Literature Review

Early Medieval and Renaissance Music

Harmen, Alec. "Man and His Music." Scocken Books. New York; 1972.

By: Charissa Rhine

In this book, Alec Harmen attempts to portray the most important aspects of Medieval and Early Renaissance Music. He develops and divides musical categories according to; Music in the early Church, religious part music, secular music, the 13th Century, the new art, and the music of the early Renaissance.

The book also contains good musical examples from each of these divisions and is descriptive in its' summary of musical intention. I found that the literature could possibly be hard to understand for those not familiar with musical terms. The reader searching for his/her first findings on Medieval music may be thoroughly confused. There are references to early use of Solfeggio, church modes, and early rhythmic modes used by Perotin and Leonin.

I was slightly disappointed in the texts manner of not mentioning any early women composers such as Hildegard. I realize that during the time of this publication, women were still often excluded. The musical examples also allow the reader to experience both old and new style notation. This is extremely helpful in trying to distinguish similarities and differences. overall, I felt that the book exemplified the important concepts in the study of Medieval music, but was by no means a complete anthology.


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