Comparing Secular and Sacred Music in the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages was a time of diversity in music. In the Middle Ages there were two main types of music. Secular and sacred music. Sacred music was shaped by many different people. The Greek, Hebrew and the Syrian were the main influences. Sacred music was also shaped by Pope Gregory during his reign from 590-604 A.D. Gregorian chant was a very simple single line melody. It was in Latin. It was also unmeasured. In Gregorian chant there were no big leaps or dynamic contrast. The songs were passed by through the generations. Back then no-one knew how to write out the music for the songs. Since no-one knew notation, neumes were created. They were square notes. They were only the general outline of the melody. Over time the neumes developed into notes on a four line staff. There were three types of music, Syllabic (one note for each syllable) Neumatic (groups of 2 or 4 notes for each syllable) and Melismatic (long groups of notes for each syllable). Melismatic is the type used in Gregorian chant. The Mass is the reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ. It is the most important service in the Roman Catholic Church. There are two types of texts in the Mass. Proper and Ordinary. Proper texts are the texts that change from day to day. Ordinary texts are texts that are the same every day.
The second type of music in the Middle Ages is Secular music. Secular music was also written in Latin texts. It originated in university towns. Goliard songs were student songs with lewd texts. Medieval mistrals were wandering musicians. They were called Jongleurs and Jongleuresses. In southern France they were called Troubadours. In the north they were known as TrouvÃres. These people traveled around singing songs and playing instruments. Minnesingers did the same thing but in Germany. Secular music was an integral part of medieval court life. It was used for dancing,