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• Developed in the 13th century
• An important stage in the development of polyphony
• New texts were added to the upper voices of Organum
• Secular texts often appeared alongside sacred texts, languages were mixed
• Usually in the 3 voices
• Bottom voice contained cantus firmus
• Featured primary intervals 4th, 5th and octaves
• Upper voices were generally more rhythmically active and often crossed parts.

MONOPHONIC CHANSON- Chanson means “song”
• Flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries
• Composed by aristocratic poet-musicians known as trouveres and troubadours.
• Recorded in songbooks called chansonniers.
• Monophonic texture
• Modal melodies
• Usually in strophic form
• Instrumental accompaniments were often improvised
• Texts often reflected courtly love in the age of chivalry
• 14th century saw shift form church life to more secular society
• Famous treatise called Ars Nova- refer to the music and art of the time.(composer was Philippe de Vitry)
• Evolution of polyphony in both sacred and secular was by the perfection of pitch notation coupled with more sophisticated rhythmic notations.
• Elegant and courtly song –whatever form the poem took might be clearly reflected int he construction of the music.

• Was a French composer ,poet and bishop
• Author of the treatise Ars Nova(1322)
• Innovator of the notations of rhythm, including the “imperfect” and division of notes into 2 equal units(a move away from the division of notes into 3 equal units considered “perfect”)
• Broke free from older pattern and rhythmic modes
• Used isorhythm, the repetition of an extended pattern in which melodic patterns and rhythmic segments of different lengths are combined

• Latin for “new art”
• Title of a famous 14th century treatise by composer Philippe de Vitry
• The term is also used by historians when referring to music in 14th century France ( the 1300s)
• As a result, the previous era became known as Ars antique(old art)
• Most celebrated poet and musician in French Ars Nova
• Adopted both sacred and secular and wrote music for church and kings.
• Greater variety in intervals used , including 3rd, 6th and more counter points
• 14th century rhythmic complexity demonstrated in use of devices such as syncopation, hockets, and isorhythm
• Wrote both monophonic and polyphonic songs
• Monophonic chansons represent a continuation of the trouvere tradition, frequently wrote his own poetry
• Works are longer and more complex than of the Ars Antiqua.
• Composed 1st complete polyphonic setting of Mass Ordinary-Messe de Nostre Dame.
• Instruments were not standardized
• With the exception of the organ, the use of instruments was not encouraged in the Roman Catholic Church
• Instruments music was passed down through an oral tradition
• Musicians were trained to improvise and to play by rote rather than rely on written music
• Notating music was a time-consuming, costly and not considered necessary or important in a a largely illiterate society.

• Accompanying singers
• Proving dance music
• Playing fanfares and precessions for public and civic functions
• Providing music for military campaigns.
• Indoor and outdoor instruments.
• Based on a tradition of improvisation
• Functional music :instrumentalists provided music for social dance; later stylized dances were created(for listening only)
• Had monophonic texture
• Modal melodies
• Accompaniments were improvised
• Estampie,saltarello,ronde and basse dance were the earliest types
• Formal structure was often sectional to allow for flexibility in the length of the dance.
• French “Songbook of the King:
• Anonymous 13th century French manuscript
• Contains troubadour and trouvere songs as well as eight monophonic dances including “Royal Estampie No.4”






ca 890- 1150

ORGANUM( ca 890-1150)
• Form of polyphony but has additional vocal lines moved parallel (above or below)of the pre-existing chant by 4th or 5th.
• Monks sung chants for a months, years, decades. Starting harmonizing the chant
• Earliest form of polyphony in western art music
• Began as in improvised practice, evolved over several centuries
• 1st notated in the 9th century, the treatise Musica enchriadis
• Composers at Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris) further developed Organum in the 12th and 13th centuries
• The original pre-existing chant is referred to as the cantus firmus.
• 2nd voice is added on the top of chant melody (4th or 5th, octave paralleled)
• later developments by Notre Dame composers included free Organum which involved a wider variety of intervals and rhythms and newly composed upper parts

• Latin for “Music Handbook”
• anonymous 9th century treatise
• contains the earliest examples of notated polyphony in western art music
• Included parallels Organum with new melodic lines added above or below the original chant.

