Middle Ages music: what it was? Church music and modern fate of
the Question “divisions“ of historical eras - ambiguous, argue on it not less century. But in this case it is simpler to use the standard scheme: the initial boundary of the Middle Ages is connected with fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Middle Ages - a huge historical era, and now will be a question only of Western Europe.
Surprising business happened to music. In - the first, the early Middle Ages defiantly did not notice heritage of antiquity. (Return to values and ideas of the Hellenistic culture happened only in Renaissance. But interest in culture of the Middle Ages flashed quite recently and passed into our, 21st century).
In - the second, throughout many centuries music sounded only in church. That is the only remained written musical monuments were born in churches and are known thanks to church. It is obvious that the folk music existed and somehow interacted with spiritual. But a little, and secular is known of a folk music, probably, practically did not exist - it blossomed only in several centuries.
How felt and perceived the world of people Srednevekovya? He did not remind the person of a classical antiquity at all. The person Srednevekovya, figuratively speaking lived on the Purgatory threshold. It was deeply religious person. And all nature of medieval culture, art and education is defined by dependence on Christian church.
But early Christian music could not appear from anywhere. Receptions of a psalmody from ritual drevneiudeysky singing were inherited, the warehouse of a number of chants goes back to musical traditions of Syria, Armenia and Egypt. Perceiving samples of ancient cult music, unknown church composers processed them, creating what reached up to now.
But not all remained unknown. Some names of first “composers“ are known and are even familiar to much. Still in some areas (Milan in Italy) so-called amvrosiansky singing is used, completely reached and everywhere there was (in Catholicism) the Gregorian choral - both that, and another is called by name two large church figures.
the Bishop and the father
Ambrose (apprx. 340-397) - the bishop, blessed Augustine`s baptist, sacred Catholic and orthodox church. Ambrose`s authority was so great that emperors “obeyed“ him, and the people attributed it numerous miracles including the fact that it revived the died boy.
As “musician“, Saint Ambrose is known for creation of so-called antiphonal singing (it is used still). And also the authorship of some anthems is attributed to it. With one its anthem can be a sign of people, far from all religions is an anthem Te Deum (“You, God, we praise“). The matter is that through one and a half thousand years the French composer Mark - Antoine Charpentier wrote the music to words, and in several centuries the Prelude to this anthem became musical prompt of the Eurovision (than now and is).
Grigory I Veliky (apprx. 540-604) - the Pope, is esteemed by Catholic and orthodox church (“Dvoyeslov“).
Grigory Veliky is known as one of teachers of church too. And also as the founder of the Gregorian choral (on his name) - traditional liturgical singing rimsko - Catholic church. The authorship of the majority of chants is attributed to Grigory.
The Gregorian choral is sung now, it formed the basis of already polyphonic European music. Later it began to be called cantus planus - kantus planus - “equal singing“. From this “êàíòóñ“ - the song - the word “chanson“ was born.
Finally all (Catholic) world was captured by a uniform musical core of church service (with some variations in the north of Italy and in Spain). Now to the Gregorian choral already new interest, so to speak “secular“ flashed: except liturgical practice, it is used by representatives of bottoms - and fate - cultures ( of Enigma and others).
One of the famous hymnographers - the monk Notker Zaika (840-912 years). He is considered a creator about fifty anthems - sequences. To the monk Guido Aretinsky the mankind is obliged to emergence of record of notes known to us.
the Doomsday - the Day of wrath
Many Christian chorals and anthems were developed subsequently by the largest composers, some became actually cultural property of mankind. Well-known “Day of wrath“ belongs to such anthems (to of Dies Irae ). It is still sung as part of some services, it was actively used by composers in the creativity, it continue to use the priest - musicians and authors of film music.
The Franciscan monk and the poet Foma Chelansky is considered the author of the anthem (it is the 13th century, 1200-1265). This anthem can be heard in Berlioz, Liszt, Verdi`s music, Seong - Sanz, Rachmaninov - and, not once, Shostakovich. Whom the priest - culture interests, can listen to the song “La mort“ of Jacques Brel, Spanish fate - Dark Moor group or Spanish M ä go de Oz, German gothic styles - threw - Aeternitas group, Italian the fate - Rhapsody of Fire group, Swedish black - threw - Dissection group, Dutch a simfonik - Epica metal band and so on.
“Somewhere in the house (though, maybe, it dreamed it) the chorus started singing Dies Irae in kantus plyanus“ .
(Pynchon Thomas, the American writer - the postmodernist, the winner of the National book award, the novel “V“.) .
Not only chorals of the Middle Ages exerted impact on further development of music. Many subjects and plots were demanded further. The text and idea of the Doomsday was actively used in literature: from Walter Scott and Goethe to Kurt Vonnegut and Humberto Eco (“A rose name“). Oscar Wilde has a Sonnet “On Singing of Dies Irae in the Sistine Chapel“, in “The Phantom of the Opera“ of the master of the French detectives Gaston Lera the Ghost uses this anthem.
Medieval “horror films“
One more of the most popular plots - Dancing of death . This allegorical story from the drama and painting passed later into music and into cinema (F. Liszt, K. Seong - Sanz, M. Mussorgsky “Songs and dancings of death“, D. Shostakovich, fate - groups - in music, also movies “Rules of the game“ of Jean Renoir, “The seventh press“ of Bergman, “Rome“ F. Fellini and so on). Stephen King has a book “Dancing of Death“ (“Danse Macabre“) about a genre of horrors. Whether from the Middle Ages this subject in the form of novels - horrors, horror films came to us?
The performance of the Belarusian theatrical group DiGrease`s Buffoon Theatre (Swindling theater) working in style of carnival street culture of the Middle Ages is also interesting, apparently. The performance is also called “Dancing of death“ (“Danse Macabre“).
As for in general humorous culture of the Middle Ages is a separate subject, it is well covered in books of the philosopher M. Bakhtin. The mankind always liked to laugh including over the fact that it was considered as sacred.
Ritual of the Asinine mass is long since known (or the Asinine mass). A plot - evangelical (settled with Maria and the baby on the way to Egypt). The phrase with which the people addressed a donkey is known: “Sir and you only settled, there would be you better where far away!“. “The asinine prose“ was written in the 13th century by the archbishop Pierre Corbeyl.
From east countries
there Came to us a donkey,
Strong and beautiful,
Suitable for load.
Hey, mister settled, sing,
Open fine lips, Receive
in plenty oats and hay .
Music of “Asinine prose“ had nearly dancing character. The national elements interfered in musical culture of the Middle Ages. And this culture causes the sharpest interest around the world now - not only among professional musicians, but even more among fate - and folk - musicians. Why - a difficult question and a special subject.
Coming back by the Middle Ages, it is necessary to tell that music in the Eastern Roman Empire differed from that which was created in Western Europe. About Old Russian spiritual singing it is possible to read here.
About troubadours and love lyrics it will be possible to read next time. And it is possible to listen to something “medieval“ in comments.