Friday, January 7, 2011
Showed a text: the beginning of the Gospel of John.
The way that people in the Medieval era thought about word and text is
represented by this text.
“In the beginning there was a word, and the word was God” was taken
Played music with the text: this type of music is often played in movies, in
sacred buildings, cathedrals, to set the tone. This music is a chant. The
exact genre is dependent on the actual words, and is described as text
o A Hymn is a specific type of chant.
o Text setting specifically is taking a preexisting text and setting it to
for the most part, the text existed first (we know no
Today we will discuss Medieval Music (see notes). The Medieval Period is also called
the Dark Ages (people later in history passing judgment on earlier history).
History is something told by men (or women), and is inevitably prejudiced
We speak about the Medieval Period starting about 450, but the written period of
Medieval music only starts around the 9 thcentury.
HOMEWORK: Find the answers to the questions at the end of the last lecture notes.
This type of thing will be on the exam. St. Augustine
One of the things that Monks (esp) did in monasteries was preserving the tradition of
writing. Everything before ~1350 (Renaissance) is all hand written, and printing
presses were not yet invented. This is very labour intensive and expensive.
It is hard that we are talking about a one thousand year period in music, since the
musical changes that happened within this period are immense and hard to describe.
We divide the Medieval Period into three time periods
We rarely have to know any dates for this course, when we do he will tell
us. But we do have to know the three time periods in the notes
o 9 , 12 thand 14 th centuries (800s, 1100s, 1300s)
We know from diaries, etc that people danced (not in church- considered pagan).
Instruments were played. But vocal music in the 9 century and all centuries after it
is sacred. This is a matter of literacy for the most part.
the singing of this music/text is part of religious practice, and by this point
is an old practice
*Discussed RCC Handout. They performed their Divine Office at all of these different
times of day, many times per day.
texts must be spoken, chanted, recited or sung. This is part of the way
that the memorized it
o it’s a very good way to memorize something- think of how many
songs we have memorized!
they were singing it in latin, which was a dead language by the 9 century
(no one spoke it as their first language anymore) o but it was not translated because it was a sacred text, not to be
o eventually it’s translated into German, than later common
languages that everyone spoke
this caused a terrible schism when it began to be translated.
The music and the text (a LOT of it) was set, and sacred.
The Divine Office is private: the monks and nuns do this among
themselves (when they’re cloistered). Masses are public.
What to memorize from the Structure of the Mass- those in capitals, with
asterisks. These are the parts which are most commonly set to music.
Secular culture did not have a written tradition that was being preserved. All
traditions were oral, and if the music was in fact written down then they were thst.
it is known that a lot is lost because everything found from the 9 century
is known to not be the beginning of Christian worship or this music
This was further validated because volumes discussing musical theory and
how to make this religious music were also found. This gives evidence of
The manuscript shown at the beginning is an example of a lot of effort. Earlier
manuscripts had less decoration, and had Latin script with scratches above it.
the scratches are a type of notation which does not have lines. Later
musical notation has lines that tell you what pitch it is in, and how high or
low the pitstes are in terms of each other
From a 21 century perspective, this is more advanced (hard on us), bu