Medieval music is a very broad term but it generally applies to music that came out of Europe during the nine-hundred year period of the middle ages between about 500 AD and 1400 AD. This period of time is exactly the same period that is thought of as the time of Knights, Castles, and many other Medieval things.
The commonly used end of the period of medieval music is the beginning of the Renaissance around 1400. The Renaissance brought about sweeping changes in all of the arts and sciences including music.
The Early Centuries are vague and little is known
We know very little about the early centuries of medieval music because little was written down. It wasn't until the 12th century that reasonable written records of music began to appear. And these were only representative, for the most part, of religous music. This was because the creating and recording of music was expensive and time consuming and the church had the stability and the wealth to do it. So we know very little of what common music was like from the early centuries.
The voice was the primary instrument of Medieval Music but instruments were used and many of them are recognized and still used today such as the Pan Flute, the Recorder and the Flute. And there were stringed and plucked instruments such as the Lute, Mandolin, Zither and Hammered Dulcimer.
Instruments of the Middle Age and Renaissance - This is a little known and very rare gem. The thread that brought me to this CD is a classical guitar piece called "Saltarello" I have a recording of Saltarello that I play on the Classical guitar (on my other website)if you would like to hear it. Saltarello and Galileo's Dad
The Voice as Primary Instrument
The primary instrument of music throughout much of the Medieval Period was the voice and a good example of music for voice is the Gregorian Chant. Listen to a Gregorian Chant (mp3)
This pure and simple style of chanting has lasted over 1,500 years because it does strike a strong emotional and spiritual chord with people. And a good example of this is the very successful modern CD entitled simply "Chant" by the Benedictine Monks of Santa Domingo De Silos Chant
The Lute and Other Instruments
The instruments that were used during the medieval period are more closely identified with the secular music of the time, or the music of the common people, rather than religous music. This was a tradition of the troubadour or minstrel. Much of this music has been lost because of the lack of written resources but some of it still remains, albeit from the later medieval period.
This 2 cd collection with an included booklet covers several centuries of early music and has both chants and instrumental music with violins and lutes. Discover Early Music
What kind of Music would they play at a medieval banquet or festival?
In order to know this we have to apply some imagination and picture the banquet with king and queen, knight's and a minstrel or two. We can only speculate as to the answer to this! But, if you are planning a medieval festival or event this is a cd you might want to play! Music for a Medieval Banquet
Are you looking for something really special in the realm of Medieval Music?
Hildegard Von Bingen (1098-1179) Was a Renaissance woman before there was a Renaissance. She was a writer, artist, composer and she wrote some astonishingly beautiful music for womens voices. Her music is 900 years old and it has gained a recent well deserved revival. You will be astonished by her music. Hildegard von Bingen: Canticles of Ecstasy
Holiday Medieval Music
Interested in Medieval Music Art? Check out our selection of beautiful art prints of renaissance and medieval music. Medieval music art