Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

The Middle Ages (Early)

After Roman Empire falls, migration, wars.

The Middle Ages (Later)

Period of cultural growth; Crusades (1096-1291)

The Middle Ages (class distinctions)

Nobility, peasants, clergy. (Roman Catholic church powerful; monks held a virtual monopoly on learning. )

The Middle Ages (14th Century)

Hundred Years' War and Bubonic Plague (feudal system and church authority weakened. Literature stressed graphic realism/earthly sensuality.)

Music in the Middle Ages (450-1450)

Church was the center of musical life (important musicians were priest. Only sacred music was notated.) Music primarily vocal and sacred (instruments generally not used in church. Surviving music manuscripts indicate pitch only.)

Gregorian Chant

Official music of the Roman Catholic Church. Monophonic melody set to sacred Latin text ((calm, otherwordly quality. Represents voice of church instead of individual. Flexible rhythm- improvisational character. Melodies tend to move by step in a narrow range.) Named for Pope Gregory I (r. 509-604) reorganized liturgy. Chant evolved from Jewish synagogues in 1st c. Most melodies created between AD 600 and 1300 (first passed by oral tradition, notated musical uniformity, and earliest manuscript from 9th century.)

Church modes

Basic scales of sacred/secular western music. During Middle Ages and Renaissance. Represent different feelings/emotions.

Listening (Alleluia: Vidimus stellam)

Gregorian chant, monophonic texture, and ternary form: A B A

Secular music in the Middle Ages

First large body of secular songs surviving in decipherable notation from 12th and 13th century (Troubadours and trouveres: French nobles; poet-musicians. Songs about love, crusades, dancing. 1650 melodies preserved-likely had regular meter.) Jongleurs (traveling minstrels): Lowest social level; no civil rights. Sang songs, played instrumental dances.

Listening (Estampe)

Medieval dance music with strong beal. Single melodic line is notated. Improvised instrumental accompaniment.

The development of polyphony (between 700-900)

2nd melody line added to chant (initially improvised and paralleled chant at different pitch.)

The development of polyphony (organum)

Gregorian chant and one or more additional melodic lines.

The development of polyphony (900-1200)

Added line more independent (no longer parallel, has own melodic curve.)

The development of polyphony (c. 1100)

Note-against-note style abandoned (2 lines can have different rhythm and melody. Chant on bottom in long notes; added line interesting. Most polyphonic music created by placing. New melodic lines against known chants.

School of Notre Dame: Measured Rhythm

After 1150, Paris is center of polyphonic music. Leonin and Perotin- choirmasters at Notre Dame (among first notable composers known by name. Developed notation of precise rhythms.) Limited to certain rhymatic patterns. Beat subdivided in 3 (Trinity.) Medieval polyphony has hollow sound- few triads.

14th Century Music: "New Art" (ars nova)

Secular music more important than sacred music. New music notation system (Any rhythmic pattern can be specified. Beats can be subdivided in two or three years. Syncopation becomes important rhythmic practice.) 14th Century Italian and French music- ars nova (profound changes in musical style.)

The Renaissance (1450-1600)

Rebirth of human creativity. Age of exploration and adventure; curiosity and individualism. Humanism: intellectual movement (focus on human life and accomplishments. Captivated by ancient Greece and Roman cultures. Visual artists depicted realism.) Catholic Church far less powerful- Protestant Reformation. Education status symbol for aristocracy/ upper middle class. C. 1450: Interventipn of printing with moveable type. Printing widened music circulation. Musical training expected for educated people. Musicians work in churches, courts, towns (musicians enjoyed higher status pay. Composers sought credit for their work. Leading composers cane from Flanders.

Characteristics of Renaissance music

Words and music (vocal music more important than instrumental. Word painting-musical representation of specific poetic images. Texture (chiefly ponyphonic, which is 4, 5, 6 part; imitation between voices. Fuller sound; expanded pitch range (bass register; consonant chords favored with use of triads.) "Golden age" of a cappella music- choral music without instrumental accompaniment.) Rhythm and melody (rhythm has gentle flow rather than sharply defined beat. Each melodic line has great rhythmic independence. Melodies usually more along a scale with few large leaps.


short polyphonic choral work. Latin text other than ordinary of the mass.

Listening (Ave Maria...virgo serena (c. 1475))

4-voice motet.

Sacred music in the Renaissance

Mass (polyphonic choral composition of the Catholic Church. Palestrina (c. 1525-1594.) Career centered in Rome. Model for mass composers.) Counter-Reformation-----Council of Trent (1545-1563) ( Church music should inspire religious contemplation.)