• In 12th and 13th a compositional school. 2 leaders were LEONIN and PEROTIN
• 1st composer of polyphony known to us by name
• Active in Paris in the later 12th century
• He produced 2part Organum using organal and discant style
• Wrote Magnus Liber Organi (Great Book of Organum)
• Active at Notre Dame Cathedral in the 13th century
• Expanded polyphonic techniques by composing 3 and 4 part polyphony
• Composed “substitute clausulae” to replace Organum originally composed by Leonin.





1. Introduction
The system of music notation allows us to specify two of the main characteristics of music: the note to be played, and its duration.
The following pages will show the basic aspects of music reading. We will begin by learning how to specify durations of sound. For this, let’s take a look at two important concepts: beats (pulsations) and measures.
2. Beats and Measures

We will use several examples to illustrate these two concepts.
Beats – in each example you can hear a series of steady clicks, each one being a beat or a pulsation.
Measures – the beats or pulsations are grouped in numbers of two, three and four. A measure is such a pattern of a group of beats. It is very common to find measures having groups of two, three or four beats.
3. Time Signature

When reading music, one of the first element we will encounter is the time signature. Measures are qualified by two numbers used in the time signature. The number on top indicates the number of beats in each measure (we will later explain the function of the number on the bottom):
2 beats per measure
3 beats per measure
4 beats per measure
It is quite common to use the symbol as a time signature to define the measure of .
4. Note Value

Once we understand the concept of measure and beats, we can start reading music.
The duration of a sound is indicated using several symbols. Let’s start by getting to know the symbols with durations of one, two and four beats:
Name (USA) Name (England) Duration Symbol
Whole Note Semibreve 4 beats
Half Note Minim 2 beats
Quarter Note Crotchet 1 beat
Note the relationship of values between the different symbols:
Each whole note (semibreve):
is divided into two half notes (minim).
And each half note (minim)
is divided into two quarter notes (crotchet)
Thus, each symbol will have half the
value of the preceding shape.
Let’s see a musical example using these symbols. The vertical lines (or bar lines) separate and group the notes into measures in order to facilitate reading (we can see three measures in this particular example). You can hear a percussive sound for each beat, and a clarinet sound playing the written notes. Note how a half note will take the duration of two percussive sounds (two beats), the quarter note will take just one beat, and the whole note will take four beats.
5. Dotted Notes and the Tie

We have already looked at symbols with durations of one, two and four beats, but what symbol can we use for a note having a duration of three beats?
There is no symbol for such duration, but we can create one by adding a dot or a tie.
Attaching a dot to the right side of the note will add half of its value to its total duration. For instance, if we add the dot to a half note (minim) – which normally lasts for two beats – we will then have a note lasting three beats instead of two (half of 2 is 1, and 2 + 1 = 3. Let’s now see the value of the shapes we already know, after adding the dot:
Note Duration
6 beats (4 + 2)
3 beats (2 + 1)
1 beat and a half (1 + 1/2)
The tie allows us to achieve the same goal. Using a tie between two notes will add the value of the second note to the value of the first. For instance, if we tie a quarter note (crotchet) to a half note (minim) , we will get a note lasting three beats (same as a dotted half note).
The following musical example illustrates the use of a dotted half note (minim), and a half note tied to a quarter note (crotchet). You will hear a percussive sound for each beat, and a clarinet sound playing the written notes. Note that the resulting rhythm on the first measure (using the tie) is exactly the same as the rhythm found on the second bar (using the dotted note).

