Musical Theory and Analysis - 800 to 1300


a) To acquire the basic notions implied in medieval music theory (modality and counterpoint);
b) To build a critical appreciation of compositional techniques used during the timeframe 800-1300 in religious or secular monody and polyphony;
c) To be able to analyse selected musical works from the perspective of the above theory and corresponding modern approaches;
d) To be able to identify by ear Gregorian modes, as embodied in specific historical melodies.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Manuel Pedro Ramalho Ferreira


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





Apel, W. (1958). Gregorian Chant. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Asensio, J. C. (2003). El canto gregoriano. Madrid: Alianza Editorial
Cardine, E. (1989). Primeiro Ano de Canto Gregoriano. São Paulo: Attar / Palas Athena
Hilley, D. (2009). Gregorian chant. New York: Cambridge University Press
Graduale (1961). Graduale Romanum. Tournai: Desclbe & Co 
Graduale (1979). Graduale Triplex. Solesmes: Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes
Powers, H. (2001). Mode. Sadie, S. (Ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan.
Wilson, D. F. (1990). Music of the Middle Ages: Style and Structure. New York: Schirmer Books 

Teaching method

Lessons are both theoretical and practical, 40% being theoretical and 60% practical. The theoretical component includes explanation by the lecturer of the elements that make up the content of the course, and discussion of historical and analytical concepts; the practical component includes reading square notation, aural analysis of modal passages sung or played , written exercises and analysis of the notated repertoire.

Evaluation method

Exercises performed and discussed in the classes, participation and attendance(20%), One test on Gregorian chant (40%), One test on troubadour monody and polyphonic music (40%)

Subject matter

1) The main currents of medieval music theory. Basic principles of psalmody. How to read Gregorian melodies in modern liturgical books . Modal behaviour of Gregorian melodies according to the octoechos. Limits of the traditional analytical tools and the importance of Jean Claire´s contributions.
2) How to approach theory-deprived secular monody: specific behaviour of troubadour music.
3) Characteristics of style and evolution of polyphonic writing between 1100-1300 and associated problems (contrapuntal textures, hierarchy of intervals, rhythm).


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