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Medieval European music

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Medieval European music is music from the European middle ages, which is generally divided into two periods: the Ars Antiqua[?] and the Ars Nova[?]. Characteristics of the time are styles such as Plainsong, as well as basic polyphony in the later Ars Nova[?] period.

Music of the time is modal and difficult to listen to in an authentic way because of the modern ear's tendency to hear music in a diatonic context.

The early music period is marked by the gradual rise and refinement of polyphony and counterpoint. Mediaeval music begins with Gregorian chant; its written history in the earliest period is constrained by the need to develop musical notation, of which the neumes[?] usually used to write Gregorian melodies are the earliest. Several versions were tried before a notation equal to the task of clearly displaying both the length and duration of the notes was devised.

Much music from this period is anonymous. Important composers whose names are known from the period include:


Early polyphony and organum[?]:

The tradition of the troubadors, trouvères, and minnesang:

The beginnings of complex polyphony:

The mannered and complex style of Ars subtilior[?]:

Moving towards Renaissance music:

See also

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