The Evolution of Music (Part 1/6, the Dark Ages).

For: My mother.


These posts aims to be a representation of the evolution of music in a rhyzomatic form. You can learn about music all the way from the Dark Ages to the 21st Century in the most compressed yet entertaining way I could think of, accompanied by a general cultural context. Given the short presentation of events, if there is anything you would like to add, don’t hesitate to comment!

You can jump around to the Parts that interest you the most:

Part 2: The Renaissance.

Part 3: The Baroque Age.

Part 4: The Classical Period.

Part 5: The Romantic Era.

Part 6: The 20th Century-Today.

But first, a pretty cool video where you can hear the Evolution of Music! By a creative contemporary group called Pentatonix.


& now, from the top!

The first period is commonly referred to in three different ways:

The Middle AgesMedieval Period, or the Dark Ages.

This period began around the fall of the Roman Empire (476 CE.) & ended around the 14th century at the beginning of the Renaissance. Popularly recognised as a period taking place from the year 500 to 1500 approximately.

During the Dark Ages, pope Gregory I is said to have collected & codified the music himself, know as Gregorian Chant.

In this video, you can hear a rendition from 1994 of the Gregorian Chant, called Dies Irae (Day of Wrath).


The above is a rendition of the famous Latin Catholic hymn from the 13th century. It speaks about the second coming of Christ & Judgement Day.

Notre Dame

Around the 9th century, at Notre Dame in Paris a different kind of music called organum was created. Musicians began experimenting with simultaneous melodic lines in parallel intervals. Resulting in this:


This experimental music is part of what was later called the Ars Antiqua (Old Art).

These advances in music brought the troubadours and trouvères, also in France. This music was considered Ars Nova (New Art or New Technique).


Guillaume de Machaut (or Mauchault) (CE. 1300-1377) is considered the first famous, genius musician in Western culture. Charles V of France sought out Machaut’s work as a composer. Among his fans was also Geoffrey Chaucer.


He is specially remembered for creating polyphonic sounds for the Ordinary in Catholic Mass. He also composed love songs.


Mauchaut made sure that his works were copied & illustrated in order to preserve his creations & transcend as an artist in our history.

His creations paved the way for choir music in the Renaissance.

Next Page, P. 2/6: The Renaissance —>

Stay curious,


Other sources:

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