Medieval/Renaissance (~476 A.D-1420s/1430-1600)

Timeline created by SoMLZackM
  • 476

    Fall of the Roman Empire

    Julius Nepos was nominated to be Roman Emperor by the Eastern Emperor Zeno. Nepos was dethroned and replaced, but his replacement was defeated as well, at which time Zeno was invited to be Emperor of both East and West Empires.
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    Middle Ages/Medieval Period

    Music was used extensively in the early church during this time. Melody was used to convey words, and most composers were also poets. There was also a flourishing culture of popular-music.
  • 480

    Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

    Boethius was a Roman writer and statesman who was also a music theorist. His "De institutione musica", or "The Fundamentals of Music," is what he is best known for.
  • 732

    Charles Martel/The Battle of Tours

    Martel, also known as Charles the Hammer, defeated Moorish invaders in the Battle of Tours. This stopped the Islamic expansion into Europe for good. Martel is recognized as one of the founders of knighthood and feudalism.
  • 962

    Ottoman Holy Roman Empire of Germany

    Otto the First helped the Germans defend against Magyar invaders. He settled there and created a German monastery. Because of the allegiance between church and kingdom, he was able to establish dominance over rebelling dukes and create an Empire. Furthering his empire, Italy invited him to be the Emperor of Italy which solidified his establishment of his Holy Roman Empire.
  • 991

    Guido of Arezzo

    A music theorist, Guido is credited with creating a system of pitch notation through lines on a staff, as well as creating an early solfege form by advocating for people to use certain syllables to sight-sing. In addition, his treatise "Micrologus" is considered to be the best and earliest treatise that discussed polyphony and the musical composition of chant.
  • 1098

    Hildegard von Bingen

    Also known as Sybil of the Rhine, Bingen was a composer who created the first morality play (a play teaching a lesson). In addition to being a composer, Bingen was also a writer and theologian whose counsel was often sought after by rulers.
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    Bernart de Ventadorn

    Born sometime in the 12th century, though specifically when is unknown, Ventadorn holds a place of importance musically still today, as he is the 12th century composer with the most surviving today. In addition, he was a troubadour poet, and is known by some as the finest poet of his kind.
  • 1135

    Léonin (Leoninus)

    Leoninus was known as a master or organum purum, also known organum per se, at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Most of what is known about Leoninus comes from writings by Anonymous IV.
  • 1170

    Walther von der Vogelweide

    The composer of the earliest known minnesinger (songs of courtly love) melody, Vogelweide was also a poet. Because of his work, his contemporaries also considered him a leader in both poetry and composition in Minnesinger.
  • 1180

    Pérotin (Perotinus)

    Known to have flourished in the late 12th century into the early 13th century, Perotinus was a master of discant organum at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. He was thought to be a student of Léonin, but most of Pértoin's identity remains speculative.
  • 1212

    Comtessa Beatriz de Dia

    de Dia was a famous troubadour. She is most famous because she left the only surviving troubadour melody composed by a woman, which was called trobairitz.
  • 1213

    Moniot d'Arras

    A trouvére (medieval epic poet) who wrote in various genres and forms. He was also a monk at Arras.
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    Adam de la Halle

    Active in the middle of the 13th century until the end, de la Halle was one of the last trouvéres, bringing that era to a close. He studied in Paris and his works were written with polyphony.
  • 1250

    Anonymous IV

    Thought to have been active in the middle of the 13th century, the music theorist Anonymous' writings are how people of today know of Léonin, Pérotin, and organum music. The treatise is under his name.
  • 1291

    Philippe de Vitry

    de Vitry is known as the inventor of "new art," also known as "Ars Nova". He was a French composer, bishop, theorist, and poet who established a new tradition on mensural, or measurement, notation.
  • 1300

    Guillaume de Machaut

    Though not the inventor or Ars Nova, de Machaut was known as the leader of it. He created extraordinary innovations and was very important because of it. He also composed the "Mass of Notre Dame."
  • Period:

    The Ars Nova (in France)

    The Ars Nova in France, or New Art in France, was a time period in which new compositional techniques were focused on. Two of these techniques were isorhythm (a technique that arranges a fixed pattern of pitches in a repeating rhythmic pattern) and hocket (an effect that seems like an interruption or spasmodic event, created by dividing a melody in two, with one part's rests coinciding with the notes of the other.) The biggest accomplishments of this time was in rhythm.
  • Period:

    The Trecento in Italy

    The 14th century in Italy brought about a time of changing intellectual and cultural outlooks. It was a sign of the shifting of medieval thinking into early Renaissance times.
  • Period:

    Gherardello de Firenze

    de Firenze was a notable Italian composer during the trecento in Italy. He was the second most important composer of this time; only under Landini. He was also a priest.
  • 1325

    Francesco Landini

    An Italian composer known for his cadences, Landini was also a virtuoso organist. He was the most celebrated musician during the Trecento, and was well-known not just for that, but for being an instrument maker as well. In addition to all these achievements, Landini was also blind.
  • 1340

    Jacopo da Bologna

    Active in the mid to late 14th century, da Bologna was known for several things in his time. He was the teacher of Landini, as well as a composer, virtuoso harpist, theorist, and author of a treatise on notation.
  • 1390

    John Dunstaple

    The leading English composer of his time, Dunstaple (also spelled Dunstable in some works) is credited for creating the new style of consonant 3rds and 6ths that became the Renaissance style known today. Unfortunately, many of his works were destroyed during the English Reformation.
  • 1397

