- Musical skills are acquired through study and practice.
- Musical talent is inherited.
- Musical aptitude is not musical talent or a musical skill .
- Acquiring musical skills requires aptitude not musical talent. Therefore, a lack of aptitude can be offset with more practice and study.
- Musical talent requires an equal measure of musical skill in order to be fully realized, regardless of the level of aptitude.
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Early Songs Called Plainchant
Attempts to notate, read, classify, and sing plainchant lead to a musical notation system, and the development of music theory.
Plainchant, sometimes called plainsong or chansong, served as the music of the Roman Catholic Church for hundreds of years. Attempts to notate, read, classify, and sing plainchant lead to a musical notation system, and the development of music theory. But probably the most important development of plainchant was that of polyphony, beginning with organum, evolving into polyphonic conductus, and eventually motets. The structure of the motet was used for love songs, dance tunes, popular refrains, and sacred hymns, and were all held within a rigid framework based on plainchant.
Plainchant began as music to serve the Roman Catholic Liturgy. The two main classes of services in the Roman Catholic are the Offices and the Mass. The Offices are observed every day in regular order; Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers and Compline. The Antiphonal, or Antiphoner is a liturgical book containing a collection of music for the offices. The offices featured the chanting of passages of scriptures with their responsories, psalms with their antiphones, and the singing of hymns and canticles.
The principal service of the Catholic Church is the Mass and is known in other Christian Churches as the Eucharist, the Liturgy, Holy Communion and the Lords Supper. The final act of the Mass is the re-enactment of the Last Supper. In the sixteenth century the Council of Trent formalized the Mass. The texts of parts of the Mass varies from season to season. The parts that are variable are called the Proper of the Mass. The most important musical parts of the Proper are the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Tract, Offeratory, and Communion. The parts that do not vary are called the Ordinary of the Mass and include the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benadictus, and Agnus Dei. The Gradual is a Liturgical book containing the music for both the Proper and the Ordinary of the Mass and the Liber usualis contains a selection of frequently used chants. The texts of the Mass is published in a book called the Missal and the texts for the Offices is published in the Breviary.
Later developments of the chant include Tropes, which served as prefaces to a regular chant, and sequences. Sequences are long definitely shaped melodies which were widely known and used. Hundreds of sequences appeared and were imitated and adapted for secular use, eventually evolving into an independent form of composition. In Liturgical Drama dialogue was sung responsively. One of the earliest Liturgical Dramas was based on a trope preceding the Introit of the Mass for Easter.
In the 11th Century Guido of Arezzo developed a method of music notation with a four line staff and experimented with the exposition of the numerical ratios of the intervals. He also constructed a set of modes to invent melodies and combine voices in simultaneous chanting. Eventually, these developments led to our modern systems of music notation, music theory and harmony.
In an anonymous 9th century treatise, Musica Enchiriadis and it's associated text, Scolica Enchiriadis two different types of diaphony or "singing together" are described, both being designated organum. In one type or species of organum, a plainchant melody or vox principalis is duplicated at a fifth or fourth below by a second voice, the vox organalis, in parallel motion. Either vox principalis or the vox organalis or both may further doubled at the octave. The rhythm was that of the plainchant that the piece was based. By the end of the eleventh century, organum had developed to the point where two melodically independent lines were combined by using oblique and contrary motion. The development of music notation advanced because polyphony required a more precise method of notating the two or more rhythmically independent melodies. Further developments of organum can be traced to the Notre Dame school and two composers, Leonin and Perotin. The Magnus Liber Organi or Great Book of Organum is a cycle of two part Graduals, Alleluias and responsories written by Leonin for the entire church year. Leonin's organa are set to the soloistic parts of the responsorial chants of the Mass and the Office. A distinctive feature of Leonin's musical style was the juxtaposition of passages of florid organum alternating with livelier rhythmic discant clausulae. Eventually, the organum purum was abandoned and the discant clausulae became Quasi-independent pieces, evolving into a new form, the motet. Perotin and his contemporaries made an important innovation in the expansion of organum from two voices to three or four voices called respectively, triplum and quadruplum. These same terms also referred to the composition as a whole.
The conductus style developed from quasi-liturgical sources and later admitted secular words. The basis of the rhythm of conductus was a triple division of the beat, where all the voices moved in nearly the same rhythm. The conductus style was sometimes used in compositions other than conductus. Many two or three part settings of rondeaux, ballads, sequences, and hymns were written in the conductus style.
The Motet developed from the discant clausulae that were separated from the larger organi of which they were originally only a part. Eventually these pieces became independent compositions called motets. Motets were written to be use outside the church and were given secular texts. Motets using French words in the upper voices used plainchant melodies as cantus firmus. It is probable that the plainchants were also performed on instruments. By the late thirteenth century two distinct types of motets had developed based on the Franconian style motet. One style often called Petronian, used fast speachlike triplum, a slower motetus, and a plainchant tenor usually performed by an instrument. The other usually based on a French secular tenor where all the voices move in essentially similar rhythms.
Almost all early music can traced a direct lineage to plainchant. For hundreds of years plainchant was used in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. By the eleventh century attempts to notate, and classify, plainchant led to the development of a musical notation system that led directly to our modern notation system, and to the development of music theory as we know it today. But the most important development of plainchant was polyphony, beginning with organum, evolving into polyphonic conductus, and eventually motets. The structure of the motet was used for love songs, dance tunes, popular refrains, and sacred hymns, and were based on plainchant. The importance of plainchant to early music can be seen in almost every aspect of the development western music, and led to the one of the greatest developments in the history of music, mamely, the development of harmony.