Music and the Humanities




You are to listen to the first 14 samples on the Musical Supplement CD and answer the questions below. You will be tested on the music listed below on the Closed Book Exam II.


  • Sample 1 - Ancient Greek Music, Epitaph for Seikolos -


What is an epitaph? On what occasion might this song have been sung? How does this song fit the occasion? What instrumentation is used? Why is this performance a mere guess as to how ancient Greek music may have sounded?


  • Sample 2 - Gregorian Chant - Alleluya (Anon.) - 35


What does a capella mean? Literally, a capella means in the chapel. What chapel might be this suggest? What is most striking about this music? Who would have sung this music? For what occasion? What goal is sought in the performance of this music?


  • Sample 3 - Buddhist Chant, "Morning Prayers" (Lotus Scripture) - 43


What instrumentation is used here? How is it similar to the Gregorian Chant of Christian monastics? How is it different? Who would have performed this music? Where? For what occasions? What goal is sought in the performance of this music?


  • Sample 4 - Islamic Call to Prayer - 63


What is a muezzin? What is the purpose of this music? Where would it be performed? On what occasions? How does it compare to the chants we have heard previously?


  • Sample 5 - Muslim Orchestral Music, Nouba Raml Al Maya - 64


What instrumentation is used to produce this music? By whom? On what occasions would it have been performed? What do you notice about the tempo of the music? What contribution did the Arab musicians under Muslim rule make to later orchestral music in the west?



  • Sample 6 - Bernart de Ventadour, "When I Behold the Lark"  - 88


As you listen to this music, read "When I Behold the Lark," Reading 2.16, p. 89. What is the subject of this song? What does its melody portray in terms of emotions? How does that fit the troubadour musical enterprise generally? How does one know they are in love during the middle ages?


  • Sample 7 - Hildegard of Bingen, O Successores Sequentia - 140


Who was Hildegard? What talents did this gifted woman display? Who is performing this music? Where? What is a mystic? How might this music exemplify the mystical approach to the divine?


  • Sample 8 - "The Three Magi," Play of Herod,Scene 2  - 140


What is different about this musical performance from those previously heard? Modern music is divided into at least four parts - Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Where do you see the beginning of that innovation in this music? What is the purpose of this music? Where would it have been performed? What musical instrumentation is evident here? To what future development in the arts does the combination of drama and music point?


  • Sample 9 - Three Examples of Medieval Polyphany -  140


Example A, "Rex Caeli, Domine" (King of Heaven, Lord) - What do you notice about

             this performance? How does it differ from previously heard music?


Example B, "Agnus Dei"  (Lamb of God) - What changes are evident in this musical

            example from previous forms? The piece performed is entitled Agnus Dei, Lamb

            of God (who takes away the sin of the world). To whom is this song dedicated?


Example C, "Benedicamus Domine" (Let us Bless the Lord) - What innovation is

            heard in this form that was not heard in previous samples? What has happened

            to the harmony of previous music here?


  • Sample 10 - Pérotin, "Alleluyas," Nativitas (Christmas) - 140


What is polyphony? What was parallel organum? What is counterpoint? Where do you hear this in these examples? What debt does the modern music world owe the monks who invented written music?


  • Sample 11 - Motet, "Et non Diu! Quant vo, Eius in Oriente" - 141


What is a motet? What significance does the fact motets were performed both inside as well as outside the church have in accounting for their popularity? What does this tell you about the sense of the average medieval Christian regarding their worthiness to be in church?


  • Sample 12 - "Estampie" - 142


What instrumentation do you hear in this piece? What tempo? If Estampie means to stomp, on what occasion might this music have been heard? What might be the equivalent of Estampie today? What does this tell us about the connection between music and dance and human cultures?


  • Sample 13 - India, Thumri - 152


What instrumentation do you hear in this piece? How is it different from that previously heard? Some of the Indian pieces were designed to build to a frenzied ending. Looking at the Mithuna couple ornamenting a Hindu temple, what parallel might be seen in the Hindu religion's appreciation for fertility and reproduction, sculpture and music?


  • Sample 14 - China, "Ngo wai heng kong," (I’m mad about you) - 160


What is opera? What does it say about being human that opera developed separately in two widely separated areas of the earth? How does Chinese opera resemble that heard in the west? How is it different? The solo heard on this example is comparable to what part of an ordinary play?