Secular music in the Renaissance (description)

Vocal music (music an important leisure activity. People expected to play instrument and read notation.) Madrigal (for several solo voices set to short poems, usually about love. Combined homophonic and polyphonic textures. Word painting and unusual harmonies. Origin in Italy c. 1520; to England in 1588.

Listening (As Vesta was Descending (1601))

6 voices Madrigal. Note text painting. Pitches rise on "ascending." Pitches fall on "descending." "Running down." "Two by two", "three by three, "all alone."

Secular music in the Renaissance (instrument)

Renaissance Lute Song (song for solo voice and lute (plucked string instrument.)) Popular instrument in the Renaissance home. Homophonic texture. Lute accompanies the vocal melody.

Renaissance Instrumental music

Still subordinate to vocal music. 15th century: Instrumentalists accompanied voices (harpsichord, organ, lute.) 16th century: music written for instruments. Instrumental music intended for dancing (performed in pairs (pavane and passamezzo (duple) with galliard which is a triple)) Loud (outdoor) and soft (indoor) instruments. Instruments come in consorts or families.

Renaissance instruments

Recorders, shawms, cornetts, sackbutsm lutes, curtal, viols, regal, and harpsichord.


whistle-type woodwind instruments.


Woodwind, double-reed ancestor of the oboe.


Brass; wooden instrument with cup-shaped mouthpiece.


Brass; family of early trombones (alto, tenor, bass.)


String; plucked string instrumental with a half-pear shaped body.


Woodwind, double-reed precursor of the bassoon.


String; family of bowed string instruments with 6 strings.


Keyboard; small portable organ with reed pipes.


Keyboard; plectra plucks wire strings.

The Venetian School: Late Renaissance

Focal point for music in Venice; St. Mark's Cathedral (employed up to 20 instrumentalists and 30 singers. Music directors important Renaissance composers. 2 widely seperated choir lofts, each with organ.) Giovanni Gabrieli (c.1555-1612); Music director/organist at St. Marks (composed for space.) Polychoral motet: motet for 2 or more choirs. Sonata piane forte (1597; one of the earliest instrumental pieces to specify dynamics and instrumentation.)

Listening (Plaudite (clap your hands))

16 voice part, divided into 3 choirs.

The Baroque Period (1600-1750)

Fills space with action and movement (visual art: implies motion; busy. Architecture: elaborate; example: Versailles.) Aristocracy very rich and powerful (need entertainment and "Age of absolutism"- power over subjects.

Baroque Music

Religious institutions (use emotional/theatrical qualities of art to make worship more attractive/appealing.) Middle class commissioned art. Experiment based scientist. Two major Baroque composers (Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and George Frideric Handel (1685-1759.)) Early Baroque: 1600-1640 (Italy: music for tests of extreme emotion---opera. Favored homophomic texture. Dissonances and contrasts of sound.) Middle Baroque: 1640-1690 (Italian style spreads across Europe. Major and minor scales. Instrumental music, especially violin. Late Baroque: 1690-1750 (harmony: dominated chord to the tonic. Instrumental and vocal music equally important. Polyphonic music returns to favor.)

Characteristics of Baroque Music

Unity of mood (expresses one mood throughout piece. Affections: emotional states represented through specific musical languages. Exception: vocal music (text)) Rhythm (patterns repeated throughout- provides safety and energy. Beat more prominent.) Melody (feeling of continuity-opening melody heard again and again. Continuous expanding of melodic sequence.) Dynamics (constant volumes with abrupt shifts (Terraced dynamics: alternation between loud and soft. Organ and harpsichord well suited for constant dynamics.)) Texture (late Baroque-mostly polyphonic with extensive imitation. Texture can vary.) Chords mess with melodic line (bass is foundation.) Bass Continuo (most characteristic feature of Baroque music. Accompaniment made up of a bass part played by at least 2 instruments (keyboard and low melodic instrument.) Figured Bass- bass part with numbers. Words and music (word painting continues. Emphasize words by writing many rapid notes for single syllable of text.)

The Baroque Orchestra

Small (10-40 players.) Based on violin family. Nucleus: bass continuo and upper strings. Use of WW, Brass, and Percussion. Variable composers specified instrumentation (beautiful effects from specific tone colors. Tone colors subordinate to other musical elements.)

Baroque Forms

Movement: piece that sounds completely independent but is a part of a larger composition (unity of mood in each movement. Pause between movements. Movement contrast.) Ternary and binary forms common. Contrasts between bodies of sound.

