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Medieval music Free essay! Download now

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Medieval music

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 557 | Submitted: 09-Nov-2011
Spelling accuracy: 97.1% | Number of pages: 1 | Filetype: Word .doc

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The word Medieval can be translated as meaning ‘the time in between’. The era begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and ends sometime in the early fiftenth century. We don’t know a great deal about music in the medieval times because only church music was “important” enough to be written down. In the early part of the medieval period, church music comprised just one melody line, called plainchant. Plainchant is a monophonic sacred form which represents the earliest known music of the Christian church.

Very slowly, the idea of combining two or more lines together began to be used in the big churches and cathedrals. A piece of plainchant was sung with very long notes, while the other voices sang other lines above and below it using much shorter notes.There was another popular kind of religious music called a motet, in which each of the vocal lines could have its own words – so you could have three texts going at once, sometimes in different languages!

In the monasteries, no women were allowed to sing! Also no instruments were allowed to be played as they said that it distracts the latin words/music to go to God. For centuries instruments were forbidden in the church- the style of church music was sung acappella.
This was hard for monks as they had to just use their voice and didnt have music to accompany them.

Instruments used to perform medieval music still exist, but in different forms. The flute was once made of wood rather than metal, and could be made as a side-blown or end-blown instrument. However the recorder has pretty much stayed the same. The gemshorn is similar to the recorder in having finger holes on its front. One of the flute's predecessors, the pan flute, was popular in medieval times. This instrument's pipes were made of wood, and were graduated in length to produce different pitches. Medieval music uses many plucked string insturments such as the lute, mandore and psaltery.

From the beginning of the 12th century non-church, secular music started to be written down. Many songs were about ‘courtly’ love – a kind of idealized relationship in which the lady is always out of reach, and the man devotes his life to trying to please her. The French composer Machaut wrote lots of songs about courtly love. Like all old music, the music is hard to read and understand, so nobody is quite sure how it should sound. Some musicians think instruments should be used, but others argue that it should use only voices.

Secular music is non-religious music. Secular music in the Middle Ages included love songs, political satire, dances, and dramatic works. Unlike church music, instruments such as drums, ...

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