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WMU Music Graduate Entrance Exams

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Music History Review


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MedievalManuscriptMedieval Music History Review

General Background on the Medieval Era

The Medieval Era (also referred to as "the Middle Ages") is the span between the ancient Greek/Roman eras and the Renaissance. It lasted nearly 1,000 years, from the fall of the Roman Empire (c476) until c1430, when a new triadic sound was appearing in England.

During the Medieval Era, feudalism separated society into a multi-leveled class-separated structure, ranging from kings and other wealthy royalty to poor serfs. Between c450 and 800, the Western Christian ["catholic"] church evolved into Europe's strongest and most influential institution.

Medieval times also included:

Some Musical Considerations in the Medieval Era

Music in the Middle Ages began as monophonic chant, but in c900 new types of polyphony developed and gradually expanded in rhythm, harmony and texture until reaching an extremely complex style in the late 1300s. A full assessment of Medieval music is difficult because the amount of musical source material that has survived from this era is limited by several factors:

The Interactive Timeline on Medieval Music

You may begin your chronological review of Medieval music by clicking the "Interactive Timeline" link on the left index.