Music in Baroque Society

Music written to order- new music desored. Courts- music indicated affluence. Court Music Director (prestige, good, pay but considered a skilled servant.) Some aristocrats were musicians. Church music is elaborate (where ordinary citizens heard music.) Some public opera houses. Music careers taught apprenticeship (orphanages taught music.)

Concerto Grosso

Small group of soloists and orchestra (tutti.) Multi-movement work (usually 3.) (fast, slow (quieter), and fast (dancelike.))

Ritornello Form

Ritornello: repeated section of music. Frequently used in 1st and 3rd movements. Theme repeatedly presented in fragments. Contrasts between solo sections and tutti.

Listening (Brandenburg Concert No. 5 in D major, first movement)

For string and group of soloists. For movement: ritornello form.

The Fugue

Cornerstone of Baroque music. Polyphonic composition based on one main theme. Vocal or instrumental; texture usually 3, 4, 5 voices. Subject: main theme, presented initially in imitation (next voice enters after previous voice has fully presented the subject.) Form is flexible: constant feature is beginning. Answer: 2nd subject is presented in dominant scale. Countersubject: melodic idea that accompanies subject fairly consistently. Episodes: transitional section between subjects.

Musical Procedures

Stretto: subject imitated before its completed. Pedal point: single tone (usually bass) held while other voices change harmony.

Fugue Subject Variations

Inversion- turned upside down. Retrograde- backwards. Augmentation- time values lengthened. Diminution- time values shortened.

Listening (Organ Fugue in G Minor)

Note individual voice entry on same melody (subject.)


Drama sung to orchestral accompaniment (Libretto: text of opera, written by librettist. Music written by composer.) Opera can be serious, comic or both.

Solo Song Types

Aria: song for voice with orchestral accompaniment (expresses emotion.) Recitative: vocal line that imitates speech (presents plot material.) Ensemble: piece performed by 3 or more singers. Chorus: generates atmosphere and comments on action. Opera Orchestra (orchestra pit: sunken area in front of the stage. Full of instrumentation; fewer strings. Supports singers, depicts mood and atmosphere. Conductor shapes entire work. Opera opens with an overture or prelude.)

Opera in the Baroque Era

Born in Italy; form musical discussions of the Camerata in Florence (create new vocal stage modeled on music of ancient Greek tragedy---recitative. Homophonic: soloists with chordal accompaniment. Euridice (1600) by Peri: earliest Opera. Opera composed for ceremonial occasions at court (display of magnificence and splendor. Subject matter for Greek mythology and ancient history.) First public opera house in 1637. Rise of virtuoso singers (castrato: male singer castrated before puberty, they received the highest fees.) Secco recitative: accompaniment by basso continuo. Accompaniment recitative: supported by orchestra. Da capo aria: aria in A B A form (melody embellished with ornaments on repeat.)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Late Baroque Italian composer and violinist. Taught at Venetian orphange for girls. Died in poverty, forgotten until 1950s. Best known for 450 Concerti Grossi and Solo Concertos (soloists and orchestra.)

Listening (La Primavera : Spring)

Concerto for violing and string orchestra. Note: Homophonic texture and ritornello form. Baroque program music: instrumental music associated with story, poem, idea, and scene. Descriptive effects (trills for bird songs, string tremolos for thunder.)

Characteristics of the Classical Style

Contrast of mood between and written within movements. Rhythm is flexible with multiple patterns for variety. Texture basically homophonic- frequent shifts. Melodies are tuneful, easy to remember, folk-like (balanced and symmetrical.)

Characteristics of the Classical Style

Dynamic shading expresses emotion (Crescendo and decrescendo. Piano replaces harpsichord.) End of basso continuo.

The Classical Orchestra

Size increases, standard group of 4 sections (strings, woodwinds in pairs- clarinet is new. Brass: pairs of horns, trumpets. Percussion: 2 timpani.) Note: trombones used in opera/church music. Composers expploited individual tone colors. Role of each section (strings most important; 1st violins with melody. Woodwinds add contrasting timbre; melodic solos. Brass adds power. Timpani for rhythmic bite and emphasis.

Classical Forms

Instrumental works in several contrasting movements. Classical symphonies and string quartets (4 movements (fast, slow, dance-related fast.) Movements use different forms. Movements often contrast themes vividly. Musical tensions resolved by end of movement.

Composer, patron, and public in the Classical Period

Changing society affected musicians (Haydn: worked 30 years for aristocrat family. Mozart: began at court, left, died in debt. Beethoven: successful independent musician.) Prospering middle class sought aristocrat luxury (Theatre, literature, music. Public concerts. Printed music, instruments, music lesson. Composers for middle class tastes (pieces for amateur musicians. Comic operas ridicule aristocracy. Dance movements less elegant more rustic. Composition flavored with folk and popular music.)


