How new music was spread in the medieval times?


I live in the 16th at Paris and a new symphony was created in Vienna. How can I hear it and know about it?

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7 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

You would read about it in the papers of the day. The first newspaper in Vienna started publishing in 1605. Papers would circulate.

Also friends wrote letters to each other often daily.

Eventually if you were part of the wealthy classes you might speak with someone who saw it or you might travel and see it

Successful performances would sometimes tour major cities.

The process of finding out might take months or even years.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So you’re talking about the 1500s right? Well.. you wouldn’t hear about a symphony being made, because they didnt exist for at least another 100 years, until the early 1600s.

in your time, you would be hearing [Renaissance music]( — which sounds like the music you find in every medieval hero’s tale movie or video game. It was made with instruments from brass, woodwind, strings and drums families, but this era’s versions only sorta resemble the later versions you’d be more familiar with today. The Baroque era (which is often mistaken for classical) did not start until the early 1600s, with the most famous Baroque composer, Bach, did not come until the mid 1700s. This is the period symphonies and many of these new ideas of music began that would come to be what we often lump all together as classical music.

So, but lets say you do want to hear about new music? Well, you’re not going to. High end music by these composers was generally done in church and for the upper class and nobility exclusively. A musician was often just employed by a rich person to play music for them and their guests during parties, though of course they did compose music for other occasions. So if some guy slammed out a banger on April 6, 1545 at some party at a palace where everyone was shitfaced on wine, unless you where there, you probably aint never gonna hear it again nor hear of it. Additionally, people did not travel much, except to war or complain, as a rich ass nobility music fan you wouldn’t decide to leave Paris one day and just go to Vienna to catch a show, even if word had come of some great composition, well, if you wanted and were rich enough, maybe you can just have that person come to you! Or tell your musicians to go learn from them. But likely, you wouldn’t know a damn thing.

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

You could buy sheet music, at least by the 18th century. Georg Philipp Telemann was perhaps the most prolific composer ever, and he self-published and sold his works, including to fellow composers, including some better known today like Handel and Bach. Selling music for a “mass market” of sorts may have been Telemann’s innovation.

How would you know what music to buy? You could buy just by name. You could also read which music was good, maybe in papers and maybe in letters from friend. Or you might hear it somewhere and then acquire the sheet music to play yourself or have played for you by your own musicians.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The medieval times were called the Dark Ages for a reason, not much joy to go around. But I do imagine traveling musicians help bring entertainment to towns and villages.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Most likely, if you hear about it at all, you’ll hear about it from traveling tradesmen or merchants. Not many others traveled around very much and even they probably had a reasonably limited circuit.
If you wanted to hear it yourself, you’d probably have to hope that either you’re rich enough to be able to travel to a foreign court yourself (i.e. are a noble yourself) or if it’s something that a bard or wandering minstrel could play then they might come to you. Either way, you’re a little early for a symphony

Anonymous 0 Comments

Like another person said, symphonies didn’t exist yet. Keep in mind that a symphony is a specific type of formally structured, abstract instrumental music. It was developed in the 18th century to go along with a comparatively large group of instruments. (The composer David Bruce has a good summary [here]( about how we ended up with the standard symphony orchestra looking the way it does.)

The most common type of music in the middle ages were songs and dances, although there were also several formal types of vocal music (plainchant, organum, polyphonic masses) intended for religious purposes.

Many people learned music from others by ear. You’d hear a song that somebody else played or sang and figured out how to play or sing it yourself. Churches taught people how to sing religious songs; they developed the solfege system (calling the notes do, re, mi, etc) during the middle ages as a way to talk about the sounds in a song.

There were traveling musicians. Rich members of the nobility would also act as patrons to musicians.

But some people also wrote down words to songs, and there were types of written music notation that developed over the centuries. Not just the kind of notation that most of us are familiar with today (where the little note symbols indicate the sound), but tablature for instruments like organ or lute (with symbols that indicate how to play the instrument).

We have some surviving handwritten songbooks which originally belonged to wealthy people or churches. The [Llibre Vermell de Montserrat]( and [Chansonnier du Roi]( are a couple of famous examples. Music of some composers did travel suprisingly far, but it’s less surprising when you realize that some of the elite composers worked for the Pope or the Holy Roman Emperor. (Royal courts all across Europe started interacting more over the centuries and tried to outdo each other by employing more artists and musicians.)

Once printing technology developed in Europe, it was easy to print the words to a song but harder to print the music. So in the 16th century you could probably buy a paper copy of a [broadside ballad]( for pretty cheaply that had all the words to a song, but you still had to learn the tune from somebody.

Petrucci published the famous compilation [Harmonice Musices Odhecaton]( in 1501, but his method took a three-pass process to get each page printed so it was initially very expensive. By the middle of the 16th century, several other publishers across Europe (including Pierre Phalese, Tielman Susato, and Pierre Attaignant) were printing music with a cheaper process and they sold collections of song and dance music.