History of Classical Music

Music Printing

(Middle Ages 4)
Since the printing press had not yet been invented, if a piece of music was to be retained , it would have to be copied out by monks, diligently writing out music for church services. Sometimes the music was written out in a very ornamented fashion.

Around 1025, Guido d'Arezzo developed a system of pitch notation using lines and spaces. Until this time, only two lines had been used. Guido expanded this system to four lines, and initiated the idea of ledger lines by adding lines above or below these lines as needed. He used square notes called neumes. This system eliminated any uncertainty of pitch, which had existed until this time. Guido also developed a system of clefs, which became the basis for our clef system: bass clef, treble clef, and so on.

Another important contribution was his treatise on polyphonic music. This was important as it led to the development of polyphony by Leonin and Perotin.

Previous (Polyphony) Overview of Middle Ages


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