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Music History Key Terms - Medieval
A set of flashcards with key terms from music history of the Medieval period
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Music
09/27/2010

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Term
antiphon
Definition
short syllabic pieces that precede and follow a psalm or canticle, but loosely used to include longer works of processional nature as well as settings of four texts dealing with the Virgin Mary
Term
ars nova
Definition
New Art - term originated with Philippe de Vitry, now refers to all music of the fourtheenth century
Term
ballade
Definition
a prominent Medieval type of chanson, one of the three form fixes - its musical scheme is either AAB or AABB
Term
bar form
Definition
an AAB form found frequently in the songs of the Minnesinger and Meistersinger
Term
caccia
Definition
a canon in two parts with a free supporting tenor, often dealing with the hunt; it flourished during the fourteenth century
Term
cantus firmus
Definition
a given melody, often drawn from chant, which is used as the basis of a new poloyphonic composition
Term
church modes
Definition
refers to music based on dorian, phrygian, lydian, and mixolydian modes, which goverened Western polytonality before the advent of tonality
Term
clausula
Definition
a short section of polyphony in an otherwise monophonic chant
Term
conductus
Definition
either a medieval monophonic strophic song with Latin text, or a polyphonic genre of the same period, noted for being freely composed in all voices (that is, not employing plainsong for a cantus firums) and for its chordal style, often called conductus style
Term
discant
Definition
note-against-note counterpoint in the rhythmic modes (often improvised in two voices, the lower being a chant cantus firums) usually in contrary motion and mostly in imperfect consonances
Term
formes fixes
Definition
Medieval vocal forms which include a recurring section of music and text, like the French ballade, rondeau, and virelai, and the Italian ballata and madrigal
Term
hexachord
Definition
in Medieval practice, one of the three six-note scales with identical interval structure, beginning on C, G, and F
Term
isometric
Definition
a term used for chordal motion in the same rhythmic values (as in homorhythmic) or to indicate unsystematic repetition of short melodic motives as opposed to true isothythm
Term
isorhythm
Definition
a Medieval principle by which a repeated rhythmic pattern (the talea) unifies the strucutre of a composition. If often appears in the tenor, but may include all parts, and it is often interlocked with a melodic pattern (the color) of a different length, the two coinciding only intermittently and at the end of the piece
Term
lauda
Definition
an Italian hymn of praise and devotion
Term
liturgical drama
Definition
a Medieval play on a Biblical subject using monophonic music
Term
Meistersinger
Definition
middle-class German composers of secular monophony who flourished in the Renaissance
Term
Mensural notation
Definition
a system of writing down music in such a manner that the shapes of the notes themselves indicate their relative durations. Established by Franco of Cologne in the thirteenth century on the basis of triple meter, mensural notation expanded to include duple meter in the ars nova by tht edivision into two or three of its note-values: the lonv (the level of modus) the breve (the level of tempus) and the semibreve (the level of prolation). With the introduction of shorter note-values, the minim and the semiminum, there developed four standard meters, as follows: [dot in circled], perfect tempus, greater prolation - 9/8 [dot inside C] imperfect tempus, greater prolation - 6/8 [circle] perfect tempus, lesser prolation - 3/4 [C] imperfect tempus, lesser prolation - 2/4
Term
Minnesinger
Definition
noble German poet-musicians who, in emulation of the trouveres, cultivated secular monophony in the late Middle Ages
Term
monophony
Definition
music composed for a single, unaccompanied voice or unison choir
Term
neumatic
Definition
a style of performing chant with which two to four notes are often used on one syllable
Term
Office
Definition
the Office, also known as the Canonical Hours, is that portion of the Roman Catholic liturgy usually observed by those in monasteries and convents. Its musical significance, which was greatest in the early Middle Ages, stemmed from being given far more frequently than was the Mass. The Office consisted largely of prayers, readings, and psalm singing - the entire body of 150 psalms is covered ever week. Two types of music are found in the Office: elaborate settings of psalms and other Scriptural passages, and a simpler style in which texts are sung on recitation tones (Chant). Although psalms represent the chief musical interest, there are also other Biblical texts called canticles (songs of praise) and such songs of devition as the Marian antiphons (in honor of the Virgin)
Term
organum
Definition
the earliest form of polyphony - based upon chant as cantus firmus. Organum may be parallel, free (admitting oblique and contrary motion), melismatic (the upper part containing many notes against one tenor note), or measured (with motion in both voices according to the rhythmic modes). The great master of organum was Leonin
Term
rhythmic modes
Definition
a rhythmic system based upon the meters of poetry and employed (not without some flexibility) in the thirteenth century before the advent of mensural notation
Term
rondeau
Definition
a significant Medieval type of chanson of the form ABaAabAB - one of the formes fixes or refrain forms
Term
sequence
Definition
repetition of a melody (or of all parts) at a different pitch level in the same voices, or, a poetic and musical trope added in medieval times to the Gregorian Alleluia
Term
solmization
Definition
designation of the tones of the hexachord by the names ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la; devised by Guido of Arezzo as an aid to singers
Term
trope
Definition
a textual and/or musical interpolation into the liturgy and its established musical repertory. A notable example is the sequence.
Term
troubadour
Definition
a Medieval poet-musician from the south of France, often of noble status; significant for creating a large body of secular monophonic chansons
Term
trouvere
Definition
the successor to the troubadour; active in the north of France in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries
Term
virelai
Definition
an important Medieval variety of chanson, one of the three formes fixes or refrain forms; its musical-textual scheme can be represented as AbbaA
Term
sackbut
Definition
the Medieval trombone, whose narrower bell gave it a mellower sound than its successor
Term
shawm
Definition
a double-reed ancestor to the oboe, generally employed in the Medieval period with "loud" outdoor instruments
Term
vielle
Definition
a Medieval term used for both the viol and the fiddle, the latter being the most popular bowed string instrument of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries