- Conservatory - Index by Period
HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
Periods Alphabetically Nationality Topics Themes Forms Glossary

Sort by Period
Sort Alphabetically
Sort by Nationality
Themes in Music


Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc

All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
28 October, 2012
Real Time Analytics

Index by Period

Medieval Period
(1200 - 1450)

A large proportion of the music developed in Europe during the medieval period was vocal, both of a religious and secular nature. In church music, this took the form of Gregorian and other types of chants, while non-religious music consisted largely of the songs of traveling minstrels and troubadours.

Vocal music was, until the 9th century, written for one voice part only. Then a second, lower part was introduced, which duplicated the top melody exactly by an interval of a fifth or fourth. A third voice was sometimes added, sounding an octave below. The idea of contrary motion slowly developed, in which the lower part moved in the opposite direction to the top. While the idea of two or more voices, or polyphony, began to influence church music, secular songs continued to be written for one voice, accompanied by various instruments.

During the 12th century, vocal music became more rhythmically interesting as added parts began to include more notes than the principal melody, now called the cantus firmus.

contributed by Gifford, Katya

Hildegard von Bingen
Adam de la Halle
Francesco Landini
Magister Leoninus (Léonin)
Jacques de Liège
Guillaume de Machaut
Jean de Muris
Perotinus Magister (Pérotin)
Philippe de Vitry


Terms Defined

In Context