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Music 1102A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter full course: Hildegard Of Bingen, Gregorian Chant, Melodic Motion


Department
Music
Course Code
Music 1102A/B
Professor
Kate Helsen
Chapter
full course

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Music 1102B
Monday January 9, 2017 The Elements of Music: A Brief Introduction
The elements of music:
-melody: a single line of notes heard in succession as a coherent unit (more complex than you
thinkmust coherent) horizontally
-note: smallest unit of music (cell)
-notes form into phrases separated by breaths of pauses
-cadence: point of arrival (something different that signals the end)
-melodies constructed from sub phrases and phrases, which for complete statements
ending with a cadence
-melodic motion: either conjunct (motion by steps) or disjunct (motion by leaps)
-most melodies use both types
-melodic notes typically derive from a scale (series of stepwise notes spanning an octave)
-interval: distance between two notes
-scales combine whole steps and half steps, form building blocks of a melody
-central note of scale or melody determines its key
-standard Western music uses 12 keys with two possible modes
Major Mode: do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do; sounds bright or happy
Minor Mode: same as major, but lowered Mi and Ti sound darker
-rhythm: the ordering of music through time
Meter: underlying, recurring pattern of beats
Triple Meter: one strong beat followed by two weak ones
Duple Meter: one strong beat followed by one weak or some multiple of two
Measure: rhythmic unit, represented by bars in noted music
-harmony: the sound created by multiple voices playing or singing together (vertical)
-chord: three or more notes played at the same moment
-most use different chords to create variety
-tonic (home-primary key area of a piece) or dominant (away from home)
-texture: based on the number and general relationship of musical lines or voices
-monophonic: single melodic line in unison
-homophonic: melody with supporting accompaniment
-polyphonic: melody performed against another line of equal importance, every line is a
melody
-timbre: the character of a sound
-physical property of the instrument making the sound (different instruments/voices can
change same melody)
-range of musical timbre enormous, from instruments to voices, individually or together
in combinations
-dynamics: determine the volume of a given passage (soft or loud)
-can change suddenly or gradually (ie. piano, forte, fortissimo)
-form: the structure of a whole piece of music (how we talk about what’s going on in one level of
abstraction)
-based on 3 possible strategies (repetition, variation, contrast)
-different sections diagrammed with letters (ABACA)

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-word-music relationships: how the music captures the meaning and spirit of its text
-how do notes relate to words
-textual and musical structures can match
-individual word or emotions can correspond to other musical elemnts (i.e. high notes on
“and the rockets red flare”)
Beyond the Elements: Genre
-the category of a given work, determined by a combination of its performance medium and
social function
-shapes our expectations of any given work
-knowing typical nature and function of genre can help us understand unknown works
Wednesday January 11, 2017.
READINGS: The Middle Ages (pp. 16 21), Hildegard von Bingen (pp. 22 29)
- “The Middle Ages” between the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE and the
beginning of the Renaissance in the early fifteenth century
-the Church dominated cultural life, including music which was perceived as a means of serving
God
-generations of anonymous composers (many priests/monks) developed plainchant (or Gregorian
chant) which consisted of monophonic, unaccompanied melodies sung by medieval church, one
voice or choir to protect religious texts
-projected words of liturgy; instructed people about words of divine
-secular courts also needed voices for ceremonies and entertainment
-polyphony used for both sacred and secular (multiple independent voices sung or played
together)
-responsorial chant: alternates between soloist and chorus
-medieval courts used the arts as a means of projecting their cultural power; competed for
services of best artist
-instruments of the middle ages were for the most part quite different than today (hence different
sounds, and the songs sound different now)
-neumes: early form of notes used in plainchant
-Hildegard von Bingen’s Play of Virtues is a morality play, a dramatized allegory of good and
evil struggling over the fate of a single soul, each of the 16 virtues has a different singer
-monophonic texture: whether by one or multiple, allows performers to project with clarity
-Hildegard’s music moves primarily but steps, but occasionally leaps to add variety
-a sentence of music almost always ends with a cadence
-where we no only have two modes (major C to C and minor A toA) medieval had four
additional modes each of which uses a sequence of whole steps and half steps different from
standard scale today (each was given its own Greek name Dorian on D, Phrygian on E, Lydian
on F, Mixolydian on G, Aeolian on A, Ionian on C)
-composer can either set each syllable to one note (syllabic) or to two notes (melismatic)
LECTURE The Middle Ages 476 CE Early Fifteenth Century
-1000-year period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance
-medieval music reflected variety of life

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-plainchant and polyphony (interchanging voices) were important developments
-sounds unfamiliar, but uses same basic elements
Music For Sacred Spaces
-churches were monuments to God
-inspired by Gothic architecture
-sacred music enhanced texts and inspired worshippers
-plainchant ideal for projecting text through large spaces (rather than just one person talking)
-music composed specially for nine daily services
Music For Entertainment
-castles were symbols of worldly power
-courts projected political and cultural power
-courts employed wandering minstrels, poet composers, and musicians
-music captured simple pains and pleasures of being human
-texts could be bawdy and explicit
Music For Dancing
-dance was a significant social activity (structured way of connecting classes everyone dances)
-dances were group activities, accompanied by a drummer
-instruments of the Middle Ages different from today’s
Information Technology 1.0
-music transmitted orally until the tenth century
-earliest manuscripts use simple notation
-music had to be written and copied by hand
-ink and parchment were expensive
-copyists worked slowly and carefully
-manuscripts subject to deviation
--answers for how they spread memorized music accurately: medieval mind was powerful at
memorizing (i.e. memory was constantly being trained)
Hildegard von Bingen Play of Virtues
-was an abyss, wrote poetry were she would have a seizure and sing her poetry
-monophonic texture (single or multiple voices singing the same music in unison)
-liturgical drama where the soul is trying to decide between virtues and devil (opera)
-composed ca. 1150
-morality play: dramatized allegory of good and evil struggling over the fate of a single soul
-confrontations between the Satan and 16 virtues (i.e. Charity, Obedience, Humility, Chastity)
-virtues associated with the female gender
-performed by nuns at Hildegard’s covenant
-Satan does not sing, but speaks his lines
-Hell was believed to be devoid of music
-Satan performed by priest assigned to covenant
-historical context: some popular works today also show struggle between good and evil
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