Medieval Music

Wednesday, 07 April 2010 21:11

Medieval music represents nearly up to 1,000 years of European musical development. It is the ancestor of all later Western music. In the history of music, the medieval period extends from about A.D. 500 to about 1450. However, our knowledge of medieval music is incomplete due to our loss of medieval music. The music of the people consisted of folk songs and dances. Public concerts did not exist. Paying to hear music would have seemed ridiculous to medieval people. Church polyphony was performed only in cathedrals, monasteries, royal chapels, and a few large city churches. Outside of these places polyphony was confined, in most of Europe, to the upper classes. The common people only heard polyphonic music if they worshipped in a cathedral or monastic church. Otherwise, they would hear it only if there was some wedding procession. For an event like this the king’s musicians would perform a piece specially composed for the occasion.