Musicians in History – Medieval and Renaissance

The Medieval Era of Music
Not much is known about the musicians and composers of the Medieval Era. Much of early medieval music was composed by members of the church.

For more information visit: Composers of the Middle Ages

The Renaissance Era followed with continued choral music in the church, but also more music being composed outside of the church for instruments such as the recorder, harpsichord or lute.
Click here to learn more.
Or click here to learn even more about what changes occurred in music during the Renaissance Era.

Hildegard Von Bingen – Spiritus Sanctus


Hildegard von Bingen was a Abbess and composer for the church. Much of the early medieval music was music for the church.

Moniot d’Arras (a French monk and composer and poet of the trouvère tradition)- Ce fu en mai
Paul Hillier (voice), Andrew Lawrence-King (psaltery) Psaltery

Guillaume de Machaut (ok. 1300 – 1377)
Douce Dame Jolie

Gregorian Chant from Assisi

Pérotin – Sederunt Principes (1160 ca. – post 1230)
Performed by the GENTLEMEN CONSORT
Pérotin, often known as Pérotin the Great, was a European (believed to be French) composer in the Middle Ages. His name is one of the most well known because an unknown author wrote much about his great musicianship. He was a part of the Notre Dame school of polyphony. How is his music different from the music heard before?

Here is a different recording of the same piece.

Some pieces of Tylman Susato’s Danseryre, a collection of renaissance dances.
– 00:00 Ronde and Salterelle
– 01:30 Pavane ‘La Bataille’
– 04:23 Basse danse Bergeret sans Roch & Reprise
– 06:55 Reprise ‘Le Pingue’
All pieces conducted by David Munrow, The Early Music Consort of London.
Tylman Susato was a Renaissance Flemish composer in the 1500s. He was a calligrapher and instrumentalist. He owned a flute, trumpet, and tenor pipe. He also opened the first music press in the Netherlands. (Italy, France, and Germany were the only places to have them before this.)

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Missa Nigra Sum
The Tallis Scholars

Josquin des Prez – “Ave Maria”

Thomas Tallis – Third Mode Melody for Archbishop Parker “Why F’umth in fight”

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams
A modern arrangement based on Thomas Tallis’ Third Mode Melody
Jonathan Lemalu baritone, bass-baritone
London Brass
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC National Chorus of Wales
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Tadaaki Otaka conductor
Royal Albert Hall, 31 July 2012

William Byrd Pavane & Galliardo
Sekishi Recorder Quartet

Rebecca Pechefsky plays a Fantasia by William Byrd on the harpsichord.

Orlando Gibbons – Pavan & Galliard ‘Lord Salisbury’
Michael Maxwell Steer performs Gibbons’ most famous Pavan(e) & Galliard on harpsichord. This coupling of slow & fast dances was popular all over Europe from c1540 to c1650, after which they were superseded by Louis XIV’s fashion/passion for the Allemande & Courante.

2008 – Nigel North playing Galliards by the Renaissance Lute composer Robert Johnson

Claudio Monteverdi – Lamento d’Arianna
Les Arts Florissants, Paul Agnew

Click to learn more about how Monteverdi was revolutionaryto music.