Saturday, November 10, 2007

1050 – 1130 Free Organum

1054     Separation of Eastern and Western Churches
1066     Norman invasion of England
1096     First crusade

This is the first generation of troubadours, and the beginning of melodic independence in the two simultaneous voices.


Marian Antiphon

The Marian antiphons Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater were written by Hermannus Contractus (1013-54)


Poet-musicians of southern France who wrote in the Provençal language (langue d'oc) were called troubadours. 264 melodies and 2600 poems are extant. The first troubadour with works extant was Guilhem IX, Duke of Aquitaine (fl. 1087-1127). Song types were:

  1. alba, morning dialogue between a lover and a watchman,
  2. pastorela, a rural love scene,
  3. planc, a lament on the death of a famous person,
  4. partimen, a dialogue on love,
  5. sirventes, a political or moral text on a borrowed melody, and
  6. lai, addressed to the virgin or a lady.


Free Organum

Free Organum|-Latin----- added—vox organalis
|-Latin----- chant—vox principalis

Vox organalis was above (with occasional crossing) and moved in contrary and oblique as well as parallel motion to the vox principalis. A large number of examples were from the Winchester Troper (11th c.)

Contrary Organum

Described by John Cotton (c. 1100), vox organalis always moved in contrary motion to the vox principalis.


The Winchester Troper is the only extant of polyphonic music which did not use a system of definite pitch designations, but was written in cheironomic neumes without a staff. Transcriptions are largely conjectural.

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