Medieval music is music written between about 500 AD and 1400 AD. It was in this period of that Gregorian chant evolved, as well as polyphonic music (music made up of several independent melodic lines sung or played simultaneously). While religious, or sacred, music dominated the medieval period there was certainly no shortage of secular songs, the domain of the troubadours and trouvéves, and their german counterparts, the minnesingers and meistersingers. There were also instrumental dances such as the estampie, one of the earliest known examples of instrumental music in the middle ages.
While we tend to think of the medieval period, or “dark ages”, as being a period where not much happened, nothing could be further from the truth. As far as music is concerned, the medieval period gave us many important developments. Not least among these were music notation, and counterpoint – a compositional technique that came to dominate the renaissance and baroque periods, and is has remained an important part of music ever since.