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#1 2011-01-15 11:24:57

shaunmartinn
Junior Member
Registered: 2011-01-14
Posts: 1

How much music theory knowledge is necessary to study medieval music?

I'm enrolled for a course called History of Medieval Music. I've had AP theory in high school, but quite a few of the people in the class are music majors who have had advanced theory. Is medieval music complicated stuff or what.

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#2 2011-01-15 23:54:24

Baldguitardude
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From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 1240
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Re: How much music theory knowledge is necessary to study medieval music?

They're probably taking it to satisfy an elective class. should be diatonic and pretty simple to follow. smile

Edit:

I took AP theory in high school. The text book we used was the same book I used for the first two years of theory in college. AP courses should have you really well equipped.

Last edited by Baldguitardude (2011-01-15 23:55:28)

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#3 2011-01-17 19:55:35

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
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Re: How much music theory knowledge is necessary to study medieval music?

Modern diatonic scales didn't come into vogue until the renaissance, but I would gather that if you have a decent understanding of scale theory, you should be OK.

Sounds like an interesting class!


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#4 2011-04-17 20:59:09

TeaAnd12tone
Member
From: Cambridge, England
Registered: 2011-04-17
Posts: 35

Re: How much music theory knowledge is necessary to study medieval music?

Make sure you know your modes! A normal C major scale would just be played C to C, known as an Ionian mode. D to D would be a Dorian mode and so on. Medieval music didn't really have such a thing as the major and minor scales, instead they just played around with this one scale using different tonic notes. The Aeolian (A to A) is the closest to the minor scale, and in late Renaissance music you'll start to hear the minor scale established. There's a book called Theory of Harmony by Arnold Schoenberg, that discusses why the notes of the major scale were chosen and briefly why the minor scale came about. Modal music will be great to learn about as it's returned both in improvisational jazz and metal (phrygian and locrian modes).

Sorry, I ramble, but maybe this was interesting to you. The stuff you study will be very rule-based and diatonic, and maybe to an extent decided by superstition. For instance, the diminished fifth interval was avoided because the church decided it was evil, or the "devil's interval"!

Have fun on the course!

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#5 2011-04-18 03:51:23

dino48
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From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4881

Re: How much music theory knowledge is necessary to study medieval music?

I never gave it any thought,I really don't see why it would make much differance now.


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#6 2011-04-18 04:16:06

furiouscrak
Junior Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2010-10-20
Posts: 5

Re: How much music theory knowledge is necessary to study medieval music?

This course sounds awesome.

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#7 2011-07-27 22:29:01

Davidesamulson
Junior Member
Registered: 2011-06-20
Posts: 10

Re: How much music theory knowledge is necessary to study medieval music?

Obviously music theory is necessary to study any type of music.How much i don't have idea about it.


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#8 2012-07-22 08:32:51

janejam
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Registered: 2012-07-18
Posts: 10

Re: How much music theory knowledge is necessary to study medieval music?

Yes, medieval music was sometimes very complex indeed. Composers were experimenting a great deal with the new, developing music notation (still very different to what we are used to) and the rhythmic freedoms and compexities that this notation facilitated. To understand these compositional techniques fully, one would need quite a sound grounding in music theory.

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