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Ch 2: Medieval Music

About This Chapter

Watch our video lessons and take self-assessment quizzes to learn about the different aspects of medieval music. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

Medieval Music - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Music was as much a part of daily life in medieval times as it is today. It was used at celebrations and to help create an atmosphere that matched the occasion. Various instruments were used, such as recorders, horns and drums. Many people also believed that music helped with digestion, so it was usually played during meals. In this chapter, you'll learn plenty more about this era of music. You'll begin to understand what characterizes it from other types of music and see the distinct nature of this type of music. By the end of the chapter, you'll have learned about:

  • The history of medieval music
  • Gregorian chant and types of medieval music
  • Composers like Leonin, Perotin and Palestrina
  • Love songs from this era
  • Female composers

Video Objective
What is Medieval Music? - History, Church Music & Composers Discover how medieval music began and its characteristics.
Medieval Church Music: Gregorian Chant & Plainchant Discover Gregorian chant music and other medieval church music.
Singing and Polyphony in the Middle Ages and Renaissance See how singing worked in this era.
Motets: Characteristics & Composers Study motets and its characteristics and composers.
Unrequited and Courtly Love Songs of the Medieval Period Explore the love songs of this period.
Medieval Composers: Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume de Machaut, Leonin & Perotin Take a look at the various composers who found fame in this period.
Leonin and Perotin: Musical Contributions, Polyphony & Ars Antiqua Look at the contributions from Leonin and Perotin.
Hildegard von Bingen and Female Church Composers: Music and Styles Study the music and styles from female church composers.
Guillaume de Machaut: Music and Ars Nova Style Examine the Ars Nova style.

9 Lessons in Chapter 2: Medieval Music
What Is Medieval Music? - History, Church Music & Composers

1. What Is Medieval Music? - History, Church Music & Composers

In this lesson, you will learn about the characteristics of medieval music. You'll learn about the influence and power of the church in music and composers who exemplified these ideals, as well as those who brought music out of the church and into the streets and kingdoms across Western Europe.

Motets: Characteristics & Composers

2. Motets: Characteristics & Composers

What is a motet? How did motets differ in the Medieval and Renaissance periods? Learn the characteristics of the different motets and key composers from each period in this lesson.

Medieval Composers: Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume de Machaut, Leonin & Perotin

3. Medieval Composers: Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume de Machaut, Leonin & Perotin

Four of the most important composers from the Medieval Period were Hildegard von Bingen, Leonin, Perotin, and Guillaume de Machaut. Learn about their contributions and key musical works in this lesson.

Medieval Church Music: Gregorian Chant & Plainchant

4. Medieval Church Music: Gregorian Chant & Plainchant

Why is Gregorian Chant called 'Gregorian Chant?' Learn the answer, and discover the specific elements of Gregorian Chant, including its harmonic structures, variations and how it changed throughout the Medieval Period.

Singing and Polyphony in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

5. Singing and Polyphony in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Vocal music was important in both sacred and secular music in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. In this lesson, you will find out about the development of vocal styles during these time periods.

Unrequited and Courtly Love Songs of the Medieval Period

6. Unrequited and Courtly Love Songs of the Medieval Period

Troubadours entertained the royalty of the mid- and late-Medieval Period with songs of love and chivalry. In this lesson, learn about the twelfth and thirteenth century poet-musicians and their musical contributions.

Leonin and Perotin: Musical Contributions, Polyphony & Ars Antiqua

7. Leonin and Perotin: Musical Contributions, Polyphony & Ars Antiqua

The development of polyphonic, or multi-part music, was a fundamental part of the late Medieval period, and it forever influenced music thereafter. In this lesson, learn about how polyphony developed through the Medieval church composers Leonin and Perotin.

Hildegard von Bingen and Female Church Composers: Music and Styles

8. Hildegard von Bingen and Female Church Composers: Music and Styles

Hildegard von Bingen was one of the most important composers of the Medieval Period. In this lesson, learn how her compositions pushed the limits of medieval music and inspired others both musically and poetically.

Guillaume de Machaut: Music and Ars Nova Style

9. Guillaume de Machaut: Music and Ars Nova Style

Guillaume de Machaut was a French composer of the Medieval Era who significantly changed the course of music. Learn how his contributions to both sacred and secular music made him the most highly-regarded composer of his time.

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