    Guillaume Du Fay

    Known as the first important Renaissance composer, Du Fay was a Franco-Flemish composer. He tended to use older medieval cadences in his pieces, and his name was also spelled Dufay in some instances.
  • 1410

    Johannes Ockeghem

    Well known for being a bass singer and teacher, Ockeghem was a very well respected man. He was born sometime in the early 15th century in northeast France, and in his works, was recognized for not using much imitation.
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    In this time period, secular music became popularized and as such, widespread. Melodies were plentiful and simultaneous, and often obscured as a result. Polyphony was the primary texture of this era in most genres. In the 1500s, early homophony started to develop. Compositions of this time were largely masses and motets, and after 1540, madrigals became a large focus as well. Madrigals would later act as the pivotal vehicle for experimentation that led the Renaissance into the Baroque era.
  • 1436

    Invention of Printing Press

    Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith, was credited with the creation of the printing press.
  • 1450

    Heinrich Isaac

    Isaac was a Franco-Flemish composer who influenced German music with his works. He was a court composer for Maximilian the First, and also served as a composer in Vienna.
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    Josquin des Prez

    A French composer of the 15th century, des Prez was noted to have no peers in music. Martin Luther even considered him a master of notes, as well as the "best of the composers of our time."
  • 1452

    Pierre de la Rue

    A leading composer in the Burgundian court who never worked in Italy but was very famous in his day. He was known for his frequent use of canon and ostinatos, and preferred the use of lower sounds to higher ones.
  • 1457

    Jacob Obrecht

    Obrecht was an important Dutch composer to the European public. His works were very important in contributing to the unity of large-scale forms.
  • 1466

    Ottaviano Petrucci

    Petrucci was the first ever music printer and publisher. His work is the reason we have Renaissance music today, as he was able to preserve many of them.
  • 1483

    Martin Luther

    In addition to being a German composer and theologian, he is also the founder of the Lutheran church. He has many German hymns and writings.
  • 1490

    Adrian Willaert

    Willaert was a composer and teacher who served in Italian courts. He was an advocate for textual expression and favored continuous, complex polyphony.
  • 1505

    Thomas Tallis

    Tallis was an English composer and organist who also taught notable students like Byrd. He wrote both for reformed English liturgies and Latin ones.
  • 1507

    Jacques Arcadelt

    Arcadelt was a Dutch composer well known for his masses for 3 to 7 voices as well as his early madrigals. He was well published in the 16th century, and had a homo-rhythmic style in his works.
  • Period:

    English Reformation

    Taking up a large part of the 16th century, the English Reformation witnessed the breakaway from Catholicism. In this time of change, many things were destroyed or lost to time, such as many of John Dunstaple's works between 1536 and 1540
  • 1515

    Cipriano de Rore

    de Rore was a composer associated with Willaert. He was Flemish, and mostly worked in Ferrara and Parma.
  • 1521

    Philippe de Monte

    One of the most prolific composers of the Renaissance era, de Monte was known for mixing homophony and polyphony. He worked both in the Prague and Viennese courts.
  • 1525

    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

    da Palestrina is an icon of Renaissance music. He wrote mostly contrapuntal liturgical music in a Roman style, and he was requested to reform Catholic church music by the council of Trent.
  • 1532

    Orlando di Lasso/Roland de Lassus

    di Lasso was one of the most prolific and versatile composers of the 16th century. He alone created over 2000 compositions in all languages he had available to him.
  • 1532

    Andrea Gabrieli

    Gabrieli was a student of Willaert and a versatile and innovative composer in his own right. In addition to being a composer, he was a teacher, organist, and uncle of Giovanni.
  • 1534

    Count Giovanni Bardi

    Bardi was an Italian composer, critic, poet, and playwright. He was also the leader of the Florentine Camerata, a group of humanists, poets, intellectuals, and musicians to discuss the trends of art, in the late 1570s to the 1590s.
  • 1535

    Giaches de Wert

    de Wert was a pupil of de Rore and influencer of Monteverdi. He served the Dukes of both Parma and Manuta, and was very interested in declamation of texts in his work. He also wrote madrigals for the Concerto della donne.
  • 1540

    William Byrd

    Byrd is known as the greatest English composer of his time. He made a name for himself writing both Catholic and Protestant music in England.
  • 1548

    Tomás Luis de Victoria

    de Victoria was a Spanish composer who continued Palestrina's Roman style in Spain. He studied in Rome, was a sacred music composer, and was considered the greatest Spanish composer of the Renaissance era.
  • 1553

    Luca Marenzio

    Marenzio made a name for himself as the leading madrigal composer of the late 16th century. He worked in Warsaw, Rome, Ferrara, and Florence, and his work influenced the English madrigal's developemnt.
  • 1557

    Thomas Morley

    An English composer who also contributed to the development of the English madrigal, Morley was very important to music printing and publication as well. He is speculated to be a pupil of Byrd.
  • 1561

    Carlo Gesualdo

    Gesualdo was the Neapolitan Prince of Venosa and a gifted composer known for his chromaticism. He was a leading composer in madrigals and his works were known for his extreme expressive intensity. His works later inspired the works of Stravinsky.
  • 1567

    Claudio Monteverdi

    Monteverdi was ahead of his musical time; being the most important pivotal figure between the Renaissance and Baroque eras. He is credited with creating the seconda pratica style, moving from the older style of prima pratica.
  • 1576

    Thomas Weelkes

    Weelkes was an English organist and composer. He wrote madrigals and anthems, but his drinking problem stopped him from being very well established.