Group Name – The Motets

Your topic is Medieval art and music

What kind of art and music was popular in the Medieval period? Who were some of the great artists and composers (you may discuss Europe, but try to focus more on English art and music when possible)? Who promoted the spread of art and music? Can you show examples of this art and play samples of this music? Can you dance as they did then?

Popular Music

In medieval times, there were two types of music: sacred and secular.

Christianity was dominant in this time; they created a whole style of music to support it. This is the sacred part of music. Sacred music was first set to pay homage to God. In sacred music, text from the Bible influenced it a lot. This meant that composers of this music had to be educated in some way, which was rare in those times. Sacred composers sought to set the Bible into music to give it a more "heavenly" aspect than to just read the Bible in church.

Secular music was composed for entertainment purposes whether it be for love or dance. This type of music was passed down orally and rarely written down. Troubadours, traveling musicians, went from town to town singing these sorts of songs.



Stringed- The harp, fiddle, rebec (early violin), psaltery, dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy, and the viol.

Wind- The flute, trumpet, pipe, shawn, recorder, bagpipe, crumhorn, gemshorn, and the lizard.

Percussion- The drum, cymbal, triangle, and the tambourine.

Popular Music Artists

ST. Gall- played the organum this represents the beginnings of harmany and counterpoint.

Phillippe De Vitry- wrote the Ars Nova in 1320

Franco of Cologne- built new styles, wanted music to have three semibreves.

Types of Musicians

Troubadours- As mentioned above, this is a traveling musician(s). A troubadour traveled from village to village to sing and they served as a dual purpose sharing the latest news with the realm. They played for common people and nobles.

Minstrels- Minstrel means "little servant", for a minstrel was first emloyed as a castle or musician court. This type of musician created their own type of ballad. They were also famous for memorizing long poems based on myths

minstrel.jpgand legends called, "chansons de geste".

Popular Composers

Guillaume Dufay

Dufay's music was soothing, calm, and had clear distinctions. Vitry was a important composer in the Medieval era. Dufay was a composer that helped music move from the Medieval era into the Renaissance era.
Philippe de Vitry
Vitry introduced new rhythmic schemes and was also credited with being one of the founders of motets. Motets are choral compositions on a sacred text. Although Vitry was seen as a prodigy his motets were his only surviving works.
Philippe de Vitry

Guillaume de Machaut
Machuat was one of the most important composer's of the medeival era. He was known for his piece Mass of Notre Dame, French poetry songs, and manuscripts he prepared for French royalty. His poetry was often set to music and consisted messages of love.
Hidegard Von Birgen-1100
Bernart De Ventadun-1125
Jacopo Da Bologna-1300

Popular Art

Art included- Sculpting, painting, architecture, and statuary work.

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Sculpting- They were used to decorate the church for awhile until they were afraid it would lead to pagan worship. The later into the Medieval time period you went, the more realistic the sculptors became. Painting- Alot of the paintings have been found in the form of illustrated manuscripts. Illustrated manuscripts were the main form of painting for years. Painting eventually extended into murals on church walls. Sometimes the murals would be replaced with mosaics. Architecture- During the Medieval era architecture consisted mostly of the building of churches. Basilica was a rectangular building with a large center place called the nave. Castle's were also a very important role for buildings in the medieval era.

Popular Artists


Donatello was an Italian artist and sculptor born around 1386. He is best known for his bronze sculpture David.
Giotto di Bondone
Giotto was a Florentine painter who gave up the stiff Byzantine style and developed a more naturalistic style.

Leon Battista Alberti

Alberti was an Italian architect born in 1401. His masterpiece was the church of Sant'Andrea, Mantua.


Cimabue was a Florentine painter and mosaicist. His style later influenced Giotto and Duccio.

Filippo Brunelleschi

230px-Uffizi_Donatello.jpgBrunelleschi was Florence's most prominent architect in the 1420s.

Fra Angelico

Angelico was an Italian painter and Dominican friar active in Florence in the early 1400s.

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Ghiberti was an Italian sculptor, goldsmith, and designer. In 1402 he won a competition to make a pair of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral.


The Carole Dance- This was one of the earliest dances in Medieval times. This was a yule-tide festivity, it was the most popular dance that could be danced in a circle, chain, or a processional.

The Egg Dance- Was performed during a period of festivity, like Carole Dancing, but during the Easter-tide festivities. This brought about a Easter tradition, in egg dancing, eggs were laid on the ground, the goal was to dance among them damaging as little as possible.

The Morris Dance- Oldest dances that have not changed in England. These dances are associated with mayday, and is danced around a maypole. Some dancers have bells fastened to their knees, originally, dancers dressed as characters such as, Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, Little John, and Tom the piper.

The Quadrille- This was the most common dance in Europe during the medieval period. This is a square dance of 5 or more figures for 4 or more couples.

The Jig- This dance involves, skipping, kicking, and leaping.

Medieval Dance
Middle ages Artists

Medieval Intruments and Musicians

Secular music

Sacred and Secular music

Middle Ages Painting

Middle Ages Sculpture