Medieval Period and The Renaissance (476 - 1600) - Timeline 1

  • 476

    Fall of Rome

  • Period: 476 to 1420

    Middle Ages/Medieval Period

    Music was used extensively in the early church. There was also a flourishing popular-music culture from which we have significant examples. Melody is used primarily to convey words. Most composer were poets.
  • Period: 900 to 1000


    First described 900 CE, extant in 800s CE. Notaded c.1000 CE.
  • Period: 991 to 1033

    Guido of Arezzo

    Music theorist; accredited for creating a system of precise pitch notation through lines and spaces on the staff. He advocated a method of sight-singing using solfege syllables.
  • Period: 1098 to 1179

    Hildegard von Bingen

    Composer of the first mortality play - "Sybil of the Rhine." Writer, composer, theologian. Counsel was sought after by rulers.
  • Period: 1130 to 1190

    Bernart de Ventadorn

    Famous troubadour, perhaps the finest poet of this type. Very important musically because more of his music survives more than any other 12th century poet.
  • Period: 1135 to 1201


    Master of organum purum at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. "Anonymous IV."
  • Period: 1140 to 1212

    Comtessa Beatriz de Dia

    Famous female troubadour, left us the only surviving melody by a female troubadour.
  • Period: 1155 to 1207

    Raimbaut de Vaqueiras

    From Southern France, served in the court of Montferrat. Killed in battle serving his patron.
  • Period: 1170 to 1230

    Walther von der Vogelweide

    Poet and Minnesinger. worked at the Viennese court. Wrote the earliest surviving minnesinger melody. Considered the leading composer and poet.
  • 1180

    Kalenda maya

    Provencal (Occitan) text. Improvised percussion.
  • Period: 1180 to 1238


    Master of discant organum at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Supposed student of Leonin. Wrote 3 and 4-voice organum.
  • Period: 1213 to 1239

    Moniot d'Arras

    Trouvere. Wrote in several genres and forms, monk at Arras.
  • Period: 1245 to 1285

    Adam de la Halle

    One of the last trouveres. Wrote polyphony, studied in Paris.
  • 1250

    Medieval Motet

    More text than chant. Rhythmic. Multiple languages.
  • Period: 1291 to 1361

    Phillipe de Vitry

    Known as the "inventor of new art." French composer, poet, theorist, and bishop. Established a new tradition of mensural notation.
  • Period: 1300 to 1377

    Guillaume de Machaut

    Leading composer and poet of the Ars Nova.
  • 1316

    Ars Nova

    Refers to new style in France. Include complexity, sometimes extreme, rhythm (polymeters/polyrhythms), freer use of striking dissonances of 2nds and 7ths.
  • 1322


    "Ars nova notandi" aka The New Art of Notes, written by Phillipe de Vitry.
  • Period: 1325 to 1397

    Francesco Landini

    Known for his cadences. Virtuoso organist. Blind, most celebrated musical personality at the time.
  • 1345

    Ecco la primavera

    "Here is the spring," Francesco Landini. 2-part ballata.
  • Period: 1346 to 1353

    The Black Plague

  • 1350

    Puis qu'en Oubli

    "Since I am Forgotten," rondeau, French forme fixe. Modal tonality, no set system of cadences. Machaut added dissonances on cadences.
  • Period: 1386 to 1466


  • Period: 1390 to 1453

    John Dunstable

    English but influenced musical style in Europe. People impressed by "English quality," used 3rds and 6ths.
  • Period: 1397 to 1474

    Guillaume Dufay

    First Renaissance composer.
  • 1420

    End of Middle Ages/Beginning of Renaissance

  • Period: 1420 to 1497

    Johannes Ockeghem

    Very respected and prolific; also a low bass.
  • Period: 1435 to 1511

    Johannes Tinctoris

    Composer and music theorist, wrote the first definition of musical terms.
  • Period: 1444 to 1510