Became the musical capitak of Europe (musicians came to study, be recognized. Aristocrats bring orchestras. Musicians play gigs in wealthy homes. Outdoor music-serenading street band.

Sonata (sonata-allegro) form

For single movement; ternary (A B A.) Exposition (themes presented) and development (themes treated new ways.) Recapitulation (themes return) and often concludes with a coda (tail.)

Listening (Symphony No. 40 in G Minor)

First Movement and sonato form.

Themes and Variations

Single part form- no large contrasting. "B" section: (A A' A'' A''..) Basic idea presented and repeated (each repeated altered (varies) the musical idea. Variations all about same length. Alter melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, accompaniment, key.)

Listening (Symphony No. 94 in G Major)

Second movement. Note: theme and variations form. Countermelody: melodic idea that accompanies main theme.

Minuet and Trio

Ternary form based on stately court dance of the Baroque; in triple meter (each ternary part itself ternary; minuet: A, Trio: B, minuet: A.) Related form is scherzo.


Tuneful main theme returns over and over (lively, pleasing and simple to remember.) Alternates with other contrasting sections. Common rondo patterns are ABACA (small rondo) and ABACABA (large rondo.)

The Classical Symphony

Extended ambitious composition (20-45 minutes.) Sonata for orchestra. Exploits expanded range of timbre and dynamics of orchestra. Themes in one movement rarely appear in other movements. Unified partly by same key in 3 movements. Multi-movement instrumental work (1. Fast-frequently sonata form. 2.Slow- either Sonata form, ABA, or Theme. 3. Dance- usually Minuet and Trio or scherzo (fast dance-like) form. 4. Fast- frequently Sonata or Rondo form.

The Classical Concerto

Work for instrumental soloist and orchestra. Combines soloist's virtuosity with power and timbre of orchestra. Usually three movements (Fast-Slow-Fast); lasts 20-45 minutes, Cadenza-unaccompanied showpiece for soloist (inserted near end of 1st (or 3rd) movement. Originally improvised, after 18th century written out.

Classical Chamber Music

Designed for the intimate setting of a room, rather than a concert hall (lighter sound.) Small group of 2-9 instrumentalists, 1 per part (subtle and intimate, intended to please performer and listener, each player shares thematic material.) String Quartet; most important setting (2 violins, viola, cello. 4 movements: usually Fast-Slow-Dance-Fast. Other settings (sonata for violin and piano. Piano trio (violin, cello, piano.) String Quintet (2 violins, 2 violas, cello.)

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Early/mid-classical period Austrian composer. Age 8; choir boy in Vienna until voice changed. Worked in Vienna until hired by Esterhazy family. 30 years as a skilled servant-became famous. Moved to Vienna rich and honored.

Haydn's music

Pioneer in development f symphony/string quartet. Influenced style of both Mozart and Beethoven. 104 symphonies, 68 string quartets.

Listening (Trumpet Concerto in E Flat Major (1796))

Third movement: allegro

The phrase Middle Ages refers to the period of European history spanning from?


In the Middle Ages, most important musicians were what?


A virtual monopoly on learning during the Middle Ages was held by?

Monks in monasteries

The church frowned on instruments because of their?

Earlier role in Pagan rites.

Most medieval music was?


The music the Medieval monks sang was called?

Gregorian Chant

Gregorian chant is?

Monophonic in texture.

Which of the following is not true of Gregorian chant?

It is usually polyphonic in texture.

The earliest surviving chant manuscripts date from about the _______ century.


The church modes were?

The basic scales of western music during the Middle Ages.

The form of the chant Alleluia: Vidimus stellam is?


The first large body of secular songs that survives in decipherable notation was composed of?

During the twelth and thirteenth centuries

The first large body of secular songs that survives in decipherable notation was composed by?

French nobles called troubadours and trouvères.

The French secular songs of the Middle Ages usually dealt with?

The Crusades, dancing, and love.

The wandering minstrels, or jongleurs, of the Middle Ages did what?

Performed music and acrobatics in castles, taverns, and town squares, lived on the lowest level of society, and played instrumental dances on harps, fiddles, and lutes.

One function of secular music in the late Middle Ages was to provide accompaniment for?


An estampie is a medieval?


Which of the following statements is not true of the medieval estampie?

It was intended for religious service.

The first steps toward the development of polyphony were taken sometime between 700 and 900, when?

Monks in monastery choirs began to add a second melodic line to Gregorian chant.

