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Medieval Europe: Medieval Music and Dance

Medieval Music

Medieval music consists of songs, instrumental pieces, and liturgical music from about 500 A.D. to 1400. Medieval music was an era of Western music, including liturgical music (also known as sacred) used for the church, and secular music, non-religious music. Medieval music includes solely vocal music, such as Gregorian chant and choral music (music for a group of singers), solely instrumental music, and music that uses both voices and instruments (typically with the instruments accompanying the voices). Gregorian chant was sung by monks during Catholic Mass. The Mass is a reenactment of Christ's Last Supper, intended to provide a spiritual connection between man and God. Part of this connection was established through music.[1] This era begins with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century. Establishing the end of the medieval era and the beginning of the Renaissance music era is difficult, since the trends started at different times in different regions. The date range in this article is the one usually adopted by musicologists. more...

Medieval music and dance

MEDIEVAL MUSIC: There were two main types of music - secular and religious. Secular music was made up of folk songs and ballads, many of which were sung by wandering musicians called troubadours. These were mostly song about love or great valor in battle. The secular musicians sang and accompanied themselves with all kinds of instuments. Religious music was performed without instrument accompaniment. It was sung or chanted by monks. This music is called plainchant or Gregorian chant.

MEDIEVAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: The lute was a popular instrument used by medieval musicians. Percussion instruments, drums, cymbals, bells were important. Organs were used in many churches. There were also some wind instruments, horns and flutes. Some of these instruments are the Hurdy-Gurdy, Zither, Recorder, Babypipes, Cornamuse, Bladderpipe, Doleimer, Zink, and the Serpent.

MEDIEVAL DANCE: People danced to secular music. Dancers rarely touched each other. There were court dances and country dances. The Egg Dance, for example, a country dance, was a dance done in a marked off section, with raw eggs scattered in it. The goal was to dance without breaking eggs. The Morris Dance is still done by dancers today. It is the dance around a may pole. Most of the dances had a set pattern of steps, jumps, or kicks, that you had to learn.  more...

Medieval Dancing

What is a Medieval Music?

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