6. Rests

In music, silence is just as important as sound. How do we notate silence? We notate silence by using symbols called rest notes, or simply rests.
There is an equivalent rest symbol for each note value. Below we can see the corresponding rest symbols for the note values we already know:
Note Name
(USA) Note Name
(England) Symbol Rest
Whole Note Semibreve
Half Note Minim
Quarter Note Crotchet
7. Values Shorter Than a Beat

The smallest value we have seen up to this point is that of the quarter note (crotchet), which lasts for a whole beat. Of course, there are symbols for notes of shorter duration.
Here you can see symbols that take a half (50%) or a fourth (25%) of a beat:
Symbols Name Value
Eighth note
(quaver) Half of a quarter note.
We can have two eighth
notes for each beat.
Sixteenth note
(semiquaver) One fourth of a quarter note.
We can have four of
these for each beat.
It is common practice to beam together the flags of eighth notes and sixteenth notes that are part of the same beat, in order to facilitate reading.

8. Eighth and Sixteenth Notes (quaver and semiquaver)

There are many possible combinations of eighth notes (quaver) and sixteenth notes (semiquaver) we can use. To make reading easier, it is necessary to learn to identify and comprehend these formulas of combinations. The following table shows some of the most common combinations. The sixteenth notes (semiquaver) below the written notes indicate the subdivision in four equal parts of the beat.

9. Eighth-Note (quaver) and Sixteenth-Note (semiquaver) Rests

There are also symbols to represent silence with the value of eighth notes (quaver) and sixteenth notes (semiquaver):
Note Rest
Following we can see a few examples using rests. sixteenth notes (semiquaver) below the written notes indicate the subdivision in four equal parts of the beat.

10. Triplets

To this point, we have only subdivided each beat in two or four equal parts. However, it is also possible to divide a beat in three equal parts, with the use of triplets. Triplets are notated by writing the number 3 above the group of notes that will form the triplet. Note how, as in the second example, we can join two of the eighth notes that are part of the triplet, forming a quarter note inside the triplet.

11. Beat Unit


Until now, we have used the quarter note (crotchet) to represent the value of a beat. Nevertheless, we can indeed use any note value to serve as the beat unit. In time signatures the lower number indicates the kind of note that gets one beat, i.e., quarter note/crotchet (4), half note/minim (2), eighth note/quaver) (8), sixteenth/semiquaver note (16), etc. (see Time or Meter Signatures for more information).
If we use 2 for the bottom number, the half note (minim) will then become the beat unit. We will now illustrate a series of rhythmic formulas written using the time signature of 2/2. Note that the half note (minim) now represents one beat, the quarter note (crotchet) is a half beat and the eighth note (quaver) is a fourth of a beat.

12. Simple and Compound Meters

The kinds of measures we have studied so far use what is known as simple meter. With simple meters, each beat is subdivided in equal halves. In the case of a 4/4 meter, each beat is divided into two eighth notes, as we saw earlier.
With compound meters, each beat is subdivided into three equal parts. We can tell a compound meter because it uses 6, 9 or 12 for the top number of the time signature. Let’s take a look at several examples of the compound meter of 6 over 8 (6/8). This meter actually has two beats; the note value that has the value of a beat is the dotted quarter note (crotchet), which can be subdivided into three eighth notes (quaver).

13. Reading Musical Notes

Now that we know how to read rhythms, how do we then read musical notes?
Notes are written on a staff:

The clef assigns names to the notes. In the following example we show a staff with a treble clef. The treble clef is commonly used for high pitched instruments like the flute and the violin. This clef assigns the note G to the second line. Note how the treble clef shape seems to curl around the second line. All notes written on that line are a G:

The note written on the space above the G is an A and the one on the following line is a B. As you can see, the notes continue in order (A, B, C, D, E, F, and G) alternating lines and spaces:

Using ledger lines we can write notes higher than the G and lower than the D:

To help the memorization of notes on the staff it is useful to memorize the names of the notes over the lines and spaces:

The notes over the spaces make the word FACE. The notes over the lines can be memorized using the following phrase: Every Good Boy Does Fine.
Practice note reading with our Clef Reading exercise.

