Dynamics Used in Music During the Middle Ages
In this case, we will be discussing dynamics used in music during the middle ages.
For the assignment, consult professional music sources (e.g., encyclopedias, music history books) to determine prominent critical issues used in music during the middle ages. In this case, we will be discussing dynamics used in music during the middle ages. List these issues and highlight a few that are interesting to you. Once you have identified a few larger issues, pick the one that you’re most curious about.
In your paper, describe the process of the search and organize these issues in narrative form. Describe what was difficult to identity, how you found information, etc. Please talk about how dynamics were first formed, where they used in all music, etc.
Below is an EXAMPLE for this assignment, however, please do not write something too similar.
“My subject is rhythm in the Middle Ages (very broad). In one of the books I read, the authors talk about the lack of notation systems in the early Middle Ages that allow for the notation of rhythm. The authors mention that there is no agreement among scholars as to how rhythm was performed in early chant, but there is agreement in that it was likely “free.” The book also mentions that the notation used to write down secular music was the same as the notation system of the church, so the music of the troubadours and trouvères also lacks rhythmic notation. Lastly, the book indicates that rhythm began to be notated in Notre Dame in the twelfth and thirteenth century.
When I searched the Grove, the keyword search “rhythm” yielded over 5,000 results. When I searched for “rhythm” + “Middle Ages” I still got 500+ results that were not all relevant. I narrowed this search to articles addressing rhythm in the Middle Ages between the years 800 and 1400 and got 21 results.
Some of the issues I found in reading these articles were the lack of reliable records in the transition between ligatures and mensural notation, and the role of the theorists involved in this development. Another issue is that of the organization of the rhythmic modes by different theorists. Yet a third interesting issue is that of rhythmic notation as being circumscribed by the understanding of music as a whole–in discussions of meter and intervallic patterns, plagal meters were associated with “poor” and “female,” while authentic (triple) with “rich” and “male.” The last issue I identified is that treatises both describe and prescribe performance practice. In other words, when theorists set out to explain what was being performed they often created new rules or guidelines to explain loopholes, and these explanations became, in turn, performance practice.
I will research further the associations between gender stereotypes and musical features.”
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