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Madonna della Sedia by Raphaël

Feasts and Liturgy

I just posted a page listing most of my posts on “Feasts & Liturgy.” It is not a complete list and some posts should be edited. At times, music is removed from YouTube, which makes an update necessary. However, unless posts are listed, they are difficult to access. One needs a list, and it is under construction.


This list reflects knowledge and interest I acquired as a student of the history of music, or musicology. The Greeks developed polyphony or music in “parts,” but polyphony developed during the Middle Ages. At the moment, the main ‘parts’ are Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass (SATB). But, as polyphony developed certain composers divided music into a larger number of parts.

If the development of polyphonic music were to be given a location, one of its best lieux would  be the Franco-Flemish lands, the cultural hub of Europe before the Renaissance, which began as of the Fall of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, on 29 May 1453. Although the Franco-Flemish lands produced fine composers of polyphonic music, it also developed in various European countries such as France, Italian city-states, Spain…

Liturgical and Secular Music

Polyphony developed in medieval Europe, but, as we have seen, it is an invention of the Greek and is called Western Music. Music composed elsewhere had one part and it is called monophonic. The birthplace of polyphony is, for the most part, the Church. Such music is called liturgical (or sacred music) and it encompasses Motets, Masses, Hymns and many other form. The Church needed music, hence the preeminence of liturgical music in the very Christian Middle Ages and its association with the history of music.

Yet, polyphony also has secular roots, the Madrigal, in particular, songs in the mother (madre) tongue.


Monophonic music features one part: the melody. Gregorian chant is monophonic and it has its own notation. Troubadours (southern France, trouvères (northern France) and the Minnesang (Germany) composed monophonic secular songs.


I look forward to completing this list and writing more on Feasts, providing some details.

The seasonal antiphon is the Alma Mater Redemptoris. There are four Marian antiphons. The Alma Mater Redemptoris will be sung until 2 February or Candlemas. The best known Alma Mater Redemptoris was composed by Palestrina (c. 1525 – February 1594).

Love to everyone

Palestrina: Alma Redemptoris Mater (Julian Podger, Monteverdi Choir) – YouTube
(Julian Podger, Monteverdi Choir)


Madonna Sistine Chapel by Raphaël (detail)

© Micheline Walker
29 December 2016