An Example
14. Accidentals

All the notes we have seen so far correspond to the white keys of the piano keyboard. We will now see how to write notes that correspond to the black keys of the piano.
Here we show how the white keys of the piano are written on the staff:

How do we write the black keys?
Let’s take an example. The black key located between the C and D keys can be notated by preceding the C with the symbol of the sharp accidental , or by preceding the D with the symbol of the flat accidental . The other keys can be written in a similar way:

The distance between any key and the following one is called a half-step. The sharp symbol raises a note by a half-step, while the flat symbol lowers the note by a half-step.

15. Key Signatures

When a piece is not in the key of C Major or A Minor, it requires the use of regular accidentals. In order to avoid having to keep writing those accidentals, we can place them at the beginning of the piece using what is known as a key signature.
For instance, a piece in the key of D Major makes regular use of the notes of F-sharp and C-sharp. The key signature of D Major will then utilize those two accidentals; meaning that when this key signature is present, all F and C notes are automatically raised and become sharp notes, unless they are preceded by the symbol of the natural accidental.
Following we have a fragment from Beethoven’s famous Ode to Joy, in the key of D Major. Note how all the F and C notes are played sharp:

September 24, 2014 0 Comments


• Leader of Roman Catholic Church from 590-604
• Not the composer of the chants
• Helped to organize and codify the chants that had accumulated, led to the establishment of a uniform liturgical service
• Oversaw the expansion of schools to train singers in performance of sacred repertoire (schola contorum)
• Latin book:”Book of Common Use”
• Is an important source containing the music and texts in the Roman catholic services
• A late 19 century book almost 2000 pages of ordinary and most frequently used texts and chants for baptism, matrimony, ordination and funeral rites.
• Prepared by monks of the Benedictine Abbey of Solesmes(France)
• Woman poet and prophet
• Practice of “tithing”-donating one tenth of one’s worldly goods to the church
• She was a 10th child of noble family and keeping this tradition
• Accepted the life that demanded contemplation and prayer, but also peruse career wrote music and poetry and medical and scientific writing
• Lived in stone walls and one window , took vows at age 14, foretell the future
• 1150 founded religious order in Rupertsberg (Germany)
• Her morality play Ordo virtutum(“The Play of Virtues”)is the best was written to teach righteous Christian Values to an illiterate audience.
• Also “Symphony of the Harmony and Celestial Revelation ”
• Her monophonic melodies resembled plainsong but were newly composed
• Melodies were often based on repeated motives
• 3 collections of manuscripts: “Scivians”

GREGORIAN CHANT: background & characteristics

• Early Christian church music
• Among the earliest forms of notations in the western tradition
• Served as functional music in the worship services of the Roman Catholic Church
• Evolved from the Hebrew chant tradition
• Originally passed down orally
• Used as the basis for many new compositions during the Middle Ages and Renaissance
• Named after Pope Gregory the Great, during whose reign the existing repertory was organized and codified.
• Monophonic texture,
• Modal
• Moves by step or narrow leap
• Unmeasured rhythm and sung without any fixed metrical pattern- instead the melody is sing freely following the natural inflections of the text
• Based on sacred Latin texts

September 24, 2014 0 Comments


Texture- single line (monophony) to complex (multi voice-polyphony)
Notations – pitches and rhythm values notations are staying today
Melodic range – in medieval music narrow range, later more complexes, melodic range increased rhythms – runs parallel to development of notation and polyphony

