Music Notation How was music notation invented?
Before we get to how people started writing music, We need to visit what it was like before written music.
Roman Empire <ul><li>The roman Empire was at a time in history where a ruling government was centered around Italy and a city named Rome. </li></ul>
Here music was very common. You would have many different instruments such as the lyre, or a small flute, made out of wood or bone.
But what is interesting is how they passed music from one person to another. If you wanted to learn a song, you would have to learn it aurally. That is where you would hear the music, copy it, and commit it to memory.
Why not just write it down? <ul><li>Even though paper was invented, it was hard to make, and so very rare and expensive. </li></ul>
Great, but how did we get to writing down music? Around the 5 th century, Rome was invaded many times by cruel and visous barbarians, whose leader was “Attila The Hun”.
In fact Rome paid many pounds of Gold for Attila not to be attacked by Attila’s army, but in the end he attacked and burned Rome as well as many other cities.
One way for people to stay safe from attack, was to build walls around your town, or even build a castle.
Attila’s favorite way to attack a city, would be to arrive with his army, and wait outside the walls. No one came in and no one came out.
Many times he would stay for many months, sometimes a year. The people inside would not be able to leave to replenish their food and water.
Sometimes people had stored enough food, they could “out wait” the Barbarians, sometimes not
The next few centuries is the medieval era, or otherwise referred to as the dark ages. This is a time in human history where we did not advance forward, but in some respects, backwards.
Much knowledge was lost during this era. How can you loose information?
There are many theories for why this happened. Some experts say the weather turned cold and there was a mini ice age, which brought forth much famine. A famine is where food is scarce.
There was also many episodes of disease running rampant. Other theories attribute this time all they way back to Attila and making castles and fortresses necessary for protection.
This made all strangers dangerous and unwelcome. Trade between regions stopped.
So what! What does this have to do with music? Well, during this time the Church becomes the center of society. It was a time where people where attending mass every day, sometimes mass was held every hour of the day.
The church was doing so well, that it started to build massive buildings to hold all the people. These were called Cathedrals. One famous example is the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
With all the people and masses, came the need for music. To be heard in the large buildings, several voices needed to sing together to fill the building.
These voices singing in unison acted as a natural microphone and filled the building.
<ul><li>The songs they sung were called “plainchant” or “chant”. Sometimes they are referred to as Gregorian chant after Pope Gregory I. </li></ul>
Even with several voices together, there was a need for new chants and hymns. At this time all music was still memorized, but with all the new music, it was to difficult to keep adding new material.
In the twelfth century a monk named “Guido D’azarro came up with a method for keeping the choir together.
He would point to a spot on his hand, which would indicate a pitch, and it became known as the “Guido hand method”.
This worked for the slow, simple tunes, but his abbey was so astounded that they thought it was witchcraft and threw him out.
Guido was soon taken in by another abbey, and he also soon dropped the method of pointing to his hand, as the music became more complex.
Guido was aware that musicians used so me manuscripts with neums. Neums were square notes that generally indicated what direction the pitch was directed. Since the singer already knew the piece and just needed to be reminded of where in the chant he was.
Guido began to write a red line through the neums to indicate where a specific voice range was to centered (i.e. alto voice). Above is an actual picture of Guido’s writing .
Next Guido added more lines to control more voices.
<ul><li>This is a medieval manuscript with the red line present. </li></ul><ul><li>The Red lines are very faint. Can you see them? </li></ul>
For the bass and tenor vocal part, he added more lines and marked the tenor line in yellow with the starting pitch of “f”.
One problem with this system, was Guido had not fixed a clef to a specific line. Guido had pitches starting anywhere and on any line. This made reading music hard to read.
So in the next century the successors to Guido still experimented with adding lines to the staff. Can you tell where one staff ends and another begins?
It will take another couple of centuries for our current grand staff to be adopted.
If you look closely, you may be able to tell that the treble clef that we use today resembles a fancy looking G, and the bass clef resembles a fancy looking F.
So What happened to Guido? Guido showed his work to his abbot, but this time instead of being thrown out, he was commended for his work.
His abbot liked it so much that he sent him to Rome to meet with the Pope. The Pope liked his work so much that he sent Guido all around the country to teach as many priest and monks this new system of reading notes.
Eventually, Guido ended back with his original abbey, who welcomed him in, and said they were sorry for ever doubting him.
The End. <ul><li>PowerPoint by Val Iven – North Marion Intermediate School </li></ul><ul><li>http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/refarticle.aspx?refid=761552863 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b3atilla_p1dz.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.realm-of-shade.com/zarathustra/attila.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02061b.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.boglewood.com/timeline/attila.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.stanford.edu/~moore/HistoryEcon.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.propheticwitness.org/gregory_the_great.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://guidoshandrocks.com/historyofname/ </li></ul><ul><li>http://italian.about.com/library/weekly/aa092700c.htm </li></ul>