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

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Polyphonic Secular Music and National Styles

From Dance to Art Music.

Soon after its development, the new polyphonic technique was employed by composers to set non-religious songs, applying it to the different regional types that already existed as monophonic forms. Secular songs stemmed mostly from music intended for dancing, and, in their monophonic format, retained many of the characteristics of dance music, including regular rhythmic patterns and simple melodies with regular phrases. Once polyphony was adopted for this repertory, however, its relationship to dance became increasingly distant. Polyphony, with its potential for complex interrelationships among the parts, tempted the composers to experiment with refinements and sophistications on all levels. The result was a growing body of art music that set traditional poetic text forms, but was technically much more demanding than its monophonic predecessors. By the late fourteenth century the polyphonic secular repertory had...

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This section contains 2,598 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Medieval Europe 814-1450: Music Encyclopedia Article
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Arts and Humanities Through the Eras
Medieval Europe 814-1450: Music from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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