September 24, 2014 0 Comments


• Falls of Roman Empire and fall of Constantinople
• Development of western European culture called:”Dark Ages” – plagues, lawlessness, religious conflict and wars, and repressive feudal societies.
• The era broken into periods: early Christian, Romanesque, Gothic.
• Also referred as Medieval era meaning “between the ages”, because it separates classical antiquity from Renaissance.
• Charlemagne(ca 768- 814), the Carolingian Renaissance arts and culture lasting now in educational reforms
• Monks and nuns who lived in church are educated and familiar with Latin , served as teachers and scribers
• Knights –pledges their military skills for king and princess for their loyalty, bravery honor.
• Crusades or “Holy wars” to reclaim Jerusalem from Muslims began 1095 and lasted nearly 200 years
• War (13337- 1553) between England and France and the outbreak of bubonic plague (“The Black Death”)
• Music: 2 developments- rise of polyphony, and advancements in notations.
• 10000- 1450 better construction of great cathedral, Cities are center of arts and culture
• Later Middle Ages – plagues by robbers and pirates:1.Scandinavia furs and timber traded English wool,2.England wanted German silver,3.French and Italian wine

September 24, 2014 0 Comments


• Violinist, and son of the violinist, conductor, highly prolific composer; colorful figure in the musical life in Venice, ; he also was catholic priest; had red hair called “ the red priest”; Vivaldi brilliant, idiomatic, writing for strings advanced the art of performances of new heights of virtuosity

Single reed wood wind- clarinet, bass clarinet.
Double reed woodwind – bassoon, contrabassoon.
Pitched percussion – timpani, celesta.
Non-pitched percussion- snare drum, bass drum.
Lowest sounding in bass family- tuba.
Highest sounding in woodwind family – piccolo.
Brass with a slide- trombone.
Plucked string with pedal- harpsichord.

September 24, 2014 0 Comments


The time of turbulence, contrasts, and changes. These qualities are reflected in the art and music of the period. Birthday of opera and death of J.S. Bach. In between many new forms, genres, and textures emerged and new instruments were developed. The crystallization of the major-minor system provided the harmonic backbone of Baroque style. Patronage of the arts was an essential factor in shaping the lives and careers of composers in the 18th century. Artist and musicians relied on the generous support of patrons from different segments of society: aristocracy, the church, the state.. artists were often provided not only with monetary compensation, but also with security ,lodging, and opportunities to develop artistically.
Baroque- from Portuguese means irregular shaped or misshapen pearl;1st used as a derogatory term in reference to the overly ornate art of the era; applied to art, architecture, and music of the 17th and early 18th.
Major-minor tonality- music based on major(Ionian) and minor(Aeolian) scales; replaced by the modal language; serves as the foundation for musical composition.\figured bass- type of musical shorthand development in the baroque era; numbers are placed below the bass line to show harmonic progression;:realized” by basso continuo; provides the structure for guided improvisation.
Basso continuo- baroque performance practice; involves 2 performers- 1 playing the notated bass line and 1 realizing the harmonies as indicated by the figured bass; usually played on harpsichord or organ; provides harmonic framework. Equal temperament- method of tuning keyboard instrument; all semitones within the octave are divided equally ; created enharmonic equivalents(C sharp/D flat)
Terraced dynamics- baroque practice of changing dynamics abruptly; results in start contrast rather than gradual change.
The “affections”- inspired by ancient Greek and Roman writers and orators; refers to emotional states of the soul; in baroque means one clear emotion is usually projected though an entire composition or movement; vocal music depicted the emotions of the text or dramatic situation; was a reaction against the complex polyphony of renaissance music; also referred to as the “doctrine of affections”.
Word painting – musical naturalizationBARO; music mirrors the literal meaning of the words; achieved through melody, rhythm or harmony
Idiomatic writing- the unique technical capabilities of an instrument are highlighted; opposite of “generic”; developed in Baroque era.
Binary form- 2 parts (AB);A ends with open cadence; used frequently in baroque dances and keyboard pieces; set in Baroque arias.
Ternary form (ABA)- B3 parts; B creates more contrast in key and/or material; often used in baroque arias.
Homophonic texture – melody with accompanied harmony; single voice takes over the melodic interest and melody is accompanied; melody on RH and LH has chords; it’s based on harmony.
Polyphonic texture- many voices , 1 or 2 or more melodic lines are combined; it’s based on counter points means note against note