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Music in the Middle Ages (450-1450). “Dark Ages” Social classes Nobility Peasantry Clergy Influence of Roman Catholic Church Learning centered in monasteries. Music in the Middle Ages (450-1450). Center of musical life – cathedrals Musicians in the church priests monks

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music in the middle ages 450 1450
Music in the Middle Ages (450-1450)
  • “Dark Ages”
  • Social classes
    • Nobility
    • Peasantry
    • Clergy
  • Influence of Roman Catholic Church
    • Learning centered in monasteries
music in the middle ages 450 14502
Music in the Middle Ages (450-1450)
  • Center of musical life – cathedrals
    • Musicians in the church
      • priests
      • monks
      • boys in church-associated schools
      • nuns
  • Primarily vocal music used
  • Instruments
    • used for accompaniment
    • considered inappropriate for church
    • after ca. 1100 – increased use in church
gregorian chant
Gregorian Chant
  • Official music of Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages
    • melody set to sacred Latin texts
    • unaccompanied
    • monophonic
    • calm, otherworldly quality
    • voice of the church
    • flexible rhythm, without meter, little sense of beat
gregorian chant4
Gregorian Chant
  • Named after Pope Gregory I (the Great)
    • reigned A.D. 590-604
  • Composed over many centuries
    • A.D. 600-1300 – several thousand melodies known today
    • originally passed along by oral tradition
    • notated as number of chants grew
    • most composers completely unknown
    • church modes
listening examples
Listening Examples
  • Kyrie from Mass IX (“Orbis Factor”)
    • notated in the Liber Usualis
    • monophonic
    • ternary form
listening examples6
Listening Examples
  • O Successores
    • Hildegard of Bingen
      • 1098-1179
      • Abbess of Rupertsburg
    • drone
    • foreshadows word painting
secular music in the middle ages
Secular Music in the Middle Ages
  • 12th and 13th century French nobles
    • troubadours – South
    • trouvères – North
    • composed songs of love, Crusades, dance, spinning
    • melodies notated w/o rhythm
    • performed with a regular meter
  • Listening Example
    • Estampie – unknown composer
      • triple meter with fast, strong beat
      • Instrumentation: rebec, pipe, psaltery
the development of polyphony
The Development of Polyphony
  • Organum
    • chant with one or more additional melodic lines
    • ca. 700-900 – improvised at strict intervals of fifth or fourth; not notated
    • ca. 900-1200 – organum becomes polyphonic
      • not in strict parallel motion
      • ca. 1100 – rhythmic differences begin to occur
        • low voice – chant in very long notes
        • upper voice – organum line in shorter notes
the development of polyphony9
The Development of Polyphony
  • School of Notre Dame
    • Composers: Leonin, Perotin, & followers
    • centered in Cathedral of Notre Dame
    • developed measured rhythm
      • definite time values / clearly defined meter
      • limited rhythms (subdivided in three)
  • Listening example
    • Alleluya. Pascha nostrum immolatus est – Leonin
      • cantus firmus
      • examples of measured and unmeasured rhythm
14 th century music in italy france
14th Century Music in Italy & France
  • Historical background
    • Hundred Years War (1337-1453)
    • Bubonic plague (ca. 1350) kills ¼ of Europe
    • Weakening feudal system / Rivaling popes
    • Secular music takes precedence
  • Ars nova (“new art”)
    • new system of rhythmic notation (almost any rhythm) / use of syncopation
    • polyphonic music not based on chant being composed
ars nova composers
Ars Nova Composers
  • Francesco Landini (?-1397, Italy)
    • Background
      • blind from childhood
      • organist, poet, scholar, invented new string instument
      • exclusively secular subjects for his music
    • Ecco la primavera
      • ballata written for two voices
      • instrumental accompaniment added (sackbut, shawm, drum)
      • Form: Intro (AB) – ABBAA [ternary]
ars nova composers12
Ars Nova Composers
  • Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377, France)
    • Background
      • court official for various royal families
      • at age 60, fell in love with 19-year-old
        • exchanged letters & poems
        • age difference ended relationship
        • writes narrative poem to immortalize their love
          • Le Livre Dou Voir Dit (The Book of the True Poem)
listening examples machaut
Listening Examples - Machaut
  • Puis qu’en oubli sui de vous (Since I am forgotten by you, ca. 1363)
    • also contained in Voir Dit
    • “farewell to joy”
    • vocal melody with two accompanying parts with exceptionally low range (performed by two solo voices)
  • Notre Dame Mass
    • first complete polyphonic treatment of mass ordinary
      • Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei
    • Agnus Dei
      • ternary form, triple meter, based on chant