Medieval music (I): religious music

Generally speaking, the Middle Ages in Europe refers to the period from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 to the beginning of the Renaissance in the 15th century. The name “Middle Ages” was also invented by the Renaissance people, specifically during the “Ancient Roman Hellenistic period.” The period between the “Renaissance” and the “Middle Ages”. The name “Middle Ages” is often used in a pejorative sense to describe this “dark period” of decadence and religious envelopment.

Medieval music is divided into two time periods and four levels.

The two time periods are the 5th – 13th centuries and the 14th century.

The four levels are: religious music, secular music, and music theory in the 5th-13th century period; in the 14th century period, I explain one main level, French and Italian music.

Since the Middle Ages were mainly “overshadowed” by Christianity, religious music naturally played a relatively important role.

I. Gregorian Chant

As mentioned in the previous article, Christianity has different rituals in different parts of Europe, and different rituals have different music, which It made the ritual system of the churches in the regions of the time very complicated. In the Middle Ages, Christianity solved this problem. It is said that the man who solved the problem was Pope Gregory I (reigned about 590-604).

The music used in Christian ceremonies is called chant. At that time, Pope Gregory I collected and compiled a set of chants, which were then used throughout the country. It is named after him and is called “Gregorian Chant”.

There is a legend here that is very interesting. When Gregory was compiling this chant, a dove sang it to him frantically in his ear. Stenographer (distressed stenographer).

Through the audio we can determine some of the basic characteristics of Gregorian chant music: single melody, Latin chant, free rhythm, narrow range, rustic style, etc.

Gregorian chant is an important symbol of the development of religious music in the Middle Ages, on which the subsequent religious music has developed and changed.

II. Polyphonic music

As mentioned above, the early religious music of Gregorian chant was usually monophonic. But from the end of the 9th century, “polyphonic music” began to appear. The term “polyphonic music” refers to music for two or more voices at the same time.

(I) Algernon

In the 9th century, the first polyphonic music appeared, called “Algernon”. “It usually has two parts, one for Gregorian chant and a new part over Gregorian chant. Or the “parallel” voices below. Parallel” is an early form of polyphonic music, but it also appears later on in the same chorus as Gregorian chant, “oblique progression”, and “parallel”. “Backwards”, “mixed” forms.

(ii) Notre Dame de Paris Redeployment

During the 12th century and the first half of the 13th century, a new style of polyphonic composition arose in Notre Dame de Paris, France, established mainly by two men, Leonan and Perrotin.

1. Leonan.

Leonin (c. 1163-1190) was a poet who worked at Notre Dame in Paris and was also a Composer: Leonan has written a collection of music called “The Complete Works of Algernon”. Leonan has written a collection of music entitled “The Complete Works of Algernon”. It’s great. Indeed, it’s amazing.

At the time, there were two typical polyphonic writing styles, one was called “florid Algernon”, which was the new Algernon voice in Gerry. Above the Gori chant, the rhythm is freer, and it can even be sung all the time. There is also a “Disconte Olgarnon”, which differs from the “Oratorio Olgarnon” in that it has a new Olgarnon voice. It needs to be sung in unison with Gregorian chant.

Leonan’s “Algernon in full” is a chant for two voices based on the three modes: “Algernon in fancy”, “Algernon in disconcerting” and “Gregorian chant originally sung in unison”.

Let’s listen to a passage from Leonan’s “Olgarnon Magnificat.

2. Perotan

Perotin (c. 1200), Perotin was a representative of the second phase of the Notre Dame polyphony, who The Olgarnon Omnibus was revised, and further more complex polyphonic music was composed. And what is the complexity?

Perotin’s polyphony is usually in three or four parts, with the addition of voice parts to the original two. Also, during this period, “rhythmic patterns” emerged, which, in conjunction with the Leonan audio above, indicate that Leonan’s polyphony was in a state of flux. Rhythm is simple, but in Perotin’s time, six “rhythm patterns” emerged, which Perotin applied to the in polyphony. Because the rhythms and voices change, it makes the issue of voice alignment and melodic direction very complicated.

Perotin has an even better point. In his previous religious polyphonic music compositions, essentially the lowest voice part had to be Gregorian chant. While Perotin and his contemporaries were writing religious polyphony, they had some of the lowest voices in their polyphonic compositions. It began to adopt its own melodies, which made the work irrelevant to the original religious music and made it non-religious. Polyphonic music, but it is interesting to note that this non-religious polyphonic music is still used in religious ceremonies. This polyphony is called “Konduktuis”.

Let’s listen to a piece, “Praise to the Virgin Mary” by Conductus.

3. scripture song

Beginning in the second half of the 13th century, Olgarnon and Conduitus faded away, and the most popular polyphonic genre of the period was the scripture song. Scripture song is a further development of polyphonic music, how has it changed compared to the previous polyphonic music?

First, there are the lyrics. Because polyphonic music is a vocal work, vocal works involve lyrics, and polyphonic music before scripture songs usually has only the most The lower voices have sung words, the upper voices are wordless, and the scripture song, which gives the other voices all different sung words, has a different content The name “Motet” (Mot means “word” in French) also has something to do with this way of composition. The name of the song also has something to do with this creative approach.

Secondly, there is the melody. Scripture songs usually have three or four parts, with the lowest part beginning with a secular tune, which makes both religious and secular music more or less the same. The line between the two begins to blur by the scripture song.

In the later development of scripture song, a form called Franck scripture song emerged, named after the 13th century composer Franck, which differed from previous scripture songs in that it had a longer sung third part than the second part, which allowed for shorter note durations in the third part, increasing the contrast between the voices.

The development of religious music in the Middle Ages, especially polyphony, laid the foundation for the Renaissance and even the Baroque period that followed, hinting at the great achievements of Baroque polyphony.