The history of music can be dated back in the Middle Ages, circa AD 450-1450, although in anything to do with history, it should be noted that the dates of different periods are approximate.
Â The Middle Ages is the period between the fall of the Roman Empire, roughly AD 476 to 1453, and the Renaissance, roughly the cultural movement that spanned through the 14th to 17th century.Â It is in the Middle Ages that the spread of Christianity and the rise of the Catholic Church occurred. Music was primarily written for the church . The cathedrals were the center of the musical life, and composers proliferated as employees of the church authorities.
Plainsong and the Birth of Church Music
The first church music was called "plainsong" which was a single line of notes that was chanted without any instruments. As music developed, it gradually became complicated. Â As in any enhancement or progression, other lines were added to the original one-line of notes. The resulting composition was called "organum." Generally, an organum is a plainsong melody with at least one voice added to enhance the harmony. If effect, organum was the first music that exhibited harmony. Â
An interesting piece of music from the Medieval Period which lasted from around AD 400-1300 is widely known as the "Song of the Ass" since it was used in the play showing the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, riding into the Cathedral on an ass (donkey). Â A related account goes that during this period an annual holiday was celebrated to represent the Virgin Mary's flight to Egypt. Â Â
Secular Music of the Middle Ages
The court entertainers and wandering minstrels also provided numerous love songs, drinking songs, dances, and yes, songs and music about the crusades.Â Most of them primitive, the instruments included the early violin, lute, bagpipes, harp, medieval guitar, the organ and trumpets.Â