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Lecture 7

Late Middle Ages

Then I saw the lucent sky in which I heard different kinds of music…

I heard the praises of the joyous citizens of heaven,

steadfastly persevering in the ways of truth.

—Hildegard von Bingen


The late middle-ages and the transition to the renaissance

C.E. c.1000-1450
improvements in notation allow for the possibility of more complex music to be written down. during this period, we have the first appearances of polyphonic writing. with other changes, a new humanism begins to take hold leading to the renaissance.


Topics covered:

  • early notation
  • church modes
  • Hildegard von Bingen
  • Notre Dame school
  • Leonin
  • Perotin
  • later middle-ages
  • Guillaume de Machaut
  • changes afoot



  • know what polyphony is
  • distinguish between polyphony and monophony
  • hear the difference between modes and major scales and keys



  • watch lecture 7 (in multiple parts for quicker download)
  • review previous chapters, as necessary
  • read textbook, Chapter 8
  • As you are reading your textbook, go through the Listening Exercises in textbook sequence, listening to the examples provided.
  • regarding developing listening skills: you should be in the habit of developing your listening skills early in the game - the assignments will get more complex through the semester and you may find yourself unable to keep up. As simple as these early assignments may seem to some of you, they will help to keep you on the right track, and help you develop the skills required for a greater appreciation in listening to music, including the music that you listen to for your own enjoyment. Of course, those objectives are in total sync with the success you hope to have in this class. Remember that your ability to recognize the music on your CDs will be tested and will, of course, impact your grade.


    Audio / Video lecture

    • click lecture segments below in sequence
    • presented in several segments to reduce download time
    • total lecture time: approx. one hour 15 minutes (all segments included)
    • can be downloaded for portable media players by right clicking each segment link and choosing save option. (note: older Macs and Mac notebooks with single-button mice: control-click)


      Lecture 7.1 
      Notation and modes; Hildegard von Bingen


      The original “Doe, a deer”

      as in the above illustration, follow scale upward: UT(DO) - RE - MI - FA - SOL - LA


      Lecture 7.2 
      The Notre Dame School

      Lecture 7.3

      The Late Middle Ages


      Lecture 7.4 
      A Sleeping Europe Wakes