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.
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
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.
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.
Refers to new style in France. Include complexity, sometimes extreme, rhythm (polymeters/polyrhythms), freer use of striking dissonances of 2nds and 7ths.
"Ars nova notandi" aka The New Art of Notes, written by Phillipe de Vitry.
Period: 1325 to 1397
Known for his cadences. Virtuoso organist. Blind, most celebrated musical personality at the time.
Ecco la primavera
"Here is the spring," Francesco Landini. 2-part ballata.
Period: 1346 to 1353
The Black Plague
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
English but influenced musical style in Europe. People impressed by "English quality," used 3rds and 6ths.
Period: 1397 to 1474
First Renaissance composer.
End of Middle Ages/Beginning of Renaissance
Period: 1420 to 1497
Very respected and prolific; also a low bass.
Period: 1435 to 1511
Composer and music theorist, wrote the first definition of musical terms.
Period: 1444 to 1510
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
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
Made important contributions to large scale forms and their unity. Dutch, important composer of masses in Europe.
Period: 1466 to 1539
First music printer and publisher; preserved Renaissance music for us today.
Period: 1475 to 1564
Period: 1483 to 1520
Period: 1483 to 1546
German, religious reformer.
Period: 1488 to 1576
Period: 1490 to 1562
Father of text expression.
Period: 1505 to
English composer, most well-known for writing a 40-voice part motet.
Period: 1507 to 1568
Dutch; worked in Rome and Paris. Famous for his early madrigals and his 3 to 7-voice masses, well published in the 16th century.
Madonna della Tenda
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
Period: 1532 to
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.
Spem in alium
40-part voice motet written by Thomas Tallis. Extreme.
Period: 1540 to
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
English, contributed to English madrigals. Important for music publication and printing. Likely a pupil of Byrd.
Period: 1561 to
Known for his chromaticism. Leading composer of madrigals, extreme expressive intensity. Stravinsky was fascinated by his music.
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
Ahead of his time, took music to a new style. Seconda pratica v. prima practica.
The Allegory of Wisdom and Strength
Paolo Veronese painting was almost in a Baroque style.