal, instruments did not
• Woodwind similar to the
How could humanism
What is humanism?
• approach in study, philosophy, or
practice that focuses on human
values and concerns
• Humanism arose from deism and
anti-clericalism of the
Humanism central theme to
• The Renaissance was an age of
discovery, both geographical
and humanistic. Depth and
perspective entered the visual
arts, and human subjects
became of primary importance.
• Works by artists, such as Leonardo
da Vinci, reflect a new interest in
the human form and character.
Compare the Art?
What do you notice?
What was the effect of the
humanists on society?
• humanists sought to create a
citizenry (including, sometimes,
women) able to speak and write
with eloquence and clarity
• Educated people can engage in
civic life of their communities and
persuading others to virtuous and
What was the effect of the
humanists on MUSIC?
• the power and authority of music
was widely embraced for its ability
to move the hearts and minds of
• Anti-Medieval movement
• Zarlino's Le istitutioni harmoniche (
• music of classical antiquity represented
the ‘height of perfection’, that of the
Middle Ages the ‘lowest depths’
• early renaissance in music is enacted in
Medieval Aire / Ballad
o Solo voice (male or female)
accompanied by the lute
o melody and
This piece of music is by Adam de la Halle
“Jeu de Robin et de Marion”
Renaissance Aire / Ballad
Secular Solo Song
This piece of music is by an English composer
“Flow , my tears”
Secular choral music
• Highly polyphonic
• Sung by men and women
• A Capella
• Sung in any language (English, French, Italian, etc)
• People would gather around each others homes and
sing around the table
• Very jolly (lots of fa la la la la’s)
Famous English Composer – Thomas Weelkes
Famous Italian Composer - Monteverdi
Religious Choral Music
• mainly polyphonic
• Many sections (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo,
Offertorium, Sanctus / Benedictus, Agnus Die)
• sung in Latin
• sung mainly by men
• high parts sung by descant (boys)
• Melismatic Lots of notes on one word
• Syllabic One note per syllable
Famous Composer – Palestrina “Kyrie”
from “Missa Pape Marcelli”
Other Famous Composers
Guillame de Machaut Josquin de Prez
Hildegard of Bingen William Byrd (English)
Bernard de Ventadorn Orlando di
Perotin Jacopo Peri
Guillame Dufay Thomas Morlay