______________ is a term applied to medieval music that consists of Gregorian chant and one or more additional melodic lines.


In medieval times, most polyphonic music was created by?

Placing new melodic lines against known chants.

The center of polyphonic music in Europe after 1150 was?


Leonin and Perotin are notable because they?

Are the first important composers known by name, indicated definite time values and a clearly defined meter in their music, and were the leaders of the school of Notre Dame.

The term ars nova refers to?

Italian and French music of the fourteenth century.

The Renaissance in music occurred between?

1450 to 1600

The Renaissance may be described as an age of?

Curiosity and individualism, exploration and adventure, and the "rebirth" of human creativity.

The intellectual movement called humanism did what?

Focused on human life and its accomplishments.

Many prominent Renaissance composers, who held important posts all over Europe, came from what was then?


Which of the following statements is not true of Renaissance music?

Instrumental music became more important than vocal music during the Renaissance.

The leading music center in sixteenth-century Europe was?


The texture of Renaissance music is chiefly?


Renaissance music sounds fuller than medieval music because why?

Composers considered the harmonic effect of chords rather than superimposing one melody above another, the bass register is used for the first time, and the typical choral piece has four, five, or six voice parts of nearly equal melodic interest.

A cappella refers to?

Unaccompanied choral music.

The two main forms of sacred Renaissance music are the mass and the what?


The Renaissance motet is a what?

Polyphonic choral work set to a sacred Latin text other than the ordinary of the mass.

Palestrina's career centered in?


The movement in which the Catholic church sought to correct abuses and malpractices within its structure is known as?

The Counter-Reformation.

The Council of Trent attacked the church music of the Renaissance because it?

Used secular tunes, noisy instruments, and theatrical singing.

The Renaissance madrigal began around 1520 in?


The Renaissance madrigal is a?

Piece for several solo voices set to a short poem, usually about love.

During the Renaissance every educated person was expected to?

Read musical notation, play a musical instrument, and be skilled in dance.

Besides the madrigal, this was another type of secular vocal music which enjoyed popularity during the Renaissance, which is?

Lute song.

A versatile plucked string instrument with a body shaped like half a pear, popular during the Renaissance, was the?


Lute songs are mostly what in texture?


In most lute songs, the lute accompaniment?

Is subordinate to the voice.

Much of the instrumental music composed during the Renaissance was intended for?


Which of the following is not true about Giovanni Gabrieli?

He served as Organist and Music director at St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, He was one of the first composers to specify dynamics, and He was one of the first composers to specify instrumentation.

A sackbut is an early version of which modern instrument?


The baroque, as a stylistic period in western art music, encompassed the years?

1600 to 1750

The early baroque was characterized by?

Homophonic texture.

The middle baroque was characterized by?

A diffusion of the style into every corner of Europe.

Instrumental music became as important as vocal music for the first time in the ____________ period.

Late Baroque

Affections in baroque usage refers to?

Emotional states or moods of music

A baroque musical composition usually expresses ____________within the same movement.

One basic mood.

The compelling drive and energy in baroque music are usually provided by?

Repeated rhythmic patterns.

Melodic sequence refers to?

The successive repetition of a musical idea at higher or lower pitches.

Terraced dynamics refers to?

The sudden alternation from one dynamic level to another.

The main keyboard instruments of the baroque period were the organ and the?


The most characteristic feature of baroque music is its use of?

Basso continuo

The word movement in music normally refers to?

A piece that sounds fairly complete and independent but is part of a larger composition.

The position of music director during the baroque period was that of?

A high-class servant with few personal rights.

In the baroque period, the ordinary citizen's opportunities for hearing music usually came from the?


The large group of players in a concerto grosso is known as the?


The first and last movements of the concerto grosso are often in ____________ form.


The solo instruments in Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 are the ____________, violin, and harpsichord.


A polyphonic composition based on one main theme is the?


The main theme of a fugue is called the?


When the subject of a fugue is presented in the dominant scale, it is called the?


In many fugues, the subject in one voice is constantly accompanied in another voice by a different melodic idea called a(n)?


Transitional sections of a fugue that offer either new material or fragments of the subject or countersubject are called?


____________ is a musical procedure in which a fugue subject is imitated before it is completed.


A ____________ is a single tone, usually in the bass, that is held while the other voices produce a series of changing harmonies against it.

Pedal point.

Presenting the subject of a fugue in lengthened time values is called?


Presenting the subject of a fugue in shortened time values is called?


An ____________ is a play, set to music, sung to orchestral accompaniment, with scenery, costumes, and action.


The text, or book, of a musical dramatic work is called the?


See More

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording

Create Set