Medieval Europe 814-1450: Music - Research Article from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras

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Plainsong and the Monophonic Tradition

Origins of Plainchant.

Music can be easily divided into two large categories according to how many parts are performed simultaneously—that is, monophony and polyphony. Monophonic music, which consists of a single line whether performed by a soloist or by many performers in unison, is the oldest tradition of European music and one shared with all other cultures. At the beginning of the Carolingian period, the music of the Christian church was a monophonic type called plain-chant, a style of music that was originally adopted in the first and second centuries from the traditions of a number of other religious sects—mainly, but not exclusively, Judaism. In the early centuries this repertory was passed on orally, growing and adapting as Christianity and its ceremonies gradually evolved. The name "Gregorian Chant" is often used for this music, based...

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This section contains 1,532 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Medieval Europe 814-1450: Music Encyclopedia Article
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Medieval Europe 814-1450: Music from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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