The Medieval Period

The Medieval time period was the longest period of musical history. This time period brought about a great deal of change. Most of the music during this time period was developed from or related to the church. The first examples of music notation were seen around 900.


The early music of this period was mostly monophonic, meaning that it only had one line of melody without any harmony or accompaniment. One of the main styles of monophonic music was Gregorian chant. A lot of chant came from religious music. During the 11th century, music appeared with two or more melodic lines at the same time, and we saw the first signs of harmony.

QUESTION #1: What term is given to a song with more than one line of melody, or harmony?

Article from Encyclopedia Britannica Online


A great deal of monophonic music was written by monks or other church officials, and credit was never applied. The majority of Medieval music is anonymous. The names of the composers were either lost or never written down at all. However, there are some Medieval composers whose work was so important that their names were preserved.

QUESTION #2: What Medieval composer is known for his experiments with music notation?

Article from Wikipedia


Many of the instruments during the medieval period were the forefathers of modern musical instruments. The lute, a string instrument, was one of the most respected and most used instruments of this time period. It was often featured in drawings, writings, and tapestries. The recorder, also from this period, is one of the oldest woodwind instruments.

QUESTION #3: Which of the four major instrument families was not evident during the medieval period?

Article from Medieval Life and Times


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Cantigas de Santa Maria - Playing Lutes

Playing a Lute
Circa 11th Century

Photo Credit:


Gregorian Chant: "Gaudeamus omnes"

Audio Credit: Wikimedia

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How did the lute contribute to the development of the guitar?

Video Credit: YouTube
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