    Sandro Botticelli

  • 1445

    Puisique M'Amour

    Rondeau (form fixe) for 3 voices - difficult for musicologists to date this piece and Dunstable's pieces in general.
  • Period: 1450 to 1521

    Josquin des Prez

    Most revered Renaissance composer, esp. by Martin Luther.
  • Period: 1450 to 1517

    Heinrich Isaac

    Prolific German composer.
  • Period: 1452 to 1519

    Leonardo da Vinci

  • Period: 1452 to 1518

    Pierre de la Rue

    Leading composer at the Burgundian court. Never worked in Italy, very famous in his day. Frequent use of canon and ostinato.
  • Period: 1457 to 1505

    Jacob Obrecht

    Made important contributions to large scale forms and their unity. Dutch, important composer of masses in Europe.
  • Period: 1466 to 1539

    Ottaviano Petrucci

    First music printer and publisher; preserved Renaissance music for us today.
  • Period: 1475 to 1564

    Michelangelo Buonarroti

  • Period: 1483 to 1520


  • Period: 1483 to 1546

    Martin Luther

    German, religious reformer.
  • Period: 1488 to 1576


  • Period: 1490 to 1562

    Adrian Willaert

    Father of text expression.
  • Period: 1505 to

    Thomas Tallis

    English composer, most well-known for writing a 40-voice part motet.
  • Period: 1507 to 1568

    Jacques Arcadelt

    Dutch; worked in Rome and Paris. Famous for his early madrigals and his 3 to 7-voice masses, well published in the 16th century.
  • 1514

    Madonna della Tenda

    Raphael's art.
  • Period: 1515 to 1565

    Cipriano de Rorc

    Flemish; worked in Ferrara and Parma. Associated with Willaert.
  • Period: 1521 to

    Philippe de Monte

    At the Viennese and Prague courts, religious, Franco-Flemish, mixed polyphony and homophony. One of the most prolific composers of the Renaissance.
  • Period: 1525 to


    Most famous composer of the renaissance.
  • Period: 1525 to

    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

    Awarded the most posthumous fame.
  • Period: 1528 to

    Paolo Veronese

  • Period: 1532 to

    Andrea Gabrieli

    Italian organist, composer, teacher, uncle of Giovanni. Worked in Venice, pupil of Willaert, versatile and innovative.
  • Period: 1534 to

    Count Giovanni Bardi

    Leader of Florentine Camerata in the 1570s-90s. Italian critic poet, composer, and playwright.
  • Period: 1535 to

    Giaches de Wert

    Pupil of de Rore; served the Dukes of Manuta and Parma. Stormy personal life, text declamation was important to him, and he influenced Monteverdi.
  • 1540

    Spem in alium

    40-part voice motet written by Thomas Tallis. Extreme.
  • Period: 1540 to

    William Byrd

    English, Catholic composer writing both Protestant and Catholic music in England. Greatest English composer of the time.
  • Period: 1548 to

    Tomas Luis de Victoria

    Spanish, continued Palestrina's Roman style in Spain. Studied in Rome; sacred-music composer; the greatest Spanish composer of the Renaissance.
  • Period: 1557 to

    Thomas Morley

    English, contributed to English madrigals. Important for music publication and printing. Likely a pupil of Byrd.
  • Period: 1561 to

    Carlo Gesualdo

    Known for his chromaticism. Leading composer of madrigals, extreme expressive intensity. Stravinsky was fascinated by his music.
  • 1562

    Pope Marcellus Mass

    Written in a high Renaissance style by Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina.
  • Period: 1564 to


    Lived into early Baroque - many Renaissance style songs were composed for and used for his plays.
  • Period: 1564 to


  • Period: 1567 to

    Claudio Monteverdi

    Ahead of his time, took music to a new style. Seconda pratica v. prima practica.
  • 1580

    The Allegory of Wisdom and Strength

    Paolo Veronese painting was almost